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Oct 5, 2007 10:54 AM

Quick fruit jams, jellies, chutneys

While discussing possible fillings for muffins & scones on another thread, it was mentioned (by chefchicklet, actually) that quick fruit jams can be made easily at home. It never occurs to me to make a jam myself because I envision hours of cooking down fruit, with loads of sugar and having to deal with candy thermometers, sterilizing jars, etc. It just seems that it would be tricky to get a good result.
So, do you have a recipe for a good jam, jelly, chutney etc.? It would have to be one that isn't too difficult to make.

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  1. I put up 15 pints of raspberry jam in under an hour of cook/process time. Its basically crush, mix with pectin, bring to a boil, add sugar, bring to a boil, ladle into jars, water bath for 10 minutes. I run my jars through the dishwasher and kick them on the dry cycle if they have cooled off too much.

    8 half pints of Pinot Grigio and Merlot jelly also in under an hour. Easy stuff and Im a first time canner.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chelleyd01

      Thanks, I've heard of that dishwasher trick, good to know it works. The wine jelly- what recipe do you use? Under an hour, excellent. Any herb jellies that are recommended? I have basil, thyme & rosemary in my garden that I need to do something with.

      1. re: morebubbles

        morebubbles-I'm with you. basil/rosemary/thyme/shallots in excess

    2. MB I do make quick fruit jams all the time! My next project involves a rather large bag of pomegranates!!! I am waffling between, jelly and a syrup for martini's. I did that last year for our Christmas party, so jelly is looking good at the moment.

      I Promise to post a couple of jam recipes today. I love to make my own, well you know that! I too have been know to succumb to paying a high price for jam too, and I admit not being disappointed but then I always think, gee I could just do it myself. It is so easy you will think "what?" was I thinking. It is exactly the same as getting over the fear of making your own pizza dough. And now you know how crazy simple that is.

      Are you wanting a particular fruit flavor? Tell me!

      21 Replies
      1. re: chef chicklet

        I have a big bag of nectarines and was thinking about preserving them somehow.... I am also a first timer and would love a quick and easy recipe involving nectarines if you have any.

        1. re: pamplemouse

          When the baby goes for the nap, I'll be able to post for you... similar steps for most fruits. First, you need a BIG pot if you are going to do say 4 jars. You need to be able to sterilize and then cover all when doing a hot water bath. Don't fear, it's as easy as filling a pasta pot with water and bringing it to a good rolling boil.

        2. re: chef chicklet

          Hi there cc! thanks for your reply. Hm, by chance do you have a pineapple jam recipe? Really I just want to prove (to myself) that it's not that difficult to make jam etc myself at home. I've just read, with great interest, your recipe for peach jam...wish I'd known about this when local peach season was here about a month ago, but there's always next year. I want to leap into this jam making thing one day soon, and I will - yes, just like the pizza dough! :). I don't mind using pectin. Thanks, cc!
          I made cranberry sauce this weekend for Canadian thanksgiving, it was good & it got me wondering why they don't make cranberry jam? For instance, does cranberry & apple as a flavor sound too weird?

          1. re: morebubbles

            No in fact I do make a cranbery conserve and I use it as a spread on sandwiches. Delish. Cranberry and apple sound like a great match to me.
            Sure I have one for pineapple, not sure if its for fresh or canned... but will get it tomorrow for you. The pineapple ones I've had are really very good.
            The peach jam I make is white peach, and I'm telling you it is soooo gooood.
            Pectin in processed or store purchased jams bothers me for some reason, I don't really care for the texture. But you'll see, when you make your own, the whole thing tastes so much better than the best jarred jam you could ever find.
            I'm really wanting to buy a pressure cooker, it is fun and not that hard to make your own.
            The other good one that everyone loves is fig and raspberry jam. That just disappears!

            1. re: chef chicklet

              Can't wait to taste the difference between homemade & store bought. The fig and raspberry, could you share that recipe please. Does it use fresh figs?
              cc, your cranberry conserve, could you please share that recipe? Thanks!!
              I agree that white peaches are excellent for cooking. My grandmother used to make them in a spice syrup. I wish I'd learned how to from her, all I remember is the huge pot on the fire and the smell of the white peaches with the lovely spices! And the resulting peaches - totally delicious! Hm, maybe I can make your white peach jam recipe as is, then another time experiment by adding some spices? (again, next year when local white peaches are in season)

              1. re: morebubbles

                There is no competing against fresh fruit, but I bet that you can find some decent frozen at say a good store TJ? maybe. I am happy to get the recipes for you, I cry when the cranberry conserve runs out. It of course involves Grand Marnier, big surprise huh? (I have frozen fresh cranberries for later use by the way) I'll find and post all of them!
                The fig and raspberry is the filling for the figgy raspberry bars (another thread) my neighbor and family LOVE these. I use a lot of my jams in different cookies for the holidays.

                1. re: morebubbles

                  Cranberry Conserve

                  2 bags fresh cranberries- cleaned and washed
                  1 ½ Cup baker’s sugar
                  1 C orange juice – fresh or frozen
                  Zest of 1 orange
                  ½ C water
                  1 T fresh lemon juice
                  2 T grand marnier

                  1. Simmer the cranberries with the sugar and oj over med heat – 15 minutes
                  2. Add orange zest & water, simmer another 15 minutes
                  3. Berries will pop and thicken as it cools. Once its cool transfer to jar(s) or pretty bowl. GREAT on sandwiches!

                  If you are to make this in batches for putting up, process as any jam in hot water bath.

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    Thanks cc, look delicious. I was about to ask how many cups in a bag of cranberries when I found this (it says 3 cups):
                    They do seel the regular bags of cranberries here at supermarkets, but I buy mine in larger quantities at the market. Thanks again!

                    1. re: morebubbles

                      I don't think I've ever used cranberries using a cup measurement? I use the whole bag!

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        yes, but a whole bag could be a 5 kilo bag for instance! ;) If you buy at a farmer's market or at a wholesaler, that is, which I often do. I agree that a regular bag from the supermarket should be used completely because the resulting product is invariably delicious!

                        1. re: morebubbles

                          What in the world is a kilo? I don't buy kilos or is it kilie?

                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            A kilo is one of those funny measures they use up north, instead of sensible ones like bushels. Just be glad morebubbles didn't talk about 5000 gram bags. Curiously pounds seem to still have a toe hold in the Canadian produce section, more so than the meat or deli.


                            1. re: paulj

                              Hi cc and paulj, The funny thing is that, since going metric many years ago, we order food-be it produce, deli or whathever, in either kilos, grams, pounds or ounces. It's all understood. At the packaged meat counter, it's in grams & kilos only on the labels.
                              When a recipe calls for a container of, say, sour cream, then I need to know the amount to use in cups so that the recipe works out, because the tubs I buy are in grams. Easy enough.
                              cc, you're out of control! : )

                    2. re: chef chicklet

                      Melinda Lee makes something similar but adds almond liquor and & toasted bits of almonds. it really is wonderful.

                    3. re: morebubbles

                      for the fig and raspberry jam, I made this one up, this was made when I was given a large bowl of fresh figs, and I had in the fridge,a basket of berries. I'll try to recreate it if you want. Pretty much its sugar, fruit, lemon juice, a little water, cook until consistency preferred. Cook the fruits separate. The figs, I like completely broke down, then I keep the berries more intact. It comes out a beautiful claret color. The amount of fruit I had made about 3 small jars. Do you want me to try? Figs come out like a fig newton with lots of tiny seeds.

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        Using fresh figs sounds marvelous. I often look at boxes of fresh figs and wonder what I would do with a large amount like that. Also, I HAVE been craving fig newtons lately (read the box at the supermarket last weekend and had to put it down, glucose-fructose & other bad stuff) so I will have to try to make them myself.
                        But to answer your question, cc, no, don't bother yourself with that. But if you have made fig newtons, please share your experience. thanks!

                        1. re: morebubbles

                          These are the fig bars that I made from the raspberry fig jam. I also have made it without the raspberries. Does this help? You don't have to "can" or process your jam if you are making it into a cookie or eating it fairly soon either.

                          I just saw an error, I think that I usd the 1/4 cup of lemon juice when I made the big batch of jam- to just cook it for this amount 2 T will do.
                          Figgy Raspberry Bars

                          1 1/2 cup figs cut up
                          1 cup raspberries
                          1 cup sugar
                          1/2 c hot water
                          1 /4 cup fresh lemon juice * see note above please*
                          1-2 T Grand Marnier
                          pecans optional
                          cook all over medium heat until the fruit is completely broken down and creamy thick.

                          These are the best bars. If you can't find figs buy some fig jam and mix it with raspberry jam-close enough
                          about 15 minutes -stir frequently, don't walk off.
                          1 cup of brown sugar
                          1 cup butter
                          Cream butter and sugar until fluffy then add the rest mix well
                          1/2 tsp salt
                          1 3/4 cup oats
                          1 3/4 flour-sifted
                          1/2 tsp vanilla
                          Split this in half reserve for topping
                          Line a well greased shallow baking dish 8x12 with half the flour mix, then add the filling evenly distributing the fruit mix, then top with the remaining flour mix.
                          I add very finely chopped pecans to the topping about 1/2 cup total if you add to the filling also, its up to you.
                          Bake at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes
                          until lightly brown

                          Cool and Serve
                          Makes 12 big bars or 24 small ones.

                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            Yes, it's extremely helpful. Thanks so much, cc! Am I right on this order of preparation? Chop fruit, cook down 15 mins., let cool. Make dough. Layer. Bake.
                            I'll try to make it this weekend, if I can find the figs (I do have frozen raspberries). When you make it with just figs, you just use 2 1/2 cups of chopped figs right? No nuts in my baked good because my SO doesn't like it, boo! (When I make muffins I add nuts on top to the ones that I intend to eat! Slivered almonds are an exception for some reason, go figure.) Do you use rolled oats?

                            1. re: morebubbles

                              For this recipe yes 2 1/2 cups fruit. Leaving out the nuts is fine, you won't miss them. I just use quaker not instant oats, nothing special.

                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                Regular oats sound better (rolled oats, what was I thinking?) Thanks! Will try it.

                  2. re: morebubbles

                    "does cranberry & apple as a flavor sound too weird?"

                    no > sounds sweet with tart............
                    so a smile with a bite

                2. My style of chutney is just a spicy fruit 'stew'. For example around Thanksgiving I have tossed a package of cranberries in a pot, added diced dried apples, raisins, sugar, garlic, ginger, hot peppers, spices like cinnamon and cloves - all to taste. Cook till the cranberries pop and dried fruit is soft. It keeps well in fridge, so there's no need for canning equipment.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: paulj

                    This sounds very good, paulj. I have to try to make something like this.

                  2. Peach Jam
                    Same method for Nectarines/

                    2lbs of fruit
                    3 cups sugar
                    2 T fresh lemon juice
                    Add any liqueur you want –I use Grand Marnier

                    Prepare the peaches – wash the peaches - inspect for spoilage – do not use any bad fruit, cut the piece out if there is a blemish. Boil a large pot of water to drop the peaches in only for a minute or so, and then plunge them into ice water. This makes it easier to peel

                    Slice into small chunks – measure 4 cups stir in the sugar and lemon juice let it stand for about an hour, then start to cook it down. Depending if you want chunks or not, you can mash it or gently stir the fruit. Bring it to a high boil uncovered for 4 minutes then let it cool for 30 minutes. Pour it into a large glass pan, stir it and turn the fruit occasionally, it will thicken. Depends on the fruit and how much natural pectin is in it.

                    Then when it is thickened to your liking, spoon the preserves into prepared glass jars.
                    To process the fruit by a water bath is perfectly safe. Temperature of 180-190 destroys the organisms that might cause spoilage (this is why you want to be prudent when first prepping the fruit of any bad areas).

                    Fill the jars to ½ inch of the rim, using properly sterilized jars, lids and NEW seals. BOIL them at least 10 minutes then use tongs placing them on clean towels to air dry.
                    When you fill the jars, don’t handle the rims, a good idea is to use gloves. Then once the jars are full and you have sealed them nice and tight, put them in a kettle that is wide enough so that jars won’t knock into each other when boiling. Make sure they are covered well above with water. It is a bummer to break a jar while cooking after doing this work. Anyway, then boil (at a simmer) them for at least 25 minutes. Remove and set them on the counter to cool. You should purchase a jar lifter is something that I find really helpful to lift the hot jars out of the pot, no matter how small they are, get one. After you take them out of the water bath, you will either hear the “pop” when the seal is completed or feel the lid, to make sure it is “down”. Then you’re good to go! A thermometer is helpful for accurate temperature measurement. Boiling is at 212 degrees right? I don’t like paraffin as a sealer, it is not going to protect against spoilage. And I have never used pectin in my jams, I just have not needed to.

                    Fruit, tomatoes, pickles are high acid, so safe to process this way. Anything else, use a pressure cooker and process according to the manufactures instructions. Other foods that are low acid need to be processed in a pressure cooker – 242 degrees for a specified period of time. But we’re cooking fruit, so you’re fine with a hot water bath.

                    You can store these for a few months on the shelf and enjoy delicious jam all year round without paying a huge price. They make wonderful gifts and will spoil you from buying those overpriced pectin filled jams with pretty labels, oh I'm guilty too!

                    1 Reply
                    1. I made a great jam with blueberries, raspberries and orange zest. And I used frozen berries. Also a strawberry and fig jam. I'll find the recipes if you'd like.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: chowmel

                        Is it by chance a freezer jam/jelly? That's my preferred method. Simply b/c I don't have the patience for the sterilizing, etc. I do a balsamic strawberry freezer jelly that I love. But your blueberry, raspberry jam w/ orange zest sounds lovely!

                        1. re: lynnlato

                          Hi Lynnlato,

                          Would you mind sharing your balsamic strawberry freezer jelly?

                          1. re: content

                            Lynnlato, I would like that recipe as well, please!

                        2. re: chowmel

                          Yes, I love all of the above. Strawberry and Fig is good too! Would love to see your treatment here!