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Make Sweet and Savory Jams in Your Slow Cooker

Making homemade jam is a great way to capture the fresh, natural taste of summer fruits without any artificial ingredients. It's also a great way to heat your entire kitchen to a boiling point--which can be pretty unbearable in the height of peak summer fruit season. When you make a batch of slow cooker jam, you can simmer fruit without steaming up your kitchen, resulting in a fresh-from-the-berry-farm flavor that's soft and spreadable. Our tips on how to make the best slow cooker jam:

Rhubarb Jam

Rhubarb Jam | Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

Slow Cooker Jam Basics

The folks at Crock-Pot have published some recipes and cooking tips help you get started. But you can also adapt standard any stovetop recipe using the following time conversions.

Stovetop Cooking Time  Slow Cooking Time on Low Slow Cooking Time on High
15-30 minutes 4-6 hours  1.5-2.5 hours
35-45 minutes 6-8 hours 3-4 hours
50 minutes-3 hours 8-10 hours  4-6 hours

Checking for Doneness

Slow cookers vary in size and power, so be sure to check your jam periodically within the cooking time guidelines. There are a few ways to test for doneness:

  • A cooking thermometer. Jam is done when it reaches 220 degrees F.
  • The sheet method. Put a generous spoonful of the mixture (about a tablespoon) onto a cold plate, then hold the plate over the sink and turn it sideways. If the jam slides off in one large drop, it's done.
  • The metal bowl method. Chill a metal bowl in the freezer. Pull out the bowl and drop a teaspoon of the jam into it. Wait 1 minute, then run your finger through the fruit. If it separates into two parts and doesn't run back together, it's done.

Store Your Jam

Once you've made your jam, you can prepare it for the fridge, freezer, or canning. High-acidity foods like jams and pickles can be sealed into jars using a boiling-water bath on your stovetop — no pressure cooker required (though it will generate some steam in your kitchen). Follow any instructions that come with the recipe, or check out this video to learn how to prepare your canning jars and safely seal them. You can also store your jam in the fridge or freezer. After cooking the jam, let it cool, then pack it into canning jars or freezer-safe containers and stash them in the freezer to enjoy after summer is over. Be sure to use it within a few months for best quality and taste.

Sweet Fruit Jams

Fresh strawberries from the farmers' market, you-pick blackberries, and sweet-tart rhubarb make for some of the nicest spreads for your toast or pancakes. Try these recipes and make a batch or two this weekend.

Spiked Peach Jam with Ginger

Spiked Peach Jam with Ginger | Photo by

Sweet Fruit Jam Recipes:

Savory Delights

Jams made with hot peppers, tomatoes, or onions are a rich and tasty accompaniment to roasted meats. Or spread cream cheese on a cracker or slice of baguette and top with a dollop of sticky, sweet, spicy flavor. Delish in that salty-sweet genius way.

Red Onion Marmalade

Red Onion Marmalade | Photo by lutzflcat

Savory Jam Recipes:

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About Amy Stephenson

Life is too short to skip dessert. Check out my food pics on Instagram.