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Any jam makers out there?

kitchengoddess's picture

I'm considering making jam this year...haven't decided yet. I do have one question, do you need to use gelatin every time? Growing up in Mexico we had pineapple jam which was delicious so I bought a ripe pineapple at the market and I am pondering if I could tackle this...this is the best recipe I found but it doesn't ask for any pectin or gelatin...will this work?

If you have any other sources please let me know.

ICDOCEAN1's picture

Jams and Jellies

I haven't made jam or jelly in years with the exception of jalapeno and habanero, just for Christmas every two years or so, but that and several other recipes don't call for pectin et al. so give it a try.  I had a BBQ sauce recipe that called for jam and didn't have any in the pantry, everything but pineapple.  I ended up grating some fresh pineapple into the sauce and added a little more of the apricot jam that was called for.  Turned out just fine, so with that recipe that you linked to, I might make some so let me know how it comes out for you. 

Pielove's picture


Hey KG! Sorry to be late to the party, but I agree with ICD, give it a try! Pectin is a natural component of plant cell walls, but some plant parts have more than other parts-- so some things have enough pectin to thicken without adding more. I've never heard of using gelatin in jam.

I love making jam, but last year I got carried away when my market had these lovely Empress plums on sale-- I made a ton of jam and am still working my way through it!

Cheers, Jen

kitchengoddess's picture

I never have

I have never tried to make jam so I thought you had to use gelatin...maybe I'm just making stuff up now.

I will try, the pineapple I had bought went bad :( I guess that's what happens when you sit on the fence for so long.  But this is still on the radar. Which are the empress plums, is that the black italian ones? I have a nice basket of them at home that I haven't quite decided what to make with them.

At home DH only wants store bought raspberry jam, nothing that could taste too natural you know , HA! So this will be for me and for my future food swaps.

Pielove's picture


Hey KG!

Well, I was about to get all authoritative about how jam uses pectin, but I asked The Google (as my husband calls it) and there are a lot of jam recipes, especially freezer jams, that use gelatin. For example:,1723,151...

So, what the heck do I know?

Anyway, as for your pineapple jam-- definitely try it! At the very worst, it will come out a bit soupy and you will have pineapple sauce to pour over ice cream!

The Empress plums are indeed Italian Prune Plums-- they are okay raw, but cooked they are amazingly delicious-- not too sweet, with a nice acidic balance. I wish I had some right now! As for what to make, have you gotten FC118 yet? I think there is a really yummy-looking plum clafoutis recipe. Also, I had a huge bag of regular plums from Costco and made one of the skillet cobblers from Abby Dodge in FC 112:

Except I left out the lavender, which reminds me of laundry too much, blech! Anyway, the cobbler was great and so easy!

I look forward to seeing what you make!

Cheers, Jen

kitchengoddess's picture


Ha Ha Ha! you made me laugh so hard.  I think we are very much alike I get all "authoritative" on people all the time and then find out well, they had some merit. 

I bought another pineapple yesterday and will probably give it one more day to fully ripen and then off I go.  I will report back. I miss having pineapple jam. Yes I could use it on pound cake or ice cream if it turns out saucy. Did I tell you I bought the ice cream attachment to my kitchen aid?? I'm loving it.  So far I've made cinnamon pecan ice cream from FC's issue a long time ago and coconut ice cream.  

Too funny what you say about lavender because I have lots in my garden and have read so much about how it can be used in baking but have never tried it...maybe I will stay out of it for now.

I had forgotten about the clafoutis so maybe I will make that.  I love making the plum tart from barefoot contessa.

Bought figs at the market yesterday and goat cheese so I think I might try the fig tart on this month's issue...

kitchengoddess's picture


I made the jam last night and it did thicken up quite a bit.  I would definitely reduce the sugar next time and I did leave it on the heat a bit too long as it caramelized a little more than what I would've liked.

It is delicious though! I can't wait to start using it.

Pielove's picture


Congratulations! You realize this is just the "gateway drug" to jam-making..... I'm going to keep the pineapple recipe in mind for next time my local market has a sale-- we never get through a whole pineapple.

Cheers, Jen

kitchengoddess's picture

Prediction or curse?

Well, was this a prediction or a curse? :P

Last night I made this

I haven't tried it yet to see if it did in fact get thick enough but the taste was heavenly.  Which recipe did you use for your italian plums?

I liked the small yield of this recipe as I don't consume so much of it and it is nice when you can make something like jam and not have to buy 5lbs of fruit :D


kitchengoddess's picture

and where there's jam...

there's turnovers!!!

I had left over puff pastry from the fig tart so I decided to make pineapple and plum turnovers.  They came out beautifully :)

IMG_1304.JPG2.38 MB
Pielove's picture

jam and turnovers

Hey, I had missed your post on plum jam, that sounds great with the star anise! For my plum jam, I just used the recipe from the Ball Blue Book-- not much to it, just a lot of sugar. This year I made raspberry jam-- I love raspberries. Small batch sounds like a great idea...

Cheers, Jen

Dashx's picture

small batches

Sorry I'm late to the party.  Congrats on the jam success!

I love making jam, and make small batches all the time.  I first did it using Russ Parson's technique, printed in the LA Times.

I have success every time using this technique, and that has encouraged me to get creative.  Every year I make a plum/pluot/apricot jam, infused with just a bit of cardamom.  The combo of fruit depends upon what is available and the quality.  I also make a tomato jam, with a bit of chipoltle and brown sugar, a variance of an old Sunset mag recipe.

Most of the time I will can the jam.

Dashx's picture

Tomato Marmalade

I have several friends who request this every year for Xmas.  Here is the original recipe, and then my notes/changes afterward.

During MasterChef USA's Chefs' Challenge on television, the tension of timing a meal keeps both contestants and audience on edge. When I joined the judging team, Kathy Urbano of Monroe, Washington, minimized the pressure by pairing barbecued steak with this very easy fresh tomato and chipotle marmalade. It would make a great hamburger relish as well.
      Jerry Anne Di Vecchio
      Tomato, Chipotle Chili Marmalade
      PREP AND COOK TIME: About 15 minutes
      MAKES: About 1 1/4 cups
      1 pound ripe or firm-ripe tomatoes
      1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
      3 tablespoons cider or red wine vinegar
      1 tablespoon chopped drained canned chipotle chilies
      1. Immerse tomatoes in boiling water for about 10 seconds; lift out. Pull
      off skins and cut out cores and discard. Cut tomatoes in half and squeeze
      juice into a 2- to 3-quart pan. Chop tomatoes into 1/4-inch pieces; add to
      pan, along with brown sugar, vinegar, and chilies.
      2. Boil over high heat, stirring often, until tomatoes begin to fall apart
      and almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Add
      salt to taste. Serve, or cover and chill up to 2 weeks.
      Per 1/4 cup: 63 cal., 5.7% (3.6 cal.) from fat; 0.7 g protein; 0.4 g fat
      (0 g sat.); 16 g carbo (1.1 g fiber); 38 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
      Copyright 2001 Sunset Publishing Corporation

I usually add carmelized onions to this, sweetened by long simmering.  I think the vinegars called for are a bit harsh; I use a really good quality Balsamic, but only about 2 tablespoons.  I have also added golden raisins, and a bit of cumin and coriander with good results.

Pielove's picture


Dashx, that sounds great, thank you for the recipe-- and I do have a bunch of tomatoes to use up. I am definitely adding the balsamic and the carmelized onions!

You mention giving this for Xmas presents-- do you can it? I remember from making canned tomato puree ( that the recipe had us add citric acid to reduce the pH to make it safe to can-- that might be the reason for the harsher vinegars. I think the harsher vinegars would mellow over time.

Cheers, Jen

Dashx's picture

I always can for gifts

I always can for gifts; makes me feel better. (:    That way, they have a little time to use it.  The original tomato recipe did not call for canning, the harsher vinegar is just not to my taste.  Though you are right, they do mellow over time.  I decided to can it once, and it turned out great.  FC has some tasty tomato jam/marmalade/chutney recipes, too.

Dashx's picture

I made a PB&J for lunch today...

I made jam this morning, and after lots of house cleaning, and am eating a PB&J for lunch!  In Fresh and Easy the other day, a container of cherums called out to me.  I had never heard of them; they looked like pluots.  I learned about them by searching for cherum fruity.  They are a cross between cherries and plums.  Not very successful from what I've read, lol.

The jam is tasty, though not as fruit flavored as I would like. I knew, tasting the fruit before it was cooked, that it would not be the most flavorful jam I've made, but it's so fast, nd good practice, and it still tastes better than most store bought; mainly because of the lesser amount of sugar.  The flavor is very mild, tasting most like pluots, and having just a hint of cherry flavor, and a very nice cross of plum sweetness and cherry tartness.  The jam has a very mild hint of cinnamon from the fruit, once cooked.  Using the recipe, the jam came out great as far as ease of use, consistency and sweetness are concerned.

The jam really is so easy to make.  The 2lbs of fruit yields about 4 or 5 jars of jam.  I used the lesser amount of sugar - instead of 2 lbs I used just over 1 3/4 lbs.

Things to remember:

Use a 6 qt pan for the initial step - 4 qt is just too small.

Cut the fruit in small enough pieces - I usually cut it too large, and use a masher to break it up during the final process.

I use a little more lemon than called for; about 3 -4 tablespoons.

If you are going to can the jam, have everything sterilized and ready before you cook the mixture - it really does go fast.

My Cusinart non-stick pan is very heavy, so it takes a while to heat up properly.  The first batch of cooking the mixture always takes longer than the recipe tells you, especially if the mixture is just out of the fridge.  It takes about 10-12 minutes.

I almost always cook it too long, forgetting that it will continue to thicken after I remove it from the heat.

Overall, I'm happy with the results, wishing for a bit more flavor, but the consistency is great, not too thin.  I'm going to taste it tonight with a cheese plate.  I took a few pics, I'll post them later.

Pielove's picture


Hey Dashx, that jam sounds interesting-- I hadn't heard of cherums before either-- like little cherubs? I cooked my plum jam too long too-- it was quite solid!

I'm looking forward to seeing the photos! Mmm, cheese plate!

Cheers, Jen