Top 5 – Fruits to make jam with

When I was growing up my mum was a bit stingy with the sweet snacks.  We rarely had chocolate (or indeed any other) biscuits in the house.  Any yoghurt that she bought was eaten that day.  Lollies were things you got in bags at the end of parties.  And as for cakes she didn’t normally make them.   What we did always have was jam, lovely pots of jam which we spread all over buttered bread when we got home from school.  This appreciation for jam has carried on into adulthood and these are the jams I appreciate most.

Plums – I have written this first, not necessarily because its my favourite although it is pretty close, but because I made some last week.

As anyone with a plum tree will know – they can be very productive trees and once you’ve eaten your full and stewed some there are always a great many left over to make jam with.  Plum Jam with brandy makes for a lovely adult vice.  Plum Jam (without the brandy) is  my daughters jam of choice for spreading on pancakes.

Apricot – This is the jam I most associate with my mum.  Every year she buys a case of apricots and makes jam.  She makes her jam fairly runny so it tastes fresh and bursting with fruit.   Apricots are low in pectin (the stuff that makes jam set) so can be quite difficult to make jam with them successfully.  Personally I always seem to fail when making Apricot Jam, either it is just too runny and is, in essence, a sauce, or I cook it way too long and the sugar turns to toffee giving it a slightly unpleasant bitter aftertaste.  Fortunately mum can usually be prevailed upon for a few jars.

Berries – Yes I know its a cop out lumping them all together but I really couldn’t separate the berries.  Who can choose between gorgeous blackberry, sublime raspberry and every kids favourite – the oh so sweet strawberry?  As kids we went out blackberry picking each year at one of the many bushes that line the roads of rural Australia.  Now though I don’t know how people make blackberry jam – there are less of these bushes and picking from the road reserve can be ill advised as the plants are often sprayed with weed killer as they are a huge nuisance despite their delicious berries.  But raspberries and strawberries are easy to find, and the best, and most fun, place to find them (if you can’t grow them yourself) is at a pick your own berry place.  2 year olds do need close supervision in such places in my experience……

Blackcurrants – I normally make  jelly rather than jam with blackcurrants.  In Australia the distinction is that a jam is basically the whole fruit stewed down with sugar and then bottled.  A jelly has the pulp strained out so it sets as a: (hopefully) perfectly smooth clear jelly, coloured and flavoured by the fruit but not given texture by it.  Blackcurrants make lovely jelly, a more adult flavour than some of the others as they don’t have the natural sweetness of say a strawberry or apricot but delicious nonetheless.

Chilli – And finally, what Top 5 could be complete without a mention of chillies?  In all seriousness though I love chilli jam.  I love the sticky South East Asian ones that Garden Glut has been making, filled with ginger, garlic and palm sugar.  But I also really enjoy a chilli jelly which I make by adding chillies to a simple apple jelly recipe.  The result is a clear, slightly red, chilli flavoured jelly that is absolutely fabulous with biscuits and cheese.  Yum, Yum, Yum!

So what fabulous fruits have I overlooked?  There are so many lovely jams, and that’s without even considering marmalades.  I reckon I could come up with five fruits just for marmalade but for the record my favourite is cumquat.

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21 Responses to Top 5 – Fruits to make jam with

  1. Veggiegobbler says:

    Chilli jam? Now that is something I must give a try.

  2. Sri Ranjani says:

    I never knew jam could be made out of Plums. it is season for plums in the market here. Your blog entry has tempted me to try it. I shall let you know soon as to how it turned out.

  3. We use all our soft fruits to make a compote which is frozen as we wanted to cut down on the sugar content and also we didn’t really eat much of the jam we made which ended up being wasted. I’d add redcurrant, gooseberry, rhubarb and jostaberries

    • Liz says:

      I do love gooseberry jam. If its got berry in its name I think it makes fabulous jam. I sometimes make rhubarb and raspberry jam and that is a great combination.

  4. leduesorelle says:

    I’m imagining your kitchen full of jewel-like jars of these colorful jams!

  5. KL says:

    You have not missed anything and you are making my mouth too much watery. Where do you live in Australia? Melbourne, right? Okay, I am buying my plane ticket now.

  6. Mmmm. And…mmmmmmm. 🙂 Chili jam I have not heard of, but it sounds interesting!

    • Liz says:

      If you like chilli then I don’t think youcould dislike chilli jam – it is delicious, and when combined with something salty & savoury like cheese it is just delicious.

  7. Leanne says:

    Plum is my favourite as well, though has to be homemade. I have never liked Apricot or Strawberry Jam, I find the later way too sweet. Drives me nuts when you go for Devonshire tea, which I love and the only jam they have is strawberry. Oh well.
    The Chilli Jam sounds interesting, is it hot? I have lots of chilli’s growing so may I will make a small batch of that.

    • Liz says:

      The heat of the chilli jam will depend on the heat of the chillies. It can be really hot, or not so much. I think a nice medium heat works really well.

  8. Gardenglut says:

    Plum is absolutely my favourite jam. When I lived in Melbourne ( I wish I still did) I had a great plum tree in a rented house in Brunswick. Plenty of plum jam as a result. Plums would be a nightmare to grown in Sydney, alas, too many fruit fly!

    I have to give your chilli jelly a go, I still have so many chillies!

    • Liz says:

      Fruit fly have just started to be found in parts of Melbourne – arrrrghh, fortunately I’ve yet to have any but that is one visitor I definitely do not want!

  9. Mark Willis says:

    What about pineapple jam? Does Marmalade count? e.g. Lime or Grapefruit marmalade…

    • Liz says:

      Do you know I’ve never had pineapple jam. Is it nice? I decided marmalade didn’t count, otherwise I might have just posted a list of citrus. I love marmalade!

  10. Different fruit jams that’s what we grew up with also! Lovely post. I need to check out this chili jam, sounds spicy!

  11. Another plum jam lover here. But can I also put in a vote for fig jam. I have a great fig tree overhanging my side fence which I gather enough from to make loads of fig jam each each year – pretty soon it will be jam making here. I have a recipe for a savoury one to go with cheese and a sweet one.

    • Liz says:

      I too have a neighbouring fig tree but it doesn’t produce enough to make jam. I hope you post your recipe it sounds delicious!!!!

  12. mac says:

    I’ve never tried chili jam/jelly before, have to try it one of these days.

  13. Evia Law says:

    Tomato & passionfruit jam is the best – it does not sound ok but taste good.

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