By Barbara Bonner

Pump Up the Jams!

Flats of berries at the farmer’s market, plums on the neighborhood trees, and sunkissed blackberries in alleyways all over the city… Ahh, it’s summer in Seattle! There’s no better way to capture that sunshine in a bottle than by making your own jam.

Jamming in the summer is one of our favorite pastimes. Okay, let’s be honest... creating unique flavor combinations blending fruit with fresh herbs, spices, and booze is a bit of an obsession. 

Whether you’re eating your jam fresh or canning it for later, here are 3 of our favorite flavor combos along with a full list of potential pairings to carry you through jam season. 

The Classic: Strawberry Balsamic 

The sweet acidity of balsamic vinegar is the perfect complement to fresh strawberries. Adding a component like balsamic to your jam will result in a more ‘adult’ tasting flavor (read: less syrupy sweet) that kiddos will still love.

The Eccentric: Blackberry Sage

Sage is traditionally used in savory dishes, but it is a beautiful pairing with the sweet tart flavor of blackberries. The earthy, slightly peppery taste of sage adds just enough zing to have your friends and family guessing what’s in your blackberry jam.

The Planning Ahead for the Holidays: Rum Plum Ginger

Pro tip! Learn how to water bath can and you can cross holiday shopping off your list this December. (Trust us, people love homemade jam at the holidays!) 

Spices like clove, cinnamon, and ginger evoke warmth and are beautiful paired with a fruit like plums. While you’re at it, spice up the season by adding a splash of rum! Alcohol imparts a nice flavor (in this case, toasty sugar) without overpowering the fruit. And just in case you were getting any ideas, you won’t be getting drunk on jam anytime soon—the alcohol cooks off and just the flavor is left. 

Spice it Up!

The sky’s the limit to jam flavor combinations. The biggest rule (as in life) is less is more. We suggest limiting yourself to a maximum of two flavors per jam (in addition to the fruit). Sometimes just one flavor addition works great!

For every 2 pounds of fruit that you’re jamming, use ¼ teaspoon dried spice and/or 1 Tablespoon ‘wet’ spicesthis includes fresh herbs, citrus zest, vinegars, extracts, and alcohol.

Here's another pro tip! Add dried spice to your jam when you’re adding the sugar, which will infuse the flavor into the jam. Wait to add anything from the wet spices category until you’ve removed the jam from the heat; that way it doesn’t boil off. 

Check out the chart below to for flavor combination inspiration!

Kick Out the Jams!

Want more guidance? Our on-demand class shares our master jam recipe (it works for any fruit!), shows how to successfully preserve your jams by water bath canning, and goes even more in depth about spicing up your jams with different flavor combinations! Get access to the class here. Looking for canning tools? We've got you covered here.