Valley Bounty: Jams & Preserves

A well-stocked pantry can upgrade easy every day meals and snacks to special with a minimum of on-the-spot effort. Try hot pepper jelly on crackers with goat cheese; apricot jam, spread between the layers of a cake and topped with whipped cream; rhubarb chutney on toasted bread with melted local cheddar on top. Now’s the time to take stock of your preserves: what did you love, and want to make more of? What’s leftover, and needs to be eaten? If your pantry is empty, don’t despair: many local farms and businesses make great preserves with local ingredients.

By Margaret Christie of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA).

Sources: CISA’s list of local producers of jams and preserves is here.


Hot pepper jelly: I use Pomona Pectin, a low-sugar pectin from a small company based in Greenfield, and their recipe. You can adjust the proportion of sweet and hot peppers to your taste; I like mine hot.

Rhubarb chutney

In addition to using up your remaining 2014 preserves, it’s a good time to start planning for 2015. There are lots of new preserving books these days, with all kinds of ideas for interesting flavor combinations. I like Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint. Here’s an apricot jam recipe of hers.