Open Jars is a new, regular series here on Food in Jars, devoted to ways to use the preserves, pickles, chutneys and more that we all spent the summer stashing away. Occasionally, I’ll be running guests post in this space, so if you’ve got an idea, let me know!
I’m a big fan of the breakfast smoothie. I’ll often toss a little yogurt, some frozen banana, a couple of kale leaves (chard works too) and a tumble of blueberries into the blender and blitz until smooth. In the summertime, when the blueberries are fresh, I find that this concoction needs no additional sweetening. But now that fall has arrived and I’m using frozen blueberries, I’ve been reminded just how puckery this morning meal can be without a helpful touch-up of some kind.
In the past I’ve added a bit of honey, agave or maple syrup to brighten up the flavors. However, the other day during smoothie prep, my eyes landed on a jar of strawberry preserves that had been taking up space for at least six months (still perfectly fine). My husband frequently mentions how crowded our fridge is (making it impossible for him to find anything) and so I’ve been actively trying to reduce the condiment clutter. I grabbed the jar and added a generous tablespoon to the blender.
Once the whir of the blender was finished, a quick taste let me know that the flavors were good and that the jam had added a nice strawberry sweetness to the finished drink. I decanted the rest of the smoothie into one of my beloved pint and a half jars and was off to work. This will not be the last time that jam (or fruit butter) joins the smoothie ingredient list.
I once had a fantastic martini that included a spoonful of marmalade. YUM!
Can I make a request for one of those future posts? I’m loving your tomato jam recipe, but now I have twelve half-pint jars and only two ideas for how to use it:
1. On my toast at breakfast
2. As an appetizer: Spread it on crackers or slices of baugette, and top with some goat cheese.
Both of these worked great, but I could use some other ideas.
What a great idea! I am still faced with a lot of last year’s bounty and could use some creative ideas. Your tomato jam was/is extremely delicioso!
This is brilliant and a much needed series–can’t wait to read more, like what am I going to do with okra pickles? I love preserving, but I don’t really eat jam that much. I made my plum jam in small jars to help. I am thinking it will be good swirled into oatmeal.
GREAT idea! And great book idea, too! Sidebars, anyone?
@Mike V: try it as a topping for a basic risotto, with or without cubed avocado on top.
I’ve used this jam in smoothies trick with good results. But it had never occurred to me to use kale or chard in a smoothie. Great idea- thanks for the tip!
This sounds like a great series, and very useful! I would love to do a guest post if you’re looking for contributors. I’m currently working on some bread recipes using preserves, got to keep chipping away at my stockpile!
Great idea for a series–I often see cool recipes in my Ball book but can’t imagine how to use up a whole batch. Also when giving jars as gifts, it’s nice to be able to suggest uses.
Kale leaves…? tell us more
I love using some of my jams and jellies to glaze meats. One of my favorites is making a marinade with orange marmalade and a few other things for chicken. Then reducing it down for a wonderful glaze and sauce. I may have to go and pull some of it out and make that this week!
@Mike, I think that the tomato jam would be good in a grilled cheese sandwich.
I’ve found that a heaping spoonful of strawberry lemon marmalade is quite tasty with a bowl of homemade Greek yogurt and also homemade honey-walnut granola!
@Mike V- I gave a jar to a friend. She said she tried it on a grilled cheese sandwich and it was awesome!
Marisa- I look forward to this series! I love canning, but I’m usually at a loss at how to use my jars (other than the obvious uses). THANKS! 🙂
There are jam thumbprint cookies, pinwheel cookies made with jam cooked with a bit of cornstarch (I like your jellied cranberry sauce recipe on here for this), jam in muffins–there’s a good recipe on cooking light called strawberry cinnamon muffins I think. The batter has yogurt to make it thicker; you fill the tins halfway, put a tsp of jam in the middle, then top with more batter.
That sounds like a nice way to wake up a smoothie! Your jars are gorgeous.
I make our yogurt and when I started canning this year I intentionally made mostly butters and fruit preserves without pectin to flavor it.
That is a good idea. I will have to try it sometime.
Great idea for a regular series.
I gotta know though, do you taste the kale in there? I’ve seen this done with spinach but never kale or chard. I would be put off by a “leafy green” smoothie flavor.
This is sheer brilliance. Fruit + sweetness is EXACTLY right for a smoothie.
(I’m also pretty stoked about this new series. We’re condiment junkies around these parts, too, and the jam-mustard-pickle-hot sauce army has so far conquered the fridge door and half a shelf. Help!
I LOVE that idea for a series.
I had delicious dumplings the other day that were topped with lemon marmalade. They were so delicious that I’ve been experimenting with recipes to try and replicate (or do better!).
Where did you get those jars? They are so seriously beautiful…
I’m intrigued by the photo, because it looks like you sealed the jars with paraffin (and the jars are the kind that require a rubber ring and glass top fastened with a wire). Am I seeing that correctly?
Great idea – for the jam and the post. My husband and I have have a few conversations about the jar clutter in the fridge too. It would be good to have a few more ideas than toast or yogurt.
I’m liking this new series idea. It’s so much fun to try new things but then I get stuck with a whole bunch of stuff that I don’t know what to do with… like plums in port…
I love the idea of this series. I also look through canning books and wonder what I would ever do with some of those things. I put jam in my morning oatmeal. I’ve also been thinking about baking it in bread. I pickled a bunch of green beans and love them straight out of the jar but would also like other ideas of how to use them.
Thanks for all the ideas, everyone!
My favorite way to eat jam is on hot, crispy popovers fresh out of the oven! I made some wonderful fig jam this summer with thinly sliced oranges and spices and it is absolutely marvelous with cheese and a nice cold glass of Prosecco. I bake a lot at Christmas and I love to use my homemade raspberry or Amaretto Cherry preserves in spritz and thumbprint cookies. I use my tomato jam in meatloaf, as a yummy steak sauce and as part of a marinade for beef. I found quince at Publix recently and made some quince preserves that are also really tasty with strong cheese and salty olives. I love your blog and, as an amateur home canner for many years and recent blogger, I find much inspiration here. Thanks for motivating us!
Great idea! Yum!
I love ways to use jam. I loved the ideas on how to use apple butter the other day. I could use lots more of those. Thanks!
Under the “don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it” heading, I LOVE a little bit of jam on a breakfast egg and cheese sandwich. Yummy good.
Loved the kick in the pants to look at all those part jars migrating to the back of my fridge. Came across this idea while I was prepping for Canadian Thanksgiving – this from the November 1996 (yes, 1996) Bon Apettit Magazine. Pumpkin-Apple Butter pie! I didn’t have any apple butter but I had some peach butter which was very yummy! I know it’s a few weeks until your thanksgiving – here’s the filling for a 9 inch pie:
1 1/4 cup pumpkin, 3/4 cup whipping cream, 6 tablespoons apple butter, 6 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 large eggs and 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 tsp each of vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and 1/4 tsp salt.
Thanks for writing – I love your blog and the photos of your ‘real’ person stove!
Oh, what a good idea! I am also a morning smoothie maker. Lately, I’ve been adding Lifeway Kefir or yogurt, plus almond butter. Sometimes I throw in a little raw oatmeal, too. Jam, though. That’s a good call.
The tomato jam on hamburgers, in meat and cheese sandwiches in the Panini maker is awesome, and I also used it in making meatloaf and to top the meatloaf. Jam is always good on top of cottage cheese believe it or not — doesn’t matter which flavor! I just made some raspberry jam and can’t wait to use it on pseudo Monte Cristo Panini sandwiches — you know, turkey, ham, swiss cheese and instead of dipping – raspberry jam! And last but not least, sweet potato fries dipped in the tomato jam — I kind of use it in place of ketchup. Just sayin . . .
My mother-in-law taught, who taught me to make strawberry jam, said that she once had a batch that just didnt set and she ended up with strawberry syrup. She used it to make strawberry milkshakes.
This year I have the same issue with half of the strawberry jam jars and we are getting ready for milkshake season!
This weekend I tried a new recipe for pulled pork that called for a cup of “tomato based chili sauce”. I kept forgetting to buy it, so ended up using my (your) tomato jam. The pulled pork recipe is a real keeper. It would have been good with chili sauce – but it was KILLER with the tomato jam! Best I’ve ever made, or tasted. Thanks Marisa.
I pack plain or vanilla yogurt with a spoonful of jam in my daughter’s lunch frequently. It’s quick, easy, and a big hit.