Fall is such a sublime season. When we’re hiking through the mountains, the vibrant color changes give us such breathtaking beauty wherever we look. Even the air tastes different. If there were one season you could capture and bottle up for remembering and future savoring, this would be my choice.
And good news! We can.
Most people think about making jam when berries are at their richest and ripest, neglecting the more golden autumnal variety. This is a huge mistake. You’ll agree if you’ve ever tasted a bit of fig jam spooned over goat cheese or my favorite pear jam paired with … anything. Including eaten straight out of the jar with a spoon.
Berries make a luscious jam, of course, but you don’t want to miss out on the warm flavors of autumn, too. Try pear jam with a wonderful crusty bread and goat cheese, or a touch of gorgonzola sprinkled on top, and your day takes on a hint of magic.
Homemade jam also makes a thoughtful gift. If you want to get a jump on the holidays, a jam made with wine is the perfect accompaniment to crackers and cheese, but also a nice sauce for many main dishes.
Are You Up for the Challenge?
All you’re really doing is cooking the fruit, pectin, sugar and spices together in a pot, loading the mixture into jars with a funnel, wiping down the mouths of the jars, covering and then boiling the jars together so they’re safe to store on your shelves. Another bonus is that you’re doing this in the right season. Canning in the summertime is more grueling because of the heat.
To get you started, here are two exceptional jams we make in our own home.
Spiced Pear Jam
- 8 cups chopped pears
- 4 cups of sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- splash of vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 6 half-pint ball jars
Prepare jars in a hot boiling water bath to sterilize. In a large pot or dutch oven, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until thick, typically 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. As the jam starts to thicken stir more frequently.
Remove from heat and ladle into sanitized, hot half-pint ball jars, leaving 1/4 inch at the top of the jar. Remove any air bubbles, wipe the rim of the jars clean and adjust the rims and lids. Process for 10 minutes in a water canner or submerge in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove carefully and let cool.
This recipe does not require pectin.
Spiced Plum Jam
- 8 cups pitted and chopped plums
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- 2 (3-ounce) packets liquid pectin
- 4 1 pint jars or 8 half-pint jars
Prepare jars in a hot boiling water bath to sterilize. Combine the plums and sugar in a large pot and stir to mix the plum juices and sugar while heating to a boil, and then add the lemon juice, zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Let the jam continue to cook for 15 – 20 minutes, until it looks like a thick syrup. Add the pectin and bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. It will be done when it is thick and shiny.
Remove the pot from the heat and ladle into the prepared jars. Wipe the rims and adjust the lids and rings then place in boiling water for 10 minutes. Make sure that the water completely covers the lids.
Either of these recipes are wonderful with toast, cheese, or poured over vanilla ice cream.
Don’t forget to try your hand at apple or pumpkin butter. Of course, fruit butters are a divine topping for toast, but they also pair beautifully with yogurt or oatmeal. Serve either meal with chopped pecans, too, and you have the makings of a memorable meal. You can also cook fruit butters in your slow cooker and your house will smell wonderful.
If you try your hand at a lemon jam, try serving it with Cypress Creamery’s Purple Haze: a fresh goat cheese flavored with lavender and fennel pollen. The two together make a stunning combination. Add fresh blackberries to the plate for absolute perfection.
Thank you for checking in with our blog today. We’re so pleased to have a part in the creation of your gracious home.
Enjoy the recipes!