In-season fruit for Jam
Does anyone have any advice on in-season fruit I could use to make jam? This is my first time trying and I want to make sure that I get the best fruit possible.
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Right now: raspberries are looking beautiful at Jean Talon. Green figs are available for jam. The apricots i have been buying have been very lovely and tasty (first time in a long time). The plums aren't bad, I've had luck with good large black plums, and I am just about to try the small yellow-orange ontario plum, we'll see how they are this year. In August, the blueberries will start, and I made some lovely jam with them last year. Fall will be apple time, always great for apple butter.
I would agree that for the most part, the peaches and other stone fruits are not so good. But I disagree with the advice to go to BC for fruit. Yes they have great fruit. But the berries and apples in Quebec are certainly jam-worthy. Best bets for cheap prices are buying in bulk at Jean-Talon, or going to U-pick places.
I got some beautiful sour cherries at JT market today, from Ontario, I guess. I'll make David Lebovitz's cherry jam recipe with them, like I did last year. Yum! And I have to disagree with Eatwell (above). I'm from BC and find that there's plenty of good fruit to be had in Montreal. Local strawberries are available for way longer here than in BC. Raspberries are good, too. I never saw sour cherries until I moved here. And Quebec wild blueberries, while not cheap, are great. I've had great apricots and peaches from Ontario (peaches are hit and miss but the good ones are goooooood). And, not sure if they're good for jam, but I loved the black velvet apricots I got last year at jean-talon (I forget which place).
I had great luck with strawberries from the J-T market about a month ago, but they're over, and I haven't been in the last week or so.
For peaches, I'd suggest buying ones from Ontario, not the US, when they are in (now? soon?).
For a beginning jam maker--I'd def. use the recipes on the pectin box. They are nearly fool-proof, and they don't make too much (saves $ in fruit, keeps you from realizing that you have a 4 year supply of jam!).
My mom always bought fruit particularly for jam--too-ripe or almost too ripe. I've found that buying fruit you'd be happy to eat works well--saves the work of cutting out the bad parts, and the risk your jam will be off or won't set because of the sugar ratios.
I think if it's your first time making jam, apple butter is a great start. Apples have enough natural pectin to jelly up on their own, so other than a bit of sugar, lemon juice and maybe some cinnamon, there's really nothing you need to do. The way the season's been, I'm not sure there's really been a whole lot worthy of preserving yet :(