Who doesn’t love jam? Almost everyone eats it, spreading it on toast or sandwiches, perhaps even placing a dollop of it in their morning muesli or oatmeal. It’s been that way for a long time, too; “Of Culinary Matters”, the first known book of recipes written by legendary Roman glutton Marcus Gavius Apicius in the first century, contains recipes for fruit preserves. But what a lot of people don’t realize about jam is how versatile it is. It is far more than just a sweet snack for breakfast or lunch; it can be baked, mixed in beverages, and used to give a sweet edge to many savory dishes. To celebrate our newly stocked artisan Amelia’s Jams, we’ve put together a list of Fields’ five favorite creative uses for jams and preserves.
A spoonful or two of jam can add a great boost of sweetness and consistency to a healthy fruit smoothie. It could be as simple as adding half a cup of strawberry jam to some strawberries and milk, or you can get more adventurous. Raspberry jam will taste great blended with some bananas, vanilla yogurt, apple juice and a splash of milk for example, and you can add a little cereal to a breakfast jam smoothie. If you want something richer, you can make a drinkable version of a classic PB&J just by blending peanut butter, milk and a jam of your choice, (alongside a handful or two of oats).
If you like the combination of sweet and savory flavors and want to get a bit quirky with a roast or a grill, a jam based glaze is a tasty and interesting way to go about it. What’s amazing about this idea is how many combinations you can make the most of. Strawberry jam mixed with butter, onion, garlic and sugar will make a great glaze for grilled chicken, while roast chicken breasts taste great smothered in a mix of peach jam, mustard, balsamic vinegar and butter. Pork, meanwhile, is even more welcoming, working equally perfectly with apricot, apple and orange marmalade based glazes.
Another savory dish that is brought to life with the right jam, baked cheese is a simple and delicious way to use a preserve’s fruity sweetness. It is a pretty eye-catching dish as well, and better yet can work perfectly as an appetizer or as a desert. It’s also simple to make. Usually working best with brie or camembert, all you really need to do is cut off the top of the cheese wheel and spread on the preserve of your choosing. Fig and apricot jam complement them particularly well, but raspberry, strawberry and orange marmalade will also work a treat. Try getting even more creative by sprinkling on some walnuts, almonds or pecans, and you can also put the whole thing inside a puff pastry to really go the extra mile.
It’s no secret that jam can gel perfectly with simple homemade baking. The simplest way to incorporate it is by making what are known as ‘thumbprint’ cookies; all that you need to do is follow a simple recipe for butter or sugar cookies, make a thumbprint in the middle, and fill it with a small dollop of jam before baking. There are definitely ways to make things more interesting, though; the great thing about cookies is that you can often just switch up flavors with minimal tweaks to the rest of the recipe. Walnut and apricot jam cookies are particularly delicious, and almost any jam will make peanut butter cookies even tastier.
A bake-sale staple and another super easy recipe, all you really need to make a good jam tart is some puff pastry, (bought or homemade), and some high quality jam. Of course, there are variations; some leave the top of the tart open and sprinkle on sugar after baking, others cover them completely. More artistic types can even create small pastry designs like stars or hearts to place on top before they go in the oven.