Vegetable Jams: Long Forgotten Recipes Grandma’ Used To Make


Many of the vegetables that we usually cultivated in our lands, are used to cook delicious jam. Sometimes they are a bit unusual and surprising or enriched with a curious ingredient characterizing them.

Any chilli jam recipes call for peppers, or ginger, or garlic, or tomatoes, or … well, you name it. But all you really need is sugar, chillies (obviously), vinegar and a source of pectin, which makes jam set. Learn to combine these four, then you can start adding bells and whistles. But this recipe, is good enough to stand on its own.

Canning is the best way to make summer produce last through the year. Canning is a way of preserving food in airtight containers that don’t need to be refrigerated. By filling jars with food then boiling them in a hot water bath, they can be stored at room temperature for a year or more. This is a way to enjoy seasonal foods, especially summer produce, year-round. Homemade jam is a popular item to can.


Sweet Chilli Jam

Start by sterilising three or four small jars and their lids in the oven for 15 minutes at 140C/275F/gas mark 1. It’s fine to reuse them, so long as the seals are intact. While these are heating, place a saucer in the fridge (we’ll explain why later), trim and deseed 150-200g of small red chillies, and either chop them up them finely or give them a quick whizz in a blender. (This will also save you from ending up with stinging hands – or worse.)

Place the chillies in a large saucepan together with 400ml cider vinegar and either 1kg jam sugar (which includes pectin) or 1kg of normal sugar and two or three large cooking apples, which you have pierced in several places. Bring everything to a simmer, then cook at a rolling boil for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Turn off the heat, take the saucer out of the fridge and drop a little jam on it. Put it back in the fridge, wait a couple of minutes and see whether it’s begun to set, in which case you can start filling your jars. If not, put the jam to boil again and check for set after another four or five minutes. Whatever happens, after three or four tests, turn off the heat. Better jam that’s a little runny than chilli-flavoured toffee.

Remove the apples (if used) and ladle the jam into your still-hot jars, with the help of a funnel if necessary. Don’t worry if the apples have broken up a little, just try to fish out the largest chunks. If it seems that all the chilli flakes are rising to the top of the jars, immediately turn them upside down for 15-20 minutes to redistribute the contents – but don’t forget to turn them the right way up again.

Here are some of my favorite canning recipes. I guess they are my favorites because I grow many of these items myself in my garden and orchard. You can also find literally hundreds of canning recipes, and more information on canning techniques in The Lost Ways


Onion Jam

Accompany grilled and roasted foods with this sweet and savory jam. Try it with fresh cheeses on crackers, or in sandwiches. Crusty browned tuna and other robust fish, or red meats are naturals with it, as are grilled greens. Taking your time in sauteing turns the onions sweet. Taste as you cook to judge amounts of vinegar and if sugar is needed. Seasoning options include chile, herbs, greek olives, capers, or anchovy. Experiment. Do use organic ingredients if possible.


2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 to 6 medium red onions, thinly sliced
10 large shallots, thinly sliced
8 to 10 big cloves garlic (not Elephant type), thinly sliced
salt and generous freshly ground black pepper
shredded zest of 2 large oranges (optional)
1/4 cup currants or raisins (optional)
1 small fresh tomato, peeled, or a canned tomato
1/4 to 1/2 cup wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

Heat oil in a 12-inch saute pan over medium high. Add onions, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper, tossing to combine. Once they begin sizzling, turn heat to medium low, cover pan and cook 30 minutes, adding zest and raisins half way through cooking. Once onions become soft and clear, uncover, raising heat to medium high.

Brown the onions. Stir often, scraping up the brown glaze on the bottom of the pan. You may need a little water as they approach being done. Once deep gold, stir in tomato and 1/4 cup vinegar, cooking it down to nothing.

Taste for a soft sweet-tart balance. If necessary, cook in a little sugar, or more vinegar. Tomato should meld into the onions, while the vinegar cooks down to an appealing backdrop, not a sharp accent. Cool quickly and pack in jars. Keep cold, but serve close to room temperature.


Makes 1 pint


4 pounds plum tomatoes, peeled, halved crosswise, seeded, chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
Ingredient info:
Smoked paprika is available at better supermarkets, at specialty foods stores.


Mix tomatoes and sugar in a large wide shallow pot. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, occasionally stirring gently. Boil, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, and paprika. Cook until thickened and reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Ladle into a clean, hot 1-pint jar. Wipe rim, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Per tablespoon: 23.1 kcal calories, 0.0 % calories from fat, 0.0 g fat, 0.0 g saturated fat, 0.0 mg cholesterol, 5.9 g carbohydrates, 0.3 g dietary fiber, 5.6 g total sugars, 5.6 g net carbohydrates, 0.1 g protein, 47.0 mg sodium


Sweet Chestnut Jam

Always associate sweet chestnuts with late autumn. And darkness. As a child, there were men on street corners selling chestnuts from glowing braziers, piling them into tiny paper bags. I always wanted my mother to buy them for us. And when she did, I didn’t like them. I’d peel one as we walked along, hoping that I’d suddenly find them delicious. But I never did. The floury texture put me off. I think I probably forced one down as it was the ritual that I liked. Watching the man rake the nuts across the grid, the warmth of the brazier and most of all being out after dark.
Being out after dark seemed so grown up. When my sister and I were thrown out of the Brownies, for disagreeing with Brown Owl, we found ourselves in the centre of Cambridge surrounded by street lights and illuminated shop windows. I can still remember the heady sense of freedom, heightened by the fact that we were out at night alone.
Finally, in my twenties, I nibbled a marron glacé one Christmas and fell helplessly in love. Sugar and chestnuts are a winning combination for me. A glimpse of beautifully packaged marrons still tempts me to do terrible things. I have eaten an entire box, without sharing. Or even feeling guilty.
When we saw men roasting chestnuts in Como last weekend, I decided to search for sweetened chestnut recipes on my return to England. I found five recipes for Chestnut Jam. Three Italian, two French. I couldn’t understand why there weren’t any more until we started to peel them. Only attempt this recipe if you are not rushing to put on the Sunday roast. Danny lost most of his nails and lasted 20 minutes of the 120 minute shelling session.
We studied the five recipes, and extracted the ingredients and method that we though would work best. I’m tired, it’s two in the morning and the Chestnut Jam is sublime. Having thought “never again” during the peeling stage, I’m now planning another batch.
It is a jam in that it’s spreadable. It is more of a delicious purée. It is probably just too special to spread on toast. Although I know that a spoonful of this would salve that 4 pm yearning for something sweet. This would be good in tiny pastry cases under a thinly sliced apple topping, or folded through whipped cream for an chic dessert.
If you have a glut of sweet chestnuts and want to store some, they can be frozen, complete or unshelled. Just put them in a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and freeze.
Sweet Chestnut Jam recipe
1.5 kilos of fresh chestnuts (buy and prepare at least 1850 gms to allow for bad ones)
The zest of a large lemon
800 gms white granulated sugar
I vanilla pod
200 ml water
100-200 ml rum (depending on taste. We used 200 ml)

Shell the chestnuts carefully to avoid breaking the inner skin (see Tricks and tips ).
Put them in a saucepan with the lemon zest. Cover with waterBring to the boil and simmer for an hour until soft.
Remove chestnuts in small batches from the hot water, with a slotted spoon, and peel the inner skin. The nuts need to be warm to be peeled easily. Discard any hard of bad ones (these are much harder and dark inside).
Press the soft husks through a sieve and set aside.
In a clean saucepan slowly dissolve the sugar and water over a low heat. Stirring constantly.
Add the vanilla pod and the sieved chestnuts. Bring to simmering point and simmer for twenty minutes. Stirring every now and then to stop the mixture burning on the base of the pan.
After twenty minutes add the rum and simmer for a further ten minutes, string constantly.
Remove the vanilla pod.
Ladle into warm sterilised jars. Label when cold and store in a cool dry place.
Tips and tricks:
Buy more chestnuts than you need. We had to discard 250 gms out of the 1500 grms that we had bought at the first peeling stage.
We found that the best way to peel them was to insert a small knife carefully under the skin at the top of the nut and work down towards the base. If you can then remove the base the peeling process is much easier.
When the chestnuts have softened it’s easy to remove the skins if you snap the nuts in half, the skin should easily peel away. We found that the nuts that were still hard were the bad ones. Discard these as they would taint the good nuts.
Don’t try and skip the sieving. Bunging the chestnuts in the blender takes out the air and you need a light pile of sieved chestnuts to add to the syrup.


Carrot Jam

Carrot jam has always been popular in Middle Eastern cultures, and found in 12th century recipes right up to the modern day. We’ve even done it here in the past, too – Mrs Beeton included a recipe for carrot jam in her Book Of Household Management of 1861; it also found favour in 1909 in Mrs Rorers Vegetable Cookery Book and re-emerged in World War Two Britain under food rationing.
Many people view the carrot as an unlikely preserve ingredient, but carrot jam is surprisingly palatable. Like a marmalade, this sweet jam uses carrots to provide extra dimensions of texture and flavour for a fun topping. With a tangy taste, and an orange colour not dissimilar to marmalade, carrot jam would have been an occasional Victorian tea-time treat. Beware it often does not set as well as commercial jam.

Is a Carrot a Vegetable or Fruit? Carrot Jam, Carrpt Pickle, Carrots in Sugar Syrup

Of course carrots are not botanically a fruit as they do not carry the seeds, and the above paragraph in the jam directive does not reclassify them as such, just allows them to be used as fruit.

Duerrs, the famous British Jam maker does not use any carrots in their products, although many years ago they did try carrot jam and tomato jam. It is recalled that this was to try out what the products would taste like due to the above mentioned in the jam directive. The unanimous conclusion at the time was that tomato jam was actually very nice but carrot jam was awful!

Ingredients –

Young carrots. To each Ib. of the prepared pulp allow 1 Ib. of preserving sugar, the strained juice of 2 lemons, and the finely grated rind of 6 finely-chopped bitter almonds, 2 tablespoonfuls of brandy.


– Wash and scrape the carrots, cut each one into 3 or 4 pieces, them in a preserving pan with barely sufficient water to cover them, and simmer gently till tender. Drain well, pass through a fine sieve, weigh the pulp, and replace it in the preserving-pan with an equal amount of sugar. Bring slowly to boiling point for 5 mins stirring and skimming frequently. When cool, add the almonds, brandy, lemon juice and rind, turn into small pots, cover closely in a cool, dry place. If the brandy be omitted the jam will not keep. Time. From 50 to 60 minutes. Average Cost, about 5d. per Ib.

When cold, add the lemon-rind and juice, almonds and brandy; mix these well with the jam; then put it into pots, which must be well covered and kept in a dry place. The brandy may be omitted, but the preserve will then not keep: with the brandy it will remain good for months.

Time —

About ¾ hour to boil the carrots; 5 minutes to simmer the pulp. Average cost, 1s. 2d. for 1 lb. of pulp, with the other ingredients in proportion. Sufficient to fill 3 pots. Seasonable from July to December.


Ingredients – Equal weights of carrots and beetroot, sugar, lemons.

Method – Wash the beetroot, scrape the carrots, and boil them separately until tender. Pass through a coarse sieve, measure the puree, and to each pint allow 12 ozs. of sugar and the juice of 2 lemons. Place the whole in a preserving pan, boil gently for an hour, and turn preparation into pots. If it is intended to be kept some time, a glass of brandy should be added to each pint of jam before putting it into the pot. Keep closely covered in a dry, cool place. Time – About 1 hour. Average cost, about 5d. per Ib.

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Ginger Jam

Ginger has a strong, distinct flavor that is often highlighted in Asian dishes and complements sweet salads and fruit dishes. Ginger jam can be served on bread, spooned onto meat or added to rice or salads. Unless you dilute the ginger or sweeten it with fruit, ginger jam may be too spicy or overwhelming for some people, especially children. Experiment with ingredients until you find a jam recipe that works for your entire family.

1 Peel about 1 lb. of ginger root and then slice the root into small pieces with a sharp knife.

2 Place the chopped ginger into a saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice and boil the mixture for 10 minutes, or until the ginger softens and the sugar dissolves.

3 Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer the ginger for about 30 minutes. Stir the mixture every five to 10 minutes.

4 Test the consistency of the mixture and the taste of the jam. The desired consistency depends upon your personal preference, but the jam should be thick rather than runny. It should be smooth enough to spread over bread but can contain lumps of ginger if desired.

5 Test the jam for doneness by placing a spoonful of it in the freezer for one minute. If the liquid gels, it is sufficiently cooked.

6 Remove the jam from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.

7 Scoop the jam into a bowl if you plan to eat it within 24 hours. If not, scoop the mixture into a glass jam jar with a lid and serve cold.

Things You’ll Need

1 lb. ginger root
Sharp knife
Large saucepan
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


Rhubarb and Ginger Jam Recipe

(makes six 8-ounce jars)
3 pounds of trimmed rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger

Combine the rhubarb, two types of ginger, and sugar in a large saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to bubble. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently, until jam thickens. Adjust heat accordingly to maintain a steady simmer and stir often during the thickening process to prevent scorching. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, skimming and discarding the foam that collects on the top of the mixture.

After 20 minutes, test for doneness. Turn off the heat under the jam and take the temperature of the fruit mixture using a candy/jelly thermometer. The thermometer should read about 220 degrees when the jam is done. Alternately, place a small spoonful of jam on a plate and place the plate in the freezer for 35-45 seconds. Remove the plate and run your finger over the top of the jam. The surface should “wrinkle” in your finger’s wake. If it does, the jam is done.

Ladle the mixture into hot, sterilized 8-ounce jam jars leaving about 1/4-inch of space between the jam and rim of the jar. Cover with lids and rings and process the jars for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. The lids should vacuum seal shortly after removing the jars from the processing bath. If you do not hear the telltale “pop” of some or any of the lids, return the unfinished jars to the boiling water and process for an additional five minutes.

Place the sealed jars on the thickness of a kitchen towel and allow to rest and cool completely overnight. Preserves will keep for at least a year in the sealed jars if kept in a moderate temperature.


Pumpkin Jam

Here’s a recipe for making pumpkin jam.

It is very easy to make, you just need to pay some attention.

You will need:

– Large pumpkin, around 9Kg/18pounds
– Sugar
– Salt
– Cinnamon
– Nuts

Start by cutting open the pumpkin and remove the seeds carefuly so as not to remove the fruity filaments they lie in, as they give texture to the jam.
Wash the seeds thoroughly and save them.

Cut the pumpking in small pieces, removing the bark, and wash it. Put the pumpkin pieces in a large pot with water. Boil it until it’s soft.

 In the mean time, take a break from all the cutting. Get the seeds, spread them in a cloth, sprinkle some salt and place them in the sun to dry.
A quicker method is to dry them in the oven, just enough to get the moisture out.They go nice as a poor man’s pistachio, either solo, or with beer.

Once the pumpkin is nice and soft, get a cloth and squeeze the water out of the pumpkin.

Mash the pumpkin.

Now, the nice part: weigh the pumpking and add either 1.2 times, or 1 time, or 0.8 times it’s weight in sugar. It depends on wether you like it super sweet, regular, or still want to taste the pumpkin. Add the cinnamon stick if you like.

Mix it all up and put it on a low flame for around one hour and 15 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes.
When the colour changes a bit and the consistency gets a wee-bit thicker, you can remove it from the flame and pour it on glass jars.
Add some crushed nuts or almonds.
Place the lid on the jars, make sure they are tight and let it cool.

Stored in the absence of oxygen and placed in a cool storage environment, powdered eggs have a storage life of 5 to 10 years. Once a container of powdered eggs has been opened, it is comparable to any other dehydrated dairy product and shelf-life would be measured in weeks or a month. Many people opt to refrigerate the remaining portion or only open as small a container as possible. If the goal is to keep the remaining powdered eggs long-term, we recommend that you re-pack the remaining portion in a smaller container with an oxygen absorber. Keep in mind that the eggs will only store as well as the condition of the original product – and therefore, should be free of moisture and oxygen.

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1 thought on “Vegetable Jams: Long Forgotten Recipes Grandma’ Used To Make

  1. Randal Oulton

    That pumpkin jam is asking for trouble. It’s a low-acid food that the recipe doesn’t add any acid to (don’t rely on sugar / water activity alone to keep you safe), and, the jars aren’t even processed. No wonder grandma often stressed over how she was a gonna pay them thar hospital bills.


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