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fun, interesting, seasonal jams for a bake sale

I'm making jam for a bake sale in a few weeks and I'd like to come up with some creative flavor combinations to entice more buyers. I'm a fairly experienced jammer so I'm up for whatever. I'm thinking jams with maybe some herbal notes or cool fruit combinations.

Here are some of the jams I've made in the past:
roasted tomato ginger jam
peach grapefruit thyme
raspberry honey lime
fig black pepper
strawberry balsamic
caramelized onion bacon jam!

What have you got? TIA!

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  1. Cherries and sour cherries will just be coming into season in a couple of weeks here in NY - if you can get sour cherries where you are they are a special treat (one of my favorite things in the whole world!). Regular cherries are delicious too, though - I love them with balsamic. Plums as well. My grandmother used to make amazing elderberry jelly, but elderberries can be very hard to find as well. What about using interesting herbs like lemon verbena or thai basil?

    1. lavendar/mint
      rhubarb (with or without strawberries)
      and wine jelly is fun (I use merlot)

      1. Rose petals have been mentioned for jam on some of these boards recently. Think what a display (and profit) an array of all the rose colors would make.

        5 Replies
        1. re: blue room

          I know, I really loved the idea of the white peach jam with rose petals that someone mentioned in another thread and early peaches are just appearing in the farmers markets here. Do I have to use a special kind of rose petal or clean them in a particular way? I've never cooked with rose petals before.

          also, loving the cherry balsamic idea. I forgot to mention that I've done rosemary rhubarb before with success.

          1. re: mollyomormon

            Oh, I've never done any preserving--just saw it posted. It was here:

            1. re: mollyomormon

              From what I've read, you want to snip off the white base of the petals, which can be bitter. And use unsprayed roses, of course.

              1. re: mollyomormon

                I am a rose jam freak. Rose goes great with rhubarb and raspberry, by the way. If you can get some fragrant rugosas or other heirloom type petals, all the better. You need the fragrance. They reallllly cook down AND they do mellow away into non-rose-ness after a while when mixed into things. Kevin West of Saving the Season told me that rose scented geranium makes a more rosey rose jam that most roses (when you're just trying to flavor something else - this doesn't apply to straight up rose petal jelly or jam).

                Rose also makes a lovely jelly. Don't do what I did and use too much pectin OR make it too strong. Yes, really. I have a couple batches that are almost grapelike in flavor. I've learned to do small batches of rose petal jam and jelly, so that I taste and go slow. It's really easy to get rose-d out and make it ever more potent.

                1. re: Vetter

                  I live not far from a region that produced rose jelly as a local specialty.

                  While I can't eat too much of it (it really smells like roses, so can get a little overpowering), a little is delicious -- light and floral -- and it's absolutely *gorgeous* in the jar -- a pale crystal-pink, with diaphanous petals suspended in the jelly. (the petals become translucent when cooked)

                  If you make this, make sure you display them so that the light can get to them -!

            2. A local farm makes garlic jelly. Rosemary is a nice flavor. Good for filling thumbprint cookies.

              6 Replies
              1. re: dfrostnh

                Garlic jelly sounds really interesting! How do you use it?

                  1. re: mollyomormon

                    Stonewall Farms sells their award-winning Roasted Garlic and Onion Jam in stores and online. I was going to suggest the OP try to duplicate it - probably similar to the onion/bacon one she already makes. Or add roasted garlic to THAT.

                    It is good over cream cheese on a bagel or English. Warmed over brie. Added to fond to create a pan sauce for plain sauteed meats. With sour cream for dip.

                    For a bake sale, I don't think I'd get all that "interesting". People with kids are not as likely to buy those as more standard fruit combinations. Rhubarb is combinable with just about any other fruit. Here's one I once bookmarked, for banana jam: http://www.food.com/recipe/jamaica-ba...
                    I once bought kiwi jam, which was delicious, but the color was an unpleasant olive. I have also purchased homemade mixed-citrus marmalade that was nice, and different. Fruit and mint combos should sell, too.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      My carmelized onion and bacon jam includes roasted garlic! Yum. This bake sale is in a sort of hipster neighborhood crowd and attracts a 20's and 30-something crowd so I think unusual flavors tend to sell well but I definitely appreciate what you're saying.

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        Would you be willing to share your caramelized onion and bacon jam recipe? It sounds so interesting i would love to give it a try!!

                    2. re: mollyomormon

                      what greygarious said. Red Pepper Jelly is still popular around here, too.

                  2. Might you be willing to share details about the roasted tomato ginger jam? That sounds fabulous.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Sure! I got the idea from whiteonronricecouple but I decided to roast the tomatoes first:

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        Thanks! I have fond memories of the tomato jam my mother canned when I was a child, and usually I've seen recipes that are savory, but hers was sweet and we used it just like other fruit jam. This totally fits that bill. I love the idea of roasting the tomatoes and adding ginger.

                        Tomato season will probably be delayed this year due to the unseasonably cold, wet weather we're having right now, but I'm going to keep this in mind for when it comes. I can get crazy sweet, flavorful dry-farmed tomatoes at the farmers' market starting in July, usually.

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          Definitely let us know how it goes for you if you decide to try it!

                    2. I tried out a redcurrant and red raspberry combination last year after a friend told me that her grandmother used to make it. a 50:50 combo was a bit too tart for me nut my friend said it tasted exactly like the version her Grandma used to make (I preferred the second batch which had a greater proportion of raspberries). if you're interested I will try to dig up my notes. I did cook the berries and currant first, then put them through the strainer attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer.

                      1. I posted about a recipe for Green Zebra tomato jam on : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787980 . I'm looking forward to making that once the good tomatoes show up in the market.

                        Last year I made blueberry lime jam which was a big hit. This year I'm going with blueberry lemongrass syrup.

                        I just made a strawberry orange compote that turned out great. It has cinnamon in it - which was a new taste combination for me. It works really well!

                        Once the appropriate fruits are in season, I also plan to make or have already made : strawberry bay leaf jam; raspberry rosewater syrup; ginger cardamom nectarine jam.

                        If you are looking for things on the more savory side: spicy plum chutney; savory cherry (sour) preserves; chili pear refrigerator pickles; pickled garlic scapes.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: LNG212

                          I love the blueberry jam ideas! Definitely borrowing those...

                        2. I just completed a strawberry rhubarb jam this morning and was really excited by the flavors; strawberry season here in NJ really has been terrific this year. If you'd like my recipe, I'd be happy to post.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: HillJ

                            Thank you! I already have a strawberry rhubarb jam recipe I like a lot, but if you have any recipes besides that using rhubarb, I'd love to see them. I have some I need to use...

                          2. I really really liked the blueberry gin jam I made last year. It was special and I wish I'd kept more than I gifted! I used good, strongly herbacious gin.

                            1. Here's the update on what I decided to make:

                              Raspberry chocolate jam
                              Strawberry white peach jam
                              Strawberry with black pepper and fresh mint jam

                              and non jams:

                              ono butter mochi cake (got the recipe here from Cynsa)
                              brown butter chocolate chip cookies with smoked salt

                              Thanks for all the lovely suggestions!

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: mollyomormon

                                The raspberry chocolate jam recipe is from Mes Confitures and I think it's my favorite jam I've ever made!

                                1. re: mollyomormon

                                  Isn't that stuff wild? I'm not the world's biggest fruit-and-chocolate combiner, but even I found it pretty delish, and it is THE gift for folks who do love fruit-and-chocolate. I was amazed to see it all finally come together, smooth. I give you HUGE props for taking the time to make that for a bake sale! It's not an easy one!

                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                      Just in case Molly doesn't see your post (it is the season for the berries, after all) - http://www.mrswheelbarrow.com/2011/06...

                                      1. re: Vetter

                                        Thanks for posting that link, Vetter! This would (obviously) make terrific holiday gifts, though I would also want to hoard it for myself. I will have to see if I can get raspberries in quantity without breaking the bank.

                                    2. re: mollyomormon


                                      I made some too. I modified the recipe a bit. I'd love to know how to change it up with using other fruits. Like a combination of oranges and choc etc. But I'm a real newby at canning. What is the science behind using cocoa powder or chocolate bars in a jam? Anyone please?

                                    3. re: mollyomormon

                                      I just got some Strawberry-black peppercorn jam from Whole Foods, which they were serving on top of brie. It was a delicious combination. When I got home and read the label, I saw it also contained cranberries and lemon juice.

                                      1. re: mollyomormon

                                        I make the raspberry chocolate jam and use it to fill cookies in my Holiday boxes. I also gave a jar to a friend who said they ate the whole jar (I use mini jars) standing in the fridge door.

                                      2. when/where is the sale? if i'm in town i might have to swing by and show my support for a fellow Hound :)

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          I would love it if you came! It's on Sunday, June 19th in front of the East Hollywood location of Scoops!

                                          1. re: mollyomormon

                                            yikes, on Father's Day? that might be a problem. i'm supposed to spend the afternoon with a friend's family on the Westside, but if there's ANY way i can scoot over there to say hello i will :)

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              I know, I know. If you can't make it, shoot me an email and we'll plan to meet up soon!

                                        2. last summer my brother was living in Golden Colorado, and found lots of inexpensive Colorado Peaches, which he'd invariably buy too many of, so end up making jam. His Colorado White Peach and Strawberry jam got me interested, so I used some local coastal See Canyon peaches and added a bit of dried chipotle. Smoky and zippy--a real treat. This summer Bro is in Puerto Rico--can't wait to see what killer jam he makes.

                                          This year I'm making more peach and jalepeno--love that combo, and some rhubarb-blueberry with ginger. Also some Meyer Lemon -Jerk-Ginger marmalade. Kiwi-Basil is also on my radar.

                                          Good luck on your sale--my mom always made Apricot jam/Apricot tarts for her church's Granny's Cupboard fundraiser and it sold out every year. Those events are so much fun.

                                          Got to try that Raspberry Chocolate--thanks.


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: toodie jane

                                            I made a strawberry/kiwi/ginger jam the other day (my first solo jam!) and have lots of extra kiwi's.
                                            Do you have a recipe for the kiwi-basil? Sounds great!

                                            1. re: meatn3

                                              Haven't made it yet--my basil is still stuggling in our cool weather, but will make a basic Kiwi jam with sure gel then add basil, possibly steep it in some liquid before the cooking jam with chopped basil and blossoms stirred in before jarring and processing. I have some african blue basil that would look great, also thai basil might be nice for the spice/cinnamon flavor.

                                          2. check this out that I found over on the gardening board: Smokey Cherry Chipotle Jam


                                            Cherry man here I come.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: toodie jane

                                              That recipe sounds fantastic. Do you think one would just eat it on its own? with meat? with cheese?

                                              1. re: LNG212

                                                this would make a great side condiment for bbq's pork, I think. Also add it to napping sauces, use in dressings, etc. I love fruit and chipotle together. It's even great on buttered toast--good Italian or not-too-sourdough. Good homemade bread.

                                              2. re: toodie jane

                                                Before you get disappointed TJ, that's not a jam recipe but a cherries preserved in syrup recipe.

                                                1. re: morwen

                                                  I have a feeling that chopping the cherries and mixing into the syrup would would give me the sort of loosey-juicy jam I like, but thanks for the warning to re-read the recipe.

                                                  Just made some Peach-Strawberry-Ginger Chipotle jam yesterday with No Sugar (or low ,in this case ) Sure Jel and found I don't care for the odd opaque qaulity nor the texture, almost as if it was thinkened with cornstarch. I'll go back to old fashioned spoon testing.

                                                  Think I'll try some Apricot-Chiptle with the cherry recipe above as inspriation.. Just picked some at Cal Poly's UPick this weekend.

                                                  1. re: toodie jane

                                                    I think all you'd have to do to make a chipotle cherry jam is to drop a rehydrated pepper in with the jam while cooking it. Depending on your penchant for hot you may or may not want to seed it first. If you leave it whole you can remove it at the end of the cook time. Or if you prefer, you could dice it before adding and then just leave the pepper dice in the jam.

                                                    I tasted one of my cherries and the touch of liquid smoke was a good addition since my peppers weren't very smokey-tasting themselves. If yours have a good smokey flavor, I'd forego it. If not, you might want to add some smoke. Depending of course on how you feel about that particular condiment. ;-)

                                                    Can't say I've ever noticed odd looks or texture with the low/no sugar pectin. The judges at the county fair don't have a problem with it (12 blues, 3 whites, and a red last year). The fresher, fruitier taste, ease of use, and most of all, a whole lot less sugar would trump looks for me anyway.

                                              3. Dole now sells some of its canned fruit in hexagonal 10oz glass jars with plain gold lids, no writing on them. Labels removed, the empties make attractive jars for freezer jams, or those sealed with paraffin.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  caution, canning books no longer advise using paraffin "sealing" on anything but refrigerator jams.

                                                  (looks like I'm not the only jar-saver! They are great for gifting refrigerator pickles)

                                                2. So, after making us all drool over the possibilities, can we have a report on what were your best sellers?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: arashall

                                                    The best seller of the jams was definitely the strawberry/white peach with vanilla bean!

                                                  2. Apricot jam with a splash of amaretto.

                                                    1. I'm in love with pineapple and Grand Marnier jam right now. I have a pineapple ready to make some more, its just delicious and beautiful.
                                                      and makes for a wonderful filling for bar cookies.

                                                      1. Kind of late for the OP, but the last couple of years I've tried some combos we've really enjoyed:
                                                        Blueberry Opal Basil Jam
                                                        Blueberry Lavender Jam
                                                        Kiwi Lime Marmalade
                                                        Blueberry Lime Jam
                                                        Cherry Peach Preserves
                                                        Blueberry Peach Jam
                                                        Blues N Bay (blueberry and bay leaf)
                                                        Strawberry Mango Jam
                                                        Vanilla Rosemary Peach Jam
                                                        Plum Cherry Brandy Jam

                                                        I'm anxious to try the white peach/rose petal jam that was mentioned in another post. It sounds delicious.

                                                        1. Is it too late for one more suggestion?

                                                          This is my favorite preserve since it's got lovely complex flavor and it's so different than anything you can buy:

                                                          • 4 pound Concord grapes
                                                          • ½ cup water
                                                          • 1 lemon, juice and rind
                                                          • 1 orange, juice and rind
                                                          • ¼ teaspoon salt
                                                          • 1 ½ cup golden raisins
                                                          • 4 cup sugar
                                                          • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

                                                          What you do is slip the grapes out of their skins and boil them until you can push them through a sieve to remove the seeds. Then return the fruit to the pot with the citrus rind, water, salt and raisins. Cook for 15 minutes. Now add the grape skins and the ctirus juice and bring to a full boil. Add the sugar and boil until the mixture has gotten thick and will hold the space when you draw a line through it on the back of a spoon. Add the nuts at the last minute and pack into jars and process for 10 minutes. This will make about 10 8-oz jars.

                                                          Sorry not to be more soecific but it's an old recipe from when canning was a more common activity. If you have questions perhaps I could offer my experience and results.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: rainey

                                                            what is this like and how do you serve it?

                                                            1. re: loraxc

                                                              It's jammy with raisins and nuts in it -- which is, more or less, what conserve means. Not that I knew that until I got this recipe... It's a little like Welch's grape jelly (if you remember that flavor from being a kid) but with a wine-y quality from the raisins and citrus and an earthier note from the nuts (which go sort of soft but still have a little tooth).

                                                              Like I said, if you're making preserves I like this because it's not like anything you can buy.

                                                              Oh, as for serving it, I like it on toasted English muffins or a cream scone. But you can serve it any way you'd serve jam.

                                                              If you can get Concord grapes (I can only very rarely) it's worth trying. I like it a lot!

                                                              1. re: rainey

                                                                Old English preserve recipes almost always had walnuts and were callled conserves. Good winter fat and protein source. Especially in the north rural areas. (MY dad's family was from Northumberland up by the Scottish border.)

                                                                1. re: rainey

                                                                  I was thinking too it was more like a conserve, which I adore on sandwiches! I have beaten this to death, but I make a pork loin sandwich that is marinated in balsamic and a few other things, roast it, let it cool, serve it with a basil pesto, and a cranberry conserve, I serve with grapes and pears because the combination for me is just out of this world. Your conserve would cut out a few steps for me! Thank you, this is a keeper!

                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                    Your sandwich sounds fabulous!

                                                                    Do try the grape conserve and, if you do, let me know what you think. I have loved it for some 40 years and only wish I could get Concord grapes out here on the West Coast like I did on the East Coast back then.

                                                                    It was the very first thing I ever canned and why I felt jazzed about trying other things.

                                                                    BTW, I used this recipe to come up with my own for apricot/pineapple/pecan conserve. It was back in the late 60s before concern grew about low acid foods. But my point is, you might experiment with cranberries and grapes & pears. Who knows? You might get it all in one fell swoop. ...especially since cranberries must be quite acid.

                                                            2. Just picked up a Better Homes and Gardens booklet at the grocery store magazine rack.

                                                              "Canning: 120 ways to savor the season year round." $9.99 /144 pages, No ads, glossary and tools info page. A special publication, not the monthly mag.

                                                              Lots of great styling and photography, and interesting-sounding fruit and veggie combos in all categories from pickles to jams, jellies, salsas, pestos, chutney, liqueurs, cordials, vinegars, spreads and conserves. It's a keeper. Bought one for my niece.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. just to add that if I'm buying for my family I'd definitely buy good fresh strawberry jam. They should be in season, and the other would be peach. Can't go wrong with those two. If you don't have white peaches, try regular peach with Grand Marnier, or leave it out. Fresh peach jam is wonderful.

                                                                1. I remember many, many, many years ago on Usenet, someone sent me some jam for helping her with her computer. She was a master jam maker and it was "Peach Melba" with peaches and raspberries.

                                                                  Exquisite! ... and in season now.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                                                    PMJ: just made some yesterday, pretty sweet. More peaches and less sugar next time. What make PM so good is the tartness of the creme fraiche.

                                                                  2. I'm too late, but I made a batch of the strawberry margarita preserves from the Ball website this year. Really good.


                                                                    1. Too late for the OP, but Grandma used to make an incredible Corn Cob Jelly. I have no recipe, but I'm sure there must be some floating about. It was a light golden color, not too sweet, and delicious (not savory at all).

                                                                      1. right now I'm seeing apples and pears galore.
                                                                        guess it's time to do a loose version of this jam for pouring on top of pancakes, waffles or french toast.
                                                                        my apples of choice are gala/fuji/McIntosh. for the pears I just choose the ones that are at the farmers markets. the green the yellow and the brown/red I usually choose.
                                                                        so onward and upward.