marilyn_sue

What is Your Favorite Jam, Jelly, or Preserves or Butter?

Marilyn_Sue
October 21, 2019

My second daughter just gifted me with a jar of her blackberry and a jar of her Concord grape jelly she made. I know homemade has a much better flavor. At least I like them better. I have a lot of different ones I like, Strawberry jam, apple butter, grape and blackberry jelly and of course black raspberry. Do you have a favorite or several favorites?

Sue

Comments (104)

  • marilyn_c

    Good quality butter. I don't eat jams or jelly.

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  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    I forgot all about Tiptree. My mother used to buy that brand. I'm ordering some jars of theirs now. Thank you for the reminder.

    Marilyn_Sue thanked Zalco/bring back Sophie!
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  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)

    I made a couple batches of peach jam/preserves this year and blackberry too. My shelves are stocked pretty well at this point. I am a huge fan of cinnamon apples and apple pie, so I think I may have to find some tart apples and give the Apple Pie Jam recipe a try. Thanks for posting that recipe. Sounds yummy!

    Marilyn_Sue thanked itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)
  • spartanapples

    I guess I am spoiled as I make many of my jams/jellies from all the fruits I grow. Cherry, black raspberry, peach and grape. I like using Sure-Gell lite as their recipes have 1/3 less sugar. I find so many commercial jams/jellies way too sweet for me (more sugar than fruit).


    Yes I still buy some jelly. It is from a friend's orchard who makes and sells it from his commercial Kitchen. I buy red currant jelly and gooseberry jelly from him.


    The BEST cherry jam I ever ate was from a place in Michigan. They served small individual jars of it at the Amway Grand Hotel. I enjoyed it so much I must admit I nabbed a jar from the basket of assorted jams/jellies on my table and took it home. I found the producer on the internet and ordered a case of jams/jellies from them. Mighty good. Sorry I cannot recall their name. I believe it was made near Traverse City. Hate to admit it, but their cherry jam is better than what I make. Mine is very good but theirs is better.


    The most sour jams I have ever eaten? Someone gave me some from IKEA. I know the scandinavians do not use much sugar in their jams/jellies but wow was it tart! I had to wonder if they forgot to add the sugar.

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  • lindac92

    I have easily 6 dozen jars of various jams and jellys I made this summer.
    Thanks for the good words, Annie....the quality of the jelly depends on the tree that bears the fruit....and "my" tree is ond and dying.....and on the grounds of the Maytag Dairy.
    I have also decided that "free fruit" makes the best jam!! as in "Linda, i have all these cherries, do you want to make something out of them?"...or grapes, or raspberries....etc.

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  • PRO
    Anglophilia

    I was nearly grown before I realized that most people buy their jams/jellies/preserves at the grocery store and don't make them at home. My mother would make a ton while visiting her own mother in Arkansas. No AC and all that hot boiling water for the jars and the steam from the simmering fruit! Gawd it was hot, but the fragrance was delicious. The strawberry preserves and wild plum jelly were made at home. again no AC. Paraffin topped each jar. My mother used some old snuff jars a great aunt had given her. I think I have one left. It had a tin lid on it that didn't screw on, just fitted on top.


    My mother prided herself on never needing to use Sure Jell. She considered it "artificial". Her jellies and jams always "jelled".

    Marilyn_Sue thanked Anglophilia
  • jakkom

    We look for the least sweet jams we can find. Currently our stand-by is the Blenheim Apricot jam from WeLoveJam, a small producer with one of the few remaining Silicon Valley farms in San Jose CA.

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  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7

    Itsmce, the Apple Pie Jam is the best apple jam there is. Hope you do give it a try. I've been making it for years but didn't get to make anything last year due to moving/renovating. I hated that. And with moving I had to give up my apple trees I had nurtured from tiny seedlings. That hurt too.

    Spartanapples, Traverse City is the "Cherry Capital of the World" so I would bet the cherries for the jam you got were locally sourced and probably not a variety(ies) widely available. I loved going up there during cherry season!

    My Mom never used Sure Jel either and did the paraffin wax seal. How did any of us survive?


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  • Elmer J Fudd

    jakkom, not jam but fruit - fresh and dried-.....

    Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill. Andy Mariani, from the locally well known Mariani family that had a big packing yard and orchard business in Cupertino through the 1970s and a bit into the 80s, has continued the famliy orchard tradition but now growing heirloom and special varieties down in the south county.

    Andy grows a phenomenal number of varities of stone fruit, INCLUDING Blenheim apricots that you can buy fresh during the season. His main market is for export and high end users (like restaurants and fancy bakeries). He holds 3 or 4 orchard visits/fruit tasting events every summer, depending on how the weather influences ripening. Check his website next spring, to do a visit during which you can enjoy unlimited tastings of delicious variety slices you've never heard of, pick yourself or buy from the little store there. are a great way to spend a few hours.


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  • maifleur01

    For spartanapples and others that jam at IKEA is made from lingonberries which is from the same family that cranberries belong to. That is the reason it is tart not the amount of sugar. To me although I do buy the jam it is too sweet to my taste.

  • maifleur01

    Until recently some of the dried fruit in my local groceries was from Mariani's. Occasionally I would find their berries in a store that is now closed. People in the rest of the US should look to see if their stores carry that brand. Would never be as good fresh picked but good. There dried apricots were great to cut into slivers to add flavor to tea or coffee.

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  • plllog

    St. Dalfour preserves are pretty easy to find and don't have added sugar. They're not unsweet, but fruit sweet rather than sugar sweet. I use them for things like filling pastries, and other cooking.

    Some here know I made my first "all by myself" jam this past Summer, with advice and encouragement from Annie and others. It was raspberry, from a low sugar French recipe. A small tester batch with Pomona pectin (low sugar gel), and the "real" batch without pectin. Making jam in small batches for the fridge, rather than in gallons for canning and storage, is much more fun! I used the "real" jam for filling two different cakes at different times. My little jar of test jam still has a bit, but has been nibbled at off and on, and will go soon. It's amazing. Both versions.

    If you don't want to mess with a big canning project, and have to buy the fruit anyway, I definitely suggest trying small batches. I have no qualms buying top quality jam. It's a lot less expensive than making it if one has to buy the fruit, and quality jams are made pretty much the same way as you'd do at home. I've never had such good raspberry jam, however.

    Marilyn_Sue thanked plllog
  • annie1992


    Zalco, the tomato marmalade is really good, from an old Farm Journal recipe book that belonged to my Grandmother. It's kind of like bruschetta, but with the addition of orange.

    itsmce, you reminded me of another favorite, Nancy/wizardnm's maple apple jam, no pectin, I just cook it until it's thick and eat it with a spoon or as a filling for cookies. Mmmmm.

    Bragu, you'd like Doris's Peach Jam for Cold Mornings, very good.

    LindaC, I have a crabapple tree, but this year there were no crabapples. Mother was "pining" for some of Grandma's cinnamon pickled crab apples and I was set to make some, and then, no crabapples. Maybe next year. And maybe I'll make jelly too!

    Spartanapples, I'm not surprised that cherry jam came from the Traverse City area, home of the Cherry Festival and they call themselves "The Cherry Capital of the World". On New Year's Eve everyone else has a ball drop, theirs is a cherry, LOL.

    Annie

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  • Elmer J Fudd

    maifleur, thanks for mentioning the Mariani company. They packed up and disappeared from town decades ago and made good money selling their real estate as so many orchardists in what's now Silicon Valley were able to do. The Santa Clara Valley (aka Silicon Valley) was long the stone fruit and dried fruit capital of the US. Most of the orchards are long gone which is why Andy's operation is so special, he's trying to keep the reputation alive if even in a very small form. I didn't know the company was still around and I wonder if still family owned.

    It appears they've relocated to the Central Valley and that's why they have no profile in Silicon Valley, too far away. The website says they're mostly vertically integrated (grow what they package) for prunes (plums) and raisins but not other dried fruits they sell.

    One of their orchard properties in the heart of Silicon Valley became Apple's first HQ. One of the streets that leads to the campus is Mariani Ave. Apple only just transplanted its HQ to the other side of the freeway with the new round flying saucer just a few years ago.

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  • plllog

    My (local) friend's crabapple didn't produce this year, either. Coincidence? Or is there a crabapple blight?

    Marilyn_Sue thanked plllog
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    Very few crabapples on my Sargent crab tree too. The honey locust has only dropped 4-5 seed pods as well - as opposed to the usual 150 gallons or so of them, for which I am extremely grateful. I wonder if it was the unusual summer weather - too wet until July, then "moderate" drought (as the NWS calls it) ever since.

    I'll have to take a look around the neighborhood to see what other crabs look like.


    Way back in 1988 or so, when I was still in San Diego county, a local stand was giving away its pumpkins after Halloween. I lugged 13 of them home! Made jars of pumpkin butter (which, even though I am a fan of all things pumpkin including as a vegetable, I was not inspired to do again). Canned and froze lots for later use, too.

    PS that is when I got my Lil Oscar food processor/chopper, to puree all that pumpkin - I still have it and use it regularly.

  • maifleur01

    For those that are interested keep track for several years of the weather when your plants bloom. If it is wet and rainy you will have less fruit or seeds. Freezes will also lessen the crops. Strangely at least this year our rains were at night so the pollinators could be active during the day. For whatever reason I had a decent crop of Kiefer pears but not a single Bartlet. Great crop of pie cherries but no blackberries. No apples formed as the trees were blooming when the temps dipped to near zero.

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  • DawnInCal

    Mariani's dried fruits are available in my area. I love their dried pineapple.

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  • plllog

    Thanks, Maifleur. We had an unusually wet winter. The many citrus in that garden are happy. Just not the po' old crab. ;) I imagine they take to water differently.

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  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

    We are so overwhelmed with fruit I've e-mailed all neighbors to please harvest all you want. ...Best in years. Why this year? All trees loaded...Best Concord grapes ever. We are done and exhausted. Well...good stuff. but too much to tend getting the beds ready for winter and the garlic planted and asian pears, so many apples and even a second rhubarb harvest...yikes. The horseradish roots, the carrots, 10 dozen green tomatoes, herbs. Tarragon , sage, thyme, chives I need to freeze and some dehydrate.

    Back on topic...I do make Concord grape and blueberry jam/jelly. My blueberry bushes are so old, 20 years? I think...still good producers.

    Marilyn_Sue thanked sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
  • lindac92

    I always heard.....and in my experience it's true....that fruit trees....at least apples and pears, only produce well every other year. Growing up we had 2 apple trees and when one was "on" the other was "off" and vice versa.
    The tree I got the crabapples from this year was sparce....but other crabs of different variety were heavily laden with fruit.
    I seem to have a bumper crop of acorns too....squirrels are in squirrel heaven!

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  • Elmer J Fudd

    " I love their dried pineapple. "

    I don't know if they had such a product when they were still operating in my area, I suspect not. You can be sure pineapple was never commercially grown in the Bay Area, nor (to my knowledge) anywhere in California.

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  • annie1992

    LindaC, some apples are prone to bearing biennially, but I don't know if crab apples are one of those varieties. Last year I had a lot, this year I have none, but it could be weather, we had a cold and wet spring and June was still more like spring than summer. Didn't stop the Red Delicious, though, we'll press cider and then I'll make jelly. They aren't really cooking apples, but I might try some Apple Maple Jam anyway.

    Annie

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  • spartanapples

    I grow 9 varieties of apples. Some varieties produce nicely every year (McIntosh, Haralson ect). Yet others are prone to biennial bearing (Honeycrisp). Just picked a bushel of NW Greening last night. My favorite pie apple. The tree must have 4-5 bushels this year!


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  • maifleur01

    My Kieffer pear bears a light crop one year then heavy the next. Last year was the heavy year but something ate them all when they were green. Not certain if they actually ate any because the ground was littered with chips of green pear. This year few were eaten and a number of them rotted on the tree rather than falling off then rotting. Kieffers will rot from the inside before they become soft. They also have a grainy texture so would be good for jams or jellies.

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  • l pinkmountain

    Of my own jams my faves are: blueberry lime, peach maple, raspberry peach, strawberry with sweet sherry added (or lavender) strawberry rhubarb, cherry raspberry, plum, and marmalade, could be vanilla bean marmalade or just any old citrus type home made.

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  • plllog

    I made really good kumquat marmalade once, but turns out my friends don't like bitter. I have the same feelings about sweet marmalade that Southerners do about sweet cornbread. :) We always had Keiller Dundee marmalade in the house, though the really good stuff was make by friends (I got to help) at their ranch. The kumquat marmalade was even better, but even one small batch was more than we could eat ourselves. Sigh. And my hands were way acid burned.

    LPink what kind of citrus do you use? It occurs to me that the Cthulhu in the other thread might make good marmalade...

    Marilyn_Sue thanked plllog
  • colleenoz

    I made citron marmalade decades ago when I had access to citrons- the regular kind, not the Buddha's hand ones. It was very good, especially with a dash of green ginger wine added at the end.

    I also make cumquat marmalade a lot, my late father in law loved it (and you can't buy it in groceries) and a very good friend also loves it, so it finds good homes. My SIL has a large tree and gives me the fruit, so I turn it into marmalade and give it away as we don't eat that much jam ourselves.

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  • annie1992

    spartanapples, I've not seen a Greening in a long time. I have Wolf River, Red Delicious and some old Gala type that I can't really identify, as well as that crab apple. The Red Delicious usually go into the cider press, although I have made apple sauce from them. They aren't great for cooking but Dad planted THREE Red Delicious trees, so I'm assuming he got a deal.

    Annie

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  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7

    I had almost forgotten about this one... Several years ago I got to go blueberrying and made a turn of blueberry-rosemary jam that was really good. Maybe someday I will get lucky enough to get a quantity of blueberries enough to make another batch.

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  • lindac92

    Sob....I just had the bad news that half of "my" crabapple jelly tree went down in the storms last week.....and the rest went with the clean up.......
    I need to scout out another favorite crab apple tree.


    Marilyn_Sue thanked lindac92
  • colleenoz

    Thar's disappointing...there used to be a huge cumquat tree growing near the emergency entrance at our small rural hospital. It must have been at least 15' high and nearly as much across. The hospitals liked the locals to pick the fruit as it minimised cleanup from dropped fruit. I used to throw the ladder in the back of the ute and strip the top section as I figured no one else in town would be that nuts :-) so the fruit that was easily reached from the ground was all left for them. I got kilos and kilos of free cumquats, most of which ended up in brandy and sold on my then market stall. It was sad when they decided to remove it.

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  • ritaweeda

    I tasted homemade kumquat marmalade for the first time last year, a friend has a tree and it was very good. I don't ever eat jelly, just don't care for it. I don't eat jams and preserves often but when I do I prefer the ones I make. Blueberry, strawberry, mango. That's the only ones I've tried making. I prefer honey - especially some of the local honey available here. I do like to use jams for baking, such as a filling for cakes, cookies, etc. or to fill the dent in the top of thumbprint cookies at Christmas.

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  • nancyofnc

    When I was making jam, jelly, preserves, marmalade, butters and compotes plus chutney and sweet pickled fruits for my farmers market booth for 10 years - I would not ever say which was my favorite. All of them were/are. Choose the fruit you like and surely there is a spread that makes you happy. You can't go wrong as they are all wonderful - all 75 of them.

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  • maifleur01

    Curious. Has anyone made or tried marmalade from what is commonly called Flying Dragon Citrus. Poncirus trifoliata? So far mine has never bloomed although it is old enough. Fertilizing suggestions have been made but I was wondering if it was worth the effort. I love the look of the stems although the branches on mine do not have that twisty look.

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  • colleenoz

    It would be an interesting experiment, though you might have to increase the sugar. I also see from pictures that like the cumquat, the Flying Dragon fruit are stuffed with seeds, which, like the cumquat, would be a pain to remove as you slice the fruit.

    Marilyn_Sue thanked colleenoz
  • maifleur01

    The fruit a friend sliced open did have more seeds than the old style oranges but I remember them being centered like the seeds on an apple or pear. I will know when mine finally has fruit.

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  • colleenoz

    Well they are on all citrus fruit IME but when you're slicing them it's messy and a PITA picking them all out.

    Marilyn_Sue thanked colleenoz
  • donna_in_sask

    I haven't bought jam or jelly in many years, it's easy to make and the taste is so much better. I only make what the family will eat, which is blueberry/cherry jam and grape jelly. I also made some crabapple jelly this year because our tree produced so much that I was scrambling to think of ways to use them up. Made way too much applesauce, juice, jelly and butter. I have a Kerr crabapple in case anyone wants a recommendation for a good variety.

    Marilyn_Sue thanked donna_in_sask
  • plllog

    Yeah, it was the deseeding the kumquats that screwed up my hands. :)

    Donna, I don't know anything about varieties, but you just reminded me of the crabapple tree in the long corral at summer camp. It was a huge tree, much bigger than an orchard tree, very dense with leaves, with a wide and tall canopy, and the fruit was so high you could only get to it on horseback. The crabapples were green and round and very sour, but like sour candy. Nice to eat but puckery. :) Very different from my relative's tree, which is old, but small and open, with red/green funny shaped crabapples, which are best with honey. I wonder if they'd make a good honey-crabapple butter.

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  • sealavender

    Strawberry rhubarb and tangerine marmalade.

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  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    Edie.....there are several Alabama locations listed for Robert Rothschild Farm products. Someone gave us some hot pepper raspberry preserves a couple of years ago, purchased in Huntsville. Awesome stuff.


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  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7

    Rhizo_1, good to know. We moved here from central Ohio a couple of years ago, so Rothschild was a local product. I'll have to see if I can find a purveyor of their products around Scottsboro or Guntersville.

    Marilyn_Sue thanked ediej1209 AL Zn 7
  • maifleur01

    If you can not find a purveyor you can purchase directly or through Amazon. It also appears that Walmart carries some of their products. https://www.robertrothschild.com/ 

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  • plllog

    I found the website for the wonderful Italian jam.

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  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7

    maifleur01, thank you very much for the link!! I so appreciate it. Bookmarking it - Christmas is coming ;>)

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  • Lynda Radke

    I make many types of jam from our excess produce - Blueberry, Blackberry, Guava, Feioja, orange marmalade, and lemon lime marmalade. My favorite is Ollallie Berry, which also makes an amazing pie.


    Marilyn_Sue thanked Lynda Radke
  • pekemom

    Cherry or blueberry jam, Kerrygold Irish butter.

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  • Marilyn_Sue

    my favorite butter is apple butter.

    Sue

  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7

    Oh ... Old fashioned apple butter cooked in a big copper kettle over an open fire. DH's grandfather in WV used to make the most awesomely amazing apple butter. Never had anything come close since his passing :-( and nobody knows what happened to the kettle.

    Marilyn_Sue thanked ediej1209 AL Zn 7

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