Jam Sessions

Foodie, gastronome, epicure…bon vivant?! No matter how you choose to slice it, one thing is certain: I am a self-confessed food geek. I can spend an entire evening pouring over cook's mags, scheming, taking notes, and plotting my next great kitchen experiment. My hits and misses could very well be equally balanced; a leavening flop here, a near-perfect crust there. In all my test-kitchen trial and error, I've managed to come up with some interesting fare—no stone in this girl's pantry left unturned, no technique or brand of cuisine overlooked. Simply put, I like to cook.

And in the kitchen—unlike any other facet of my life—I like to take risks. Never one to play by the rules, I'm forever perfecting (and correcting) with my own imaginary measurements. A dash here, a smidge there…if the recipe declares a cup, I'll defy it with three-quarters[ish]. I live by ish-s. Thumbing my nose at the OCD baker, I make her cringe with precision.

That being said, I also like to make things easier, if I can. Simplifying a process is always a good idea. So when the UPS man delivered a box—containing one of the most coveted (and until now, absent from my kitchen) cook's gadgets on my list—I felt as if the stork had delivered my first-born. A Cuisinart—in all it's fine chopping, shredding and pureeing glory—was mine, all mine! I unpacked its numerous parts with tenderness, examining each with the precision of a pathologist. Number one blade does this, number two does that; taking into account all of the fabulous things I was going to create with my wondrous, most magical of all kitchen machines.

So of course I made jam.

I know, I know, what a cop out, right? Of all the obscurities I could fillet and dice, mash and pulp, I chose to make a fruit spread for toast. In my own defense: homemade jam is [nearly] on the top of my comfort-foods list. And during the heat of summer, there couldn't be a better way to utilize the bounty of farm fresh fruits: strawberries, raspberries, peaches and plums! I could already feel my taste buds tingling in anticipation.

I'm here to tell you one of the simplest pleasures to enjoy, homemade jam, is also one of the easiest to make. All you need is fruit, sugar, pectin, jars and a Magical Cuisinart Machine. If you don't have a Magical Cuisinart Machine, a standard drink blender will do just fine. If you don't have a Magical Cuisinart Machine or a blender, then I suggest you high tail it to Rainbow for some locally produced preserves, because you're plum out of luck. And because it's so dang hot in Jackson right now, I recommend the easiest (and coolest) method of jam making: freezer. You heard me, there's no slaving over a hot stove or fooling around with canning techniques and scalding hot water baths here. Just puree the fruit, add the sugar and pectin packet, stir to your heart's content (I recommend plugging in your ipod for this portion of the recipe), and fill the jars with the completed jewel-like jam substance.

Presto! You've made your first Magical Cuisinart Machine concoction. A pat on the back is in high order.

Of course, you could always mince and mash your way to a pâté de canard. But come on folks, who are we kidding? There are no ish-s in duck liver paste. So I suggest you stick with jam. Plus, it tastes a hell of a lot better on toast at 8 am, and the possibilities are infinite! Strawberry Basil…Apricot Lavender…my mind is reeling...

In any case, here's a recipe you can play around with as much as you like. For more specific instructions, and even a video demo, visit the Ball website:

• 4 cups Magical Cuisinart Machine Pureed Fruit
(about 3-3.5 lbs whole strawberries yield 4 cups crushed fruit)
• 1 ½ Cups Sugar
(I use raw turbinado, but you can use whatever genre of sweetener you like. Also, I only used 1 cup[ish]. I don't like jam, or anything, too sweet)
• 1 Packet of Ball Simple Creations Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin
• 5-6 8oz Glass Jars or Plastic Freezer Jam Jars+Lids

Previous Comments


Brandi, you are a cook after my own heart. There is nothing more fun than finding a fresher new flavor. I have been playing with making breads this summer for the first time. Funny to think I have never made my own jam. Sounds like an excellent next step to go with my fresh bread.


hey gwilly! ...playing around in the kitch is so much fun! i'm not experienced much with bread making [yet]....i hope to do more of that soon though. on a bread and butter sort of note: you can also make homemade peanut butter with a cuisinart which is awesome! just add roasted, salted peanuts from your co-op's bulk section, whir until the mass forms a ball. scrap down the sides with a spatula, then whir some more until drops of oil form. presto! peanut butter to go with your jam and fresh bread. perfect. ;-)

brandi hp

Homemade jam, homemade peanut butter and homemade bread. Sounds delicious! Now, if I could just get a Cuisinart. :-)



Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment