Not your grandmother’s jam: 3 surprising jam recipes

Jam has a reputation. Most jams and jellies live their whole lives only brightening toast and being the better half of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Even though most people like jam just fine, it doesn't spark a lot of imagination. These jams still have a place in baking and pastry arts, and also in glazes, served with cheese or inside sweet and savory pastries.

Rose jam
Start to finish: 1 day, 50 minutes (50 minutes active cooking)
Yields: about 3 1/2 cups


  • 3 cups food-safe rose petals 
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1.75 ounces powdered fruit pectin

Combine petals, white sugar and lemon in a large mixing bowl, and toss to evenly coat the petals. Leave petals at room temperature overnight.

Place coated petals and water into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cane sugar and stir until dissolved. Let the mixture simmer for another 10 minutes, then bring to a boil

Stir in the pectin, sprinkling the pectin in to avoid clumps. Boil for an additional two minutes. For firmer jam, boil up to four minutes. 

Pour the jam into sterilized jars, and seal shut.

Beer jam
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Yields: about 6 cups


  • 2 12-ounce bottles flat IPA or stout beer
  • 3⁄4 cups apple cider
  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 4 ounces powdered pectin

Bring beer and apple cider to a boil in a large pot. Stir in the sugar until fully dissolved. 

Add the pectin, stirring to prevent clumps. Continue to cook the mixture, stirring occasional, for 25-35 minutes.

Transfer to sterilized jars and seal.

Bacon jam
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Yields: about 3 cups


  • 1 1/2 pounds chopped bacon
  • 1/2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Cook bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crisply. Use a strainer to separate the bacon from the rendered fat: set bacon aside. 

Return 2 tablespoons of rendered fat to the pot. Sauté onions for about seven minutes, or until they turn translucent.

Stir in sugar, sherry vinegar and honey, then return the bacon to the pot. Stir in 1/2 cup of water, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Mixture should take on a jam consistency. 

Remove from heat and stir in balsamic vinegar and butter. Stir until shiny. 

Transfer to sterilized jars and seal.

Allow all jams to cool completely before serving, and store in the refrigerator. Bacon jam is best served reheated. 

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