If you’re like most of the English-speaking world, when you hear the word jam, your mind goes first to a sugary sweet fruit spread that is best spread on toast or stirred into yogurt.
However, I’d like to float an entirely different idea of jam. I propose that we open up our minds to a world of jams that includes spicy, tangy, and even savory flavors. These are jams (and butters) that can enhance grilled cheese sandwiches. They can enliven roast chicken. They can even take the place of ketchup as a burger and roasted potato topping.
Consider how having a jar of Spicy Yellow Tomato Jam around the house might make you rethink your approach to the dinner hour. Instead of serving up basic turkey burgers, melt a spoonful of this jam on top of each patty just before serving. It’s also a great dipping sauce for sweet potato fries and oven-roasted carrots.
Sweet Onion and Roasted Red Pepper Butter isn’t a condiment that most people have in their fridge, but once you taste it, you might well consider making it one of your staples. It’s good spread for just about any sandwich and also works beautifully in place of tomato sauce on homemade pizza.
Your standard party time cheese plate will never be the same once you invite Savory Apricot Jam with Shallots and Sage to join the fun. And if apricots are already gone from your local markets, the very same recipe can work just as well with nectarines.
Spicy Yellow Tomato Jam
2 pints Sungold tomatoes (approximately 1 ¾ pounds)
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
juice and zest of two limes
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Wash the tomatoes and slice them in half. Place them in a bowl and add the sugar. Stir to combine. Let the tomatoes sit with the sugar for at least one hour before cooking, until they get quite juicy.
When you’re ready to cook, pour the tomato mixture into a 12-inch skillet and place it over medium-high heat.
Cook, stirring regularly, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes thicken and look quite glossy. Near the end of cooking, stir in the lime juice, zest, salt, and cayenne powder.
When the jam doesn’t look at all runny, it is done.
As soon as the jam is cool, it is ready to serve. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, it can be funneled into clean, hot jars and processed in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
Makes 2 ⅓ cups
Sweet Onion and Roasted Red Pepper Butter
1 pound red bell peppers
1 pound sweet onions (approximately two small onions)
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat your broiler. Place the peppers on a rimmed cookie sheet and place under the broiler element. Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, turning the peppers as soon as side has blistered. When peppers are evenly blackened, remove the pan from the oven. Place peppers in a bowl and cover with a plate. Let them sit until cool enough to handle.
While the peppers cool, slice the onions into half moons. Melt the butter in a large skillet. When it foams, add the onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until onions have reduced in volume by half and are a light brown.
Remove peppers from bowl and peel away the blistered skin. Remove the seeds and ribs, and roughly chop. Add peppers to the onions and stir to combine.
Add the honey, rice wine vinegar, Aleppo pepper, and salt to the pan and stir. Cook until any visible liquid has evaporated. Scrape into wide mouth jar or tall, narrow bowl and puree with an immersion blender until smooth.
This butter will keep in the fridge for up to a week. It can be divided between small containers and frozen for longer storage. This recipe can be doubled for larger yields.
Makes 1 ½ cups
Savory Apricot Jam with Shallots and Sage
2 pounds apricots
¾ cup minced shallots
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
Remove the pits from the apricots and finely mince the fruit. Combine it in a medium saucepan with the shallots, sugar, and vinegar. Place the pan on a burner over medium-high heat and cook, stirring regularly, until the fruit is quite soft and the jam doesn’t look at all watery. This should take 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the water content of the fruit.
When the jam is looking thick and spreadable, stir in the sage, salt, and red chili.
This jam can be served immediately and it will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, it can be funneled into clean, hot jars and processed in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
Makes 3 cups