Sour Cherry, Blueberry & Apricot/Orange Jams


All of you have been hearing about my diet. Many of you were surprised that I visually did not appear terribly out of proportion. But what you didn’t know is that my cholesterol was way off the charts and so was my sugar, many months ago. So part of jam2the diet was also to get these numbers back under control. I exercised like mad, I dropped nearly all refined sugars except for marketmanila posts (of which there were a lot), dropped the chocolate and ice cream and walked briskly whenever I got the chance. So yesterday I had my blood tests and today….YAHOO!!! My cholesterol is down a whopping 35% or to well near the bottom range (good) of the numbers. I am amazed, a 35% reduction in cholesterol! My sugar is fine. My other measures say I am kicking butt. So I ran to Starbucks and had a sugar glazed doughnut! Heeheehee. And now I can put this post on jam as I will indulge this weekend, no doubt, before returning to yucky oatmeal on Monday…

My sister in Manhattan is the inspiration for my attempting mangosteen jam. She whips out jam like they were pancakes. And when she makes jam, she REALLY jam3makes jam. My favorite jam on the entire planet is damson plum. And there is only one grower in New York who brings his tiny crop to the Union Square Market once or twice a year. This year, my sister cornered the ENTIRE harvest of this farmer and made dozens and dozens of bottles of damson plum jam. She has sent word that many of these bottles are now making their way across the Pacific Ocean in a balikbayan box headed to Marketman’s home. Yahoo! But before they get here, I better make sure I finish last year’s selection… photographed here are a sour cherry jam which was tart and sweet at the same time with large chunks of cherries… an intensely flavored blueberry jam and a great apricot and orange marmalade. Give me some good toast, several chunks of butter and I am in heaven at the beach…for some reason, I only indulge in these jams at the beach…and that’s where I’ll be this weekend! Oh, throw in a huge mug of Mariage Freres Earl Grey Tea and I am one happy camper. In exchange for the plum jam I have saved several bottles of mangosteen jam for her… If you have never tasted damson plum jam, do so the next time you see it for sale… however, it’s best when homemade…

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22 Responses

  1. Your cholesterol and glucose test results call for celebration and that is a good start. I know it is not easy to bring those numbers down. Lots of discipline and hard work involved but it pays off! You got the right match – toast, butter and jam. I love my toast on the light side oozing with melted butter and jam flush it down with unsweetened creamed coffee. I never have had the opportunity to get my hands on damson plums. I heard they are really good in tarts and pies too. Something to look forward to getting my hands on them this coming summer.

  2. Congratulations MM! I know bringing those numbers down is no easy feat. I only wish I have the same discipline as you do.

  3. Congratulations MM! Bringing those numbers down are no easy feat. I wish I had your discipline.

    I like my toast with lots of butter and jam downed with hot chocolate. Comfort food!

  4. Like you, I have to watch my colesterol and sugar as well. I hate exercise, but I’d rather do that than diet! I adore apricot jam and butter on freshly baked buttermilk biscuits or raspberry jam and devon cream on warm lemon scones. I’ll have to give damson plum jam a try soon. The smell of slightly burnt toast reminds me of my Lola. She always burnt her toast and then scraped the burnt part with a knife!

  5. Marilou, you think the lola burnt toast syndrome was because we had unreliable toasters then? Hmmm, I LOVE devon cream and haven’t had any in at least 5 years…

  6. Just ordered a sampler of jam and jelly made by Trappist Monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass. There’s 6 variety in the collection and it includes a damson plum jam. The collection of 6 _12 oz bottles costs about $25 plus $10 S$H. Selection includes Concord Grape Jelly
    Damson Plum Jam
    Red Raspberry Jam with seeds
    Blackberry Seedless Jam
    Boysenberry Seedless Jam
    Quince Jelly

  7. lojet, that sounds like a reasonable deal to me! I hope they are good. I have never had boysenberry jam before, and the quince jelly might be interesting with Manchego cheese, as it would have the same flavor as the thicker and more intense “membrillo” which is a classic accompaniment to the cheese. Dr. Gerald, yes, I also took a half tablet of Crestor or 5mg worth… it definitely needed medication as I am naturally prone to high cholesterol…must be the type-A behavior patterns… but I did adjust diet and exercised a LOT more than usual!

  8. There’s quince jelly at Terry’s, as well as fig jam. Great with extra sharp cheeses and a hearty piece of bread.

    Your jams sound like they’d be great in an english afternoon tea, with fresh scones, cream, little cakes and pots of strong tea. Layer some of the Vargas butter cake with a good coat of jam and that should be a treat for the tastebuds.

  9. Mt grandma and my dad make mango jam…thanks for reminding me he still owes me! It’s super delicious and I love it on yogurt :)

    MM, oatmeal’s not so bad ;) Try cooking it with grated apple…it’s one of my favorites…

  10. Yes MM, Yucky oatmeal! Just wandering Marketman, how do you prepare your oatmeal? Any oatmeal recipe you can suggest? Been trying to eat it every breaksfast but eventually gave up!

    Have a nice day MM!

  11. MM,have you tried taking C-Lium fibre for your cholesterol? It’s readily available in Mercury and even GNC and Healthy Options have them on their shelves but in capsule form. It’s said to be the “rolls royce” of fibre. I’ve been taking it for over three years now and my LDL is below minimum. We get our supply of psyllium fibre in those Indian stores along UN Ave. (or is it Otis St?) A lot, lot cheaper than those sold in drugstores. But of course, diet and exercise are also very important.
    I hope this helps :)

  12. Hi Marketman,

    I’ve some jammy questions… When is making homemade jam truly worth the effort? (vs. buying a good one, like the Bonne Maman ones for P100+? is freshly-made infinitely better?) And what do you think of recipes that call for pectin? Is that ingredient absolutely necessary?

    I’ve made orange curd and an accidental banana-chili chutney, which were both excellent. I thought those were well worth the trouble because neither are available locally (I could be wrong!) For the same reason, I would like to try my hand at making the Puerto Rican/Mexican-type guava paste. It’s heaven sliced thinly and sandwiched in grilled flour tortillas with melty stringy cheese.

  13. Try layering Ritz crackers, a slice of the Puerto Rican style guava paste and a slice of cheddar cheese and serve as canapes, they’re delicious.

  14. congrats MM on your cholesterol and blood sugar test results! it pays to really watch those numbers. :)

    my fave jam is quite unadventurous compared to your choices: raspberry jam. heehee.

  15. Hi MM,
    Just like you, I have to watch my sugar intake. Diabetes runs in my family…
    I agree about putting jam in oatmeal- this is especially good if the jam has a lot of pulp or fruit chunks. But be careful about the oatmeal, too. My Mom was eating a bowl everyday for breakfast after hearing about its health benefits. But she eventually acquired a problem of elevated uric acid – apparently due to the oatmeal she was taking. I guess that too much of a good thing can always cause a problem!

  16. my all-time favorite is sour cherry jam, and there’s this european brand (can’t remember the name at the moment) that comes in a jar with a pretty lid that is just tops! my next favorite is peach jam with big chunks of peaches. i’ve never had damson plum jam, though, so i don’t know how the stats would be affected if and shen the time comes. But MM, i make my oatmeal worth looking forward to because i put jam on my oatmeal instead of sugar. the past three mornings, i’ve been having oatmeal with mangosteen jam and slices of banana. last weekend, i saw in the supermarkets a few jars of jams from imugan, nueva vizcaya – wild berry selection, mountain blueberry..or something like that. they are quite pricey, but i have been to imugan many years ago. it is so beautiful and pristine, and the berries have grown wild there for ages, so I think it’s wonderful that the people there are doing something about this bounty, and am only too happy to support our small local producers, too.

  17. Trin,
    Bonne Maman isn’t very good. It is worth the time and effort to make homemade jam.You can easily control the quality by using the freshest fruit, some slightly under ripe to increase pectin content and enough sugar to cut down on cooking time and preserve the fruit flavours. Tart lemon juice balances the sugar. Small batches improve quality as well. Pectin is usually made from apples so I recommend using it as it improves jelling. One afternoon’s work will provide enough jam for a year’s worth of toast.Try making mango jam, I haven’t found a good store bought one yet and I’ve been known to fill my suitcases with bottles of jam from all over the world for reference. I’m looking forward to Marketman’s mangosteen jam.

  18. Here are the delayed responses…was out of town…Mila, thanks for the tip on quince jam at Terry’s, I didn’t know that! Joey, next mango season, I am trying my hand at mango jam…and Mrs. Marketman loved mango jam in cookies…masa podrida I think they are called… Ronee and aridelros, I just have regular straight oatmeal with skim milk and eaten warm (eeew, like warm elmers glue) but I throw in dried chopped dates (1 tablespoon for sweetness). I am intrigued by Joey’s suggested with green apple. I also eat my oats in homemade granola (I have a recipe in my archives) and in cookies. But I feel that the porridge torture is necessary to get that real “I must suffer” feeling…heeheehee. Olive, no I haven’t tried the fiber you mentioned…sounds good though… in any case, its like passing a walis tingting through your intestinal tract, I suppose! Trin, homemade jam is definitely worth the effort. There is a brightness and freshness to the flavor that is difficult to get in large commercial batches. Absolutely, I recommend making it at home and yes pectin is useful and as Sister puts it, probably naturally sourced anyway. Some fruits have more natural pectin than others so you need to help the latter along with packaged pectin…it’s available at the better groceries here…though a bit pricey. lojet, guava paste and cheese…hmm, that sounds good! Mandy, a good raspberry jam is definitely in my top 5 jams of all time I think. Alexandra, yipes! I didn’t know oatmeal could elevate uric acid levels…that’s bad for me as I have had gout attacks in the past! Millet, I have never been to Imugan but those jams sounds great… Aridelros, jams around the world evolved because they were such a brilliant way to preserve the bounty of summer or peak fruit season for other periods such as winters that were bleaker…I love the concept of jarring your own food for consumption until the next season or crop comes in…

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