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Purple Onion 8-1-21

Jams aren’t just for breakfast anymore! Use them throughout the day for sweet or savory cooking.

So, it has come to this: You’re looking at the jewel-like jars of jams at your favorite Capitol Market shops and you really, really, really want to reach for that In a Jam Tomato Jam or the peach jam or the cherry jam. But, you think, you still have a couple of open jars at home.

What to do, what to do?

We say, think outside the toast! Re-imagine those delicious fruit preserves and jams in recipes that will spark up a meal.

From breakfast to dessert, from sweet to savory, there are so many options for discovering that jams are versatile and more than just a biscuit topper.

Some of you will realize that you already knew this. Remember the 1970s top appetizer pot luck? It was the now-classic crockpot meatballs in barbecue sauce made with grape jelly. Remember how much fun it was to share the secret ingredient and watch people’s reaction?

We have some ideas that will elicit that reaction again. Not to mention, we’re including the classic meatball recipe for those who can’t find it or never had it.

This version, found on the Food Network website, includes Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and hot sauce to balance the sweet and tangy and keep the sauce from being too cloying. Instead of beef meatballs, you could substitute turkey or veggie meatballs, depending on your tastes.

Let’s start with breakfast. Sure, you could have your jam on toast or stir it into some oatmeal. You also could whip up a smoothie. We like thinking about how you can use up that not-very-full jar of strawberry, blueberry or raspberry jam that’s sitting on the shelf. Yet, these smoothies are so tasty, you could whip up a batch for the whole family.

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This recipe has three basic ingredients: jam, fresh fruit and milk. The jam provides flavor and sweetness. Frozen fruit will thicken and chill the smoothie. The milk rounds the recipe out. You can opt to use cow’s milk, nut milks, yogurt and even Kefir.

The possibilities for smoothies are vast. Make a blueberry smoothie and jazz it up with a few mint leaves and lime zest. Give a strawberry smoothie something extra with lemon zest and basil leaves.

When summer heat calls for a light lunch, pull out some of those farmer’s market greens and whip up quick and tasty vinaigrette. We like these bottom-of-the-jar ideas for a great way to use up that last little bit of jam. Dress up your salad greens with some fresh berries or fruit that are the same as the jam you use. Sprinkle a few toasted nuts on the top for a bit of crunch.

For snacks and appetizers, we have two suggestions for using jams. Jezebel Sauce is a southern favorite. It’s a sweet and spicy sauce that you can make your own by adding more or less heat, to suit your taste.

Curried peach jam has a hint of India with curry powder, ginger and star anise. Serve it with crostini or crackers and crumble feta or goat cheese over the top.

When dinner comes, consider making a savory sauce that could be used on chicken, pork or salmon. Simple to prepare, you can mix it up while the meat is resting or getting started on the grill. When it is time to add the sauce, you will be ready to go.

As you can see, a jar of jam, a few extra pantry staples and you have some jammin’ good recipes that can be whipped up in practically no time at all!

Allan Hathaway is the owner

of The Purple Onion and

WV Marketplace at Charleston’s Capitol Market. For more information, visit the web pages at and; or call The Purple Onion at 304-342-4414 and WV Market-place at 304-720-2244. Email Allan at

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