How to Make Fruit Jams, Butters and Chutneys

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How to Make Fruit Jams, Butters and Chutneys
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How to Make Fruit Jams, Butters and Chutneys

Step 1. Pick Your Fruit & Flavorings

These recipes work with any fruit in any season. Give jars of peach chutney as a summer party favor or wrap up homemade apple butter for the winter holidays. Here are some fruits we love to make preserves with.

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Jam: Strawberry, cherry, peach, blueberry, raspberry.

Chutney: Nectarine and dried cherry; blueberry and dried apricot; cherry and golden raisin.

Butter: Blueberry with lime juice and zest; plum with orange juice and zest.


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Step 2. Prep & Measure

Find out what it takes to prepare berries, cherries, peaches, apples and more.

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Berries: Remove stems; hull strawberries. Measure whole.


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Cherries: Remove stems and pits; halve. Measure halves.


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Peaches, Nectarines & Plums: Peel if desired. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces; discard pits. Measure pieces.


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Apples, Pears & other fruit: Peel if desired. Quarter, remove seeds and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Measure pieces.


Image Credit: jupiterimages

Step 3. Get the Right Texture

To peel or not to peel your fruit is a personal choice. Some people like the texture it provides, others don't. We like the peels in chutneys and jams. But butters are supposed to be smooth, and well, buttery, so we prefer to peel stone fruit, such as apricots, nectarines, peaches, apples and pears.

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About Pectin

We tested Fresh Fruit Jam with "No sugar needed" pectin from Ball and Sure-Jell. We prefer this to regular pectin because you can adjust the amount of added sugar. Regular pectin cannot be used in its place because it requires more sugar to ensure a proper set. Although Sure-Jell’s instructions indicate that you cannot use less sugar than called for in their recipes, we had successful results using less (as indicated in our recipes).

Don't miss the recipes of some of our favorite spreads as well as meals that incorporate them!


Image Credit: Corbis

Early Girl Tomato Jam

This most simple of tomato jams reminds us that tomatoes are a fruit, and one of the very best. Early Girl tomatoes, especially when dry farmed, are spectacularly sweet and thick skinned.

Click here for the recipe: Early Girl Tomato Jam

Concord Grape Jam

Concord grape skins paired with the subtlest hint of orange and lemon make a wow of a jam. Its flavor is intensely grape-y, and its bright purple color is entrancing.

Click here for the recipe: Concord Grape Jam

Grilled Ham and Cheese With Strawberry-Red-Wine Jam

The secret to Chris Kronner's delectable sandwiches is the jam spiked with Pinot Noir . Kronner got the idea when he was helping Elisabeth Prueitt test jam recipes while they drank wine.

Click here for the recipe: Grilled Ham and Cheese With Strawberry-Red-Wine Jam

Mixed-Berry Jam

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries complete this delectable spread.

Click here for the recipe: Mixed-Berry Jam

Jam-Filled Mezzaluna Cookies

These vanilla-scented cookies are shaped like mezzaluna pasta and filled with a mixed-berry jam.

Click here for the recipe: Jam-Filled Mezzaluna Cookies

Hush Puppies With Green Zebra Tomato Jam

These hush puppies feature a highly seasoned, Indian-inflected tomato jam with ginger, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne.

Click here for the recipe: Hush Puppies With Green Zebra Tomato Jam

Fresh Fruit Jam

Nothing beats the taste of fresh fruit jam. And when you make it yourself, you can control the amount of sugar used.

Click here for the recipe: Fresh Fruit Jam

Late Raspberry Jam

With only three ingredients, this jam is easy to make and wonderful to eat.

Click here for the recipe: Late Raspberry Jam

Sweet Onion Jam

Not all jams belong on the breakfast table. This is one that does not. Sweet onions differ from their eye-watering, breath-tainting cousins in that they hold more water and consequently less of a sulfuric smell.

Click here for the recipe: Sweet Onion Jam

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By: Carolyn Malcoun

Can't get enough of ripe summer fruit? Preserve it for the rest of the year in a batch of fruit butter, jam or chutney. Try chutney, a spicy-sweet-sour condiment made with fresh and dried fruit, sugar, vinegar and chiles. Fruit butter and jam are similar; both are sweetened fruit spreads, but fruit butters are made by cooking down the fruit mixture until thick and sticky instead of adding pectin to set the mixture as you do with a jam. Whether you have a marathon picking session at your local berry farm or stop by a farmstand for a flat of cherries, spend a little time in your kitchen preserving the best of summer.

Check out the slideshow above for a step-by-step guide to making fruit jams, butters and chutneys.


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