It’s the refrigerator staple reminiscent of childhood lunches, the token condiment of late-night diners, and the tasty culmination of summertime berry harvests. Whatever you call it — jam, jelly, fruit preserves — the reduction of whole fruit into a spreadable delicacy is the ingredient you didn’t know your life needed until it’s dolloped atop buttermilk pancakes, slathered with peanut butter or spread on toast.
Jam adds natural sweetness to dishes and follows a simple recipe: fresh fruit cooked down with sugar, pectin and acid for consistency if needed. Jams can take savory spins using ingredients such as onion and tomatoes, or fresh herbs, bacon and even peppers. The list is endless.
At Blue Plate, we like to go outside the ordinary with our jams by combining savory with sweet ingredients such as our peach tarragon jam or our strawberry balsamic jam. And we like to think about creative ways to present it. With summer approaching, check out our tips below for incorporating your favorite jam into your next menu or party.
Jam up your Appetizers
Cheese boards are synonymous with parties, and jam pairs great with any cheese. Offer it alongside brie cheese and white wine or sweeten up a traditional brie en croute — brie cheese baked in a puff pastry — by adding jam. You can also serve it alongside goat cheese and crackers for a savory and sweet spread.
Bring it to the BBQ
Chef de Cuisine Melissa Chickerneo suggests adding it to your favorite BBQ sauce or simply brushing it onto smoked chicken just before removing from the grill. You can even consider making a savory onion jam for bratwurst or Italian sausages.
Sweeten up your Vegetables
Chickerneo suggests tossing steamed baby carrots with a mild jam like our peach tarragon then sprinkling with sea salt for a sweeter version of the side dish.
Have a Brunch Jam Bar
Can’t decide on what flavor of jam to serve your guests? Let them decide with an assortment of displayed jams and pastries on a breakfast table. Pair it with a mimosa and bloody mary station, and sit back and enjoy.
Related: Read our past post on How to Host a Simply Chic Backyard Brunch.
Shake it into a Cocktail
The idea of adding jam to a drink might seem unconventional, but jam is an excellent addition to cocktails as it provides fresh flavor and sweetness without any artificiality says mixologist, Lov Carpenter. Use jam in place of liqueurs, cordials, and even sweet vermouth in some of your favorite cocktails for a healthier twist. One of Carpenter’s favorite pairings is a dry, juniper-heavy gin with raspberry jam. (Recipe below.) Carpenter advises that when using jam in a cocktail, make sure to shake your cocktail vigorously to create a smooth consistency.
Spritzers are also a popular summertime and crowd-pleasing drink. Chickerneo suggests making a peach spritzer by mixing peach jam with Rosé wine then topping with a splash of seltzer water and garnishing with fresh peaches.
Whether creating a weekend brunch, hosting a Friday night soirée or simply wanting to experiment at home, try our #fromourkitchen recipes. Share the love by tagging us on Instagram using @blueplatechicago.
Gin and Raspberry Jam Cocktail
Recipe courtesy of mixologist Lov Carpenter
Yields one cocktail
- 1.5 ounces Plymouth gin
- 1 ounce raspberry jam
- Splash of fresh lime juice
Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into glass, add ice, top with club soda
Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits
Recipe courtesy of the Blue Plate Culinary Team
Yields 20 small biscuits
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces butter, cold, cubed
- 3 eggs, whole
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1-2 jalapeños, seeds removed, small diced
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
In a mixer, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the cold, cubed butter and mix until butter breaks down into pea-sized pieces. Slowly add the eggs and then the buttermilk until dough is slightly sticky. Fold in jalapeños and cheddar cheese. Working on a floured surface, roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut biscuits into two-inch circles, place onto greased or lined baking sheet, and brush with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until tops are golden brown.