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Quick Jams for Autumn

By Emma Grace Fairchild:

The days are shorter and the air cooler as autumn approaches parts of the world, including my home in the Czech Republic. After a sunny and warm September, October is bringing cravings for soups, mulled wine and other tasty concoctions simmering on stovetops. At the same time, the last of the summer fruits are coming through shops and markets, sometimes at quite low prices, and they always seem to be the tastiest as the end of the season nears. My solution for enjoying fruits this time of year and keeping my kitchen a bit warmer is to make quick jams on the stove and enjoy them for a few days at a time before whipping up another small batch.jam-making

Quick jams are great for me because I don’t have the kitchen capacity or the time to preserve large batches of jams and jellies in pressure sealed jars, but I still love to have flavorful spreads for toasts, yogurt, or for baking. I buy enough seasonal fruits on sale to process into fun flavors that are easy to switch around and that use common ingredients, like stone fruits with fresh chili or blueberry vanilla. The process is very straightforward, too. I simply cut the fruit into smaller pieces and put it, along with my chosen seasonings and something to sweeten it, into a small saucepan. I bring the mixture to a simmer and then cook it down, stirring frequently, until it is soft and spreadable! Once cooled, I put the jam in the fridge, where it will keep for a week or two.

Here are three of my favorite stovetop jams to make this time of year. Play around and get creative with the fruits you have on hand or that are on sale at the farmers’ market!

Wild Blueberry, Vanilla and Chiablueberries

  • 1 lb. of wild blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tsp. orange or lemon zest
  • 3-4 Tbsp. coconut sugar, agave, date sugar or maple syrup

To use the vanilla bean, cut the pod in half lengthwise with a small, sharp knife and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and all other ingredients to a small saucepan, stir well, and cook down slowly over medium to low heat until it begins to break down. Add the vanilla pod to the jam and simmer the mixture until thick and smooth, stirring frequently.

Nectarine Chili Jamnectraine-jam

  • 4-5 nectarines, unpeeled
  • ½-1 fresh hot chili (jalapeno, habanero, or serrano)
  • 3-4 Tbsp. coconut sugar, agave, date sugar or maple syrup

Roughly chop the nectarines, keeping any juices possible. Remove the seeds from the chili and finely dice. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and cook over medium to low heat until the fruit starts to break down. Let it come to a simmer and cook until thick, stirring frequently.

If you’d like to make a larger batch and follow a recipe, check out spicy nectarine habanero jam or jalapeno peach jam.

Chai Apple Butterapples

  • 5-6 apples, peeled
  • 1- to 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 3-4 Tbsp. coconut sugar, agave, date sugar or maple syrup

Roughly chop the apples and add to small saucepan with about an inch of water. Slice ginger into long pieces and add along with spices and sweetener to saucepan, and cook over medium to low heat until the fruit starts to break down. Let it come to a simmer and cook until thick, stirring frequently. When cool, remove the ginger, cinnamon stick and cloves.

About Emma Grace

Emma Grace is a full time college student in San Diego with a background in raw food nutrition and holistic health. She has a passion for gardening, living a low impact and sustainable lifestyle, and loves animals. She lives on a collective community urban homestead with a backyard flock of hens, a bull dog, a snake, a tarantula and plenty of houseplants. In her free time she enjoys foraging for local fruits, playing guitar, writing, and reading. Aside from Green-Mom, Emma Grace also contributes to Baktun Raw Foods Blog and her school newspaper.

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