There are countless delights I could list to tell you why I thoroughly love this time of year.
- We can use the porch again.
- Birds are chirping all day, which causes the cats to make funny cackling noises.
- We can open the windows and let fresh air into the house, finally.
- I get that good old-fashioned spring cleaning feeling that motivates me to de-clutter and have a garage sale.
- There are always a few plants in my garden that poke through the dirt to say hello, even though I was sure I’d accidentally killed them last fall.
- It’s not dark anymore when I get home from work!
- I can once again walk down the street to get ice cream whilst wearing sandals. I really missed that.
- We can now eat all of our canned and preserved treats from last season…with reckless abandon.
This post is about that last one in particular. Being relatively new at canning, I tend to be a bit overprotective of the fruits of my labor, and feel the need to “save them for a later.” I spent hours and hours canning those peaches and you want to eat two jars in one night?!? Catch me while I faint.
But now that canning season is once again in sight, I can start clearing off the shelf to make room for more canning adventures in the coming season. It’s easy to see what I canned too much of and which things have run out already. I inadvertently went a little wild with jams and jellies last year, much to my own surprise. I figured I’d run out early because I mostly made small batches, but it turns out I made a lot of small batches to compensate, and it’s time to eat jam like there’s no tomorrow.
Which is delightful! Extra jam means it’s not just for toast and PBJ’s anymore. I can use it all up on some delicious recipes I’ve been wanting to try, but waited, because heaven forbid I should go without homemade jam for any amount of time. But now that it’s spring..save some for later? Nah, I can make more soon.
In addition to clearing out your pantry and fridge of jam, these recipes are very forgiving of….ahem…less than perfect batches of jam. I have a couple jars that didn’t set up and are a little too liquid; and I had one batch that set up too much and refuses to spread period. Keep these recipes in mind for those experimental jars of jam that aren’t the right consistency for spreading.
Read on for three yummy recipes perfect for using up homemade jam (or any jam, for that matter):
1: Strawberry fool
I don’t know how to begin to express my adoration for this simple little treat. It came together so quickly, it’s only two ingredients, and it tasted so. damn. good. It tastes just like strawberry ice cream, only not iced.
Start by making whipped cream using about 1/3 cup of heavy cream. For the first time ever, I used my immersion blender to do this in a cup, and the cream was whipped to perfection so fast that I thought I had done something wrong. Granted, I’ve only made homemade whipped cream once or twice before, but it always seemed to take a really long time using the mixer. The blender did it in less than a minute. (Can that possibly be right? You tell me. It just felt too good to be true.)
Once you have your whipped cream, fold it together with about a half cup of jam (I used strawberry lavendar jam for this one). Spoon into a small dish, and this dessert is done!
I wish my photo would do this little treat justice…but I just don’t think it can. It was sweet and fruity and oh so creamy. Many thanks to Autumn Makes and Does for this recipe. You’ll want to serve this up in small dishes, because, as Autumn so eloquently advises:
[it is] quite rich and by that I mean “you’re spooning heavy cream into your face, so you won’t want to do it for too long.”
Well said, soul sister.
I can see this as a perfect addition to a brunch with friends or family; throw it together the night before and store in the fridge in little quarter pint Mason jars. Set out in the morning to add a sweet little something to the table!
2: Brown Butter Jam Bars
This recipe is slightly more difficult than the last because it involves melting, mixing and baking. But I still wouldn’t call it hard…and it’s worth every second of effort it takes to make this pan of sweet, buttery awesomeness.
This recipe is from Elsie Marley. Says Meg, the author of the recipe: “It’s pretty much my go-to ‘shit! I need to bring a snack for preschool tomorrow!’ recipe.” Meg, if you’re listening…you’re funny, and you have excellent taste in dessert. Let’s be friends.
Now take a look at this brown butter jam bar.
Look again. Really soak it in.
My mouth is watering at the memory of how very, very good these tasted.
I’d never made almond flour before, and I LOVED it. It added such wonderful flavor, and along with the oatmeal, makes the bars a little more wholesome. Enough to offset the butter content? I think so.
The only thing I’ll add to Meg’s recipe below is to not skip the step of adding parchment paper at the bottom of the pan. It makes it much easier to clean up after the bars are gone (and you’re done eating the crumbs out of the pan with a spoon because you need just one more hit).
Brown Butter Jam Bars
Recipe by Elsie Marley
- 1-1/4 cups oatmeal
- 1 cup almond flour (or whichever nut you’d like, ground up fine)
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tea salt
- zest of one orange
- 1 1/2 sticks butter, browned
- 1 cup jam
Combine all of the ingredients except the butter and jam in a large bowl. Brown the butter: cut butter in pieces and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the milk solids (the little bits at the bottom) turn a deep brown color. Quickly take it off the heat and pour it into the dry ingredients, scraping the pan into the bowl. Mix. Press two thirds of the dough into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the jam on top and crumble the rest of the dough over it. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool and cut into squares. This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 13×9 cake pan.
3: Homemade Pop Tarts
I’ve been wanting to try homemade pop tarts for a long time now. I settled on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen to begin this little experiment. My first tip is to give yourself plenty of time to make homemade pop tarts. The process of making tarts from scratch is not for the faint-hearted; if I hadn’t been making these on a weekend afternoon with no other plans on my schedule, I may have gotten impatient. But I’m not great at making pie crusts and pastry doughs…so if you are, then carry on without heeding my warning.
The recipe provides instructions for thickening your jam with corn starch before filling the tarts, but I just so happened to have a batch of blueberry jam that got way too thick in the first place (I let it boil a long time because I wasn’t using any pectin…turns out I overcorrected and the jam was very stiff). But before you call that batch a fail…just look how well it held up for my pop tart filling!
I sealed them with a fork, poked holes in the top and baked them.
A few, as you can see, are oozing jammy goodness because I had a hard time transferring the dough without tearing it. They’re great for our toaster oven, but I wouldn’t trust any of my pop tarts in an actual toaster for fear of the huge mess it would make as they leaked all over the place.
Although it took a long time to make my 9 pop tarts, they turned out wonderfully. And it was good to let the blueberry jam shine in a recipe, because it’s too stiff to actually spread on anything. So pop tarts were the perfect treat to use up a batch of jam that would otherwise have been a flop!
There you have it! Now go clean your pantry, see how much jam you have and start baking! What’s your favorite recipe to use up jam?