J is for Jam

Everyone’s first thought is to spread jam on toast. And many gluten free breads certainly benefit from it. But there are other fun ways to use jam.

  • As a filling between cake layers.
  • Warm it and serve as a sauce over ice cream.
  • Serve with soft cheeses and crunchy rice crackers.
  • As a filling for crepes. See Montina crepe and jam recipes below.
  • Make a pan sauce for chicken or pork chops. Cook the meat as you like and remove from the pan. Add a few tablespoons of jam to the drippings. You can cut the sweetness with a bit of vinegar, lemon juice and /or mustard. Pineapple jam is good with chicken, apricot is good with pork. Or use your favorite flavor.

Last year my husband made raspberry jam for the first time. We always freeze berries, but that alone could not keep up with the huge harvest. So to get out of a jam, he made some! By late summer, we had a shelf full of wonderful jewel tone Christmas gifts.

raspberry-jam-jars photo by rusty grass

Making jam is really very easy. Homemade jam is just fruit and sugar, lots of sugar. Even recipes that claim they are low sugar have a lot. Some fruits also need pectin so they will thicken to jammy goodness. You can buy that at the grocery store. Be sure to follow their directions exactly.

What is the difference between jelly and jam?                                             Jelly is made from fruit juice and sweetener. Jam is made from crushed fruit and sweetener. Jam is chunkier and may contain seeds.

What is the difference between store bought and home made?                 Store bought jellies and jams often have high fructose corn syrup and may have preservatives. Recently, mercury was found in high fructose corn syrup and some of the products made with it.

I am not a fan of many of the jellies and jams offered in the supermarket. When you make your own, you will see how much sugar is added. A lot, did I mention that before? But at least it is not contaminated.

Vince’s Raspberry Jam

Adapted from a recipe on www.recipezaar.com posted by Pam in B.C. We like the combination of sweet and heat, so Vince added some cayenne.

Yield: 6 half pint jars. I think the diamond pattern jars are special.

4 cups mashed red raspberries, start with about 6 cups whole berries

4 cups sugar

½ teaspoon cayenne, optional

Sterilize jars, lids and rings in boiling water. Or a dishwasher if it has a sterilize cycle.

Put berries in a very large, heavy bottomed pot. Bring to full boil, the mixture will easily double in volume. Boil for 2 minutes.

Add sugar, stir constantly. Boil for 6 minutes.

Remove from heat. Be careful, the hot jam is like lava. Fill two jars with jam. Add the cayenne to the rest of the batch if desired. Fill 4 more jars. This way you get some slightly hot jam and some not.

Screw on lids and rings. Process in a water bath for 5 minutes.


crepe-pan-and-Montina-blend-crepe photo by vsimon

Montina Crepes

Adapted from Joy of Cooking, 1997 edition

Yield: about 8 six-inch crepes

½ cup Montina  flour blend, other blends work well too

½ cup milk

¼ cup lukewarm water

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons canola or walnut oil

2 teaspoons sugar

Using a whisk, mix it up in container with a pour spout. Or use a blender and whirl for about a minute. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.

The old wheat recipes needed this time to give the gluten time to relax. We need the time to allow the fiber in the Montina flour to soak up the liquid. The batter will be thicker and smoother after the resting time.

You can test to see if your pan is hot enough with a droplet of water. If it dances on the surface, it is hot enough. I like to use a 7” steel crepe pan. But any shallow pan will do.

Give the batter a good stir. Oil, or melt a bit of butter in the hot pan. Pour about 2 tablespoons of batter in the pan. More is not better, you want a thin coating. Lift the pan off the heat and swirl it, so the batter encircles the pan. Cook for just a few minutes. The underside will brown and the top will set. Flip the crepe over and cook for about another minute. Remove this crepe to a plate while making the rest.

To serve, spread with jam and fold into quarters. You can garnish with a bit of powdered sugar if you like.


Montina-blend-gluten-free-crepes-with-raspberry-jam photo by vsimon

Crepes can be cooled and stored for future use. Layer between sheets of wax paper and store in the fridge for up to a week. Or in the freezer for longer storage.

What is your favorite filling?

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