Uses For Jam and Jelly

Share This!

Can I confess something? I have two drawers in my kitchen filled with jam! I call it my ‘sweet drawer’.  It’s a source of pride and I love showing it off. Without fail, I open the drawers and the person I am showing it to is always taken aback.

They always exclaim, “What do you do with all of that jam?!” A smile comes over me as I start to talk about the countless uses for jam and jelly. I tell them about recipes with jam in them. Then I talk about using jam in cooking and how nicely it compliments meat. I share creative ways to use up leftover jam when I need to clear out the refrigerator. By this point, the person is usually inspired and impressed, admitting they never thought of so many uses for jam. Join me today as I take a deep dive into all things jam and jelly!

Jars filled with jam, labeled with kraft labels, canning jam recipe
A glimpse of my sweet drawer

Too Much Jam and Jelly?

Maybe this is you. Have you ever canned jam and then thought, “Now what”? Similarly, have you ever gotten carried away and found yourself with too many jars of jam or jelly? (Is that even possible?) Surely you don’t want to open jar after jar of jam, only to spread it on a slice of bread! Below, I am going to inspire you to think outside the jam jar and give you ideas for using jam in cooking. Then I will talk about recipes with jam in them and give you tips on how to use up leftover jam.

Using Jam and Jelly in Savory Dishes

Perhaps you haven’t ever thought of using jam or jelly in cooking recipes. However, the sweet, sometimes sour notes that jam offers really can compliment a savory dish. Below, I am going to list some uses for jam and jelly in cooking to show you that jam is so much more complex in flavor than we give it credit for.

Using Jam and Jelly In Cooking:

  • Marinades: Grilling chicken? Try this simple marinade: Mix up strawberry jam or apricot preserves with some EVOO, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Marinade chicken for 4 hours, then grill over medium heat.
  • Dressing: Salad dressing or pasta salad dressing recipes are well paired with the addition of jam or jelly.
  • BBQ Sauce: This one could not be simpler! Add a few dollops of peach or blueberry jam to your favorite bottled BBQ sauce to create your own unique sauce for grilling meats.
  • As An Accompaniment: Cranberry relish is one of my favorite jams to accompany turkey, venison and bear meat. Apple butter and peach jam accompany pork nicely. Feel free to experiment though.
  • Stir Fry Sauce: Peach jam, raspberry jam or strawberry jam are a lively addition to stir fry sauces. Again, get creative and experiment to make the dish your own.
  • Roasting Meat: When roasting meat, such as ham, pork or beef roast, simply thin a jar of jam or jelly with water and pour it over the meat. Roast as normal. Check the bottom of the roaster pan and add more water as needed. This will ensure the sugar in the jam has not burned on the bottom of the pan. Afterwards, serve with more jam on the side, if desired.

Using Jam and Jelly in Sweet Dishes

It may be obvious to most that jam would be used in sweet dishes. However, I am going to list some creative ways that you may not have thought to incorporate jam and jelly into your recipes.

Enamel strainer filled with fresh peaches, accompanied by antique kitchen tools, a jar of honey and whole spices
Preparing to can peach jam

Using Jam and Jelly For Sweet Treats:

  • Spread Between Cake Layers: Making a layered cake? Instead of spreading frosting between the layers, spread your favorite jam or jelly! Peanut butter cake with jelly, anyone? 
  • Cream Cheese Spread: Add jam or jelly to a softened brick of cream cheese and mix to incorporate. Then use on bagels, biscuits and muffins. Even more so, this is a great way to save money. Have you seen the price of flavored cream cheese lately?! This is one of my kid’s favorite uses for jam.
  • Jam Bars: Make breakfast jam bars. This is a tasty way to use up a jar or two of jam. A quick Pinterest search will land you a recipe for this morning treat.
  • Popsicles: Layer dollops of jam between yogurt layers in a popsicle mold for a one of a kind frozen treat!
  • Muffins: Make a basic sweet muffin batter. Then place half of the batter in each muffin cup, followed by a tablespoon of jam. Finally, top with remaining batter and bake as the recipe directs.
  • Breakfast Hand Pies: Need an easy breakfast idea with only two ingredients? Use your favorite pie dough and a jar of jam to create breakfast hand pies, similar to PopTarts, only healthier! Try my recipe for Healthy Pop Tarts using honey sweetened jam!
  • Create A Pourable Syrup: Looking to jazz up boring pancakes and waffles? To a pint jar, add a jar of jam. Next, using water, thin the jam by mixing in the water to the desired consistency. Then place the jar in the microwave and heat in 30 second increments until heated through.  Finally, pour the jam syrup over pancakes and waffles.
  • Pound Cake: If you are looking for a quick dessert for company, pour the jam syrup recipe (above) over a store purchased pound cake. Let the syrup soak in for at least a half hour before serving. Afterward, serve with whipped cream and more jam syrup on the side, if desired.
  • Strawberry Shortcake: This dessert takes less than 5 minutes to make and serve! Split a nice, crusty biscuit in half and place on a plate. Next, top each biscuit half with a healthy sized dollop of strawberry jam. Finally, top with whipped cream and serve.

How To Use Up Leftover Jam and Jelly

Whew! I have covered a lot of ground with uses for jam and jelly. But maybe you are still wondering how to use up those random jars of jam and jelly floating around in your fridge? Fear not! In addition to the 15 uses for jam listed above, I have complied a list of how to specifically use up leftover jam and jelly. Read on to be inspired by these quick, money saving ideas.

Using Up Leftover Jam and Jelly:

  • Oatmeal: Mix  a couple tablespoons of leftover jam into your morning oatmeal to add some pizzazz.
  • Yogurt Parfaits: Grab out the leftover jam jars and start layering jam with yogurt, nuts, honey or cinnamon in a glass jelly jar. Use your imagination. This is a fun activity for kids and is also a great way to meal prep for breakfast or lunch. Looking for a way to use up crystallized honey? Yogurt Parfaits are a quick way to do this, specifically.

Looking for creative ways to use up crystallized honey? Check out my post on uses, recipes and how to liquify crystallized honey HERE!

  • Smoothies: Making a smoothie? Add the rest of the orange marmalade or blueberry jam! Get creative with your creations.
  • Ice Cream: Put a new spin on a boring pint of vanilla ice cream by topping it with leftover jam! Making ice cream sundaes? Pull out the half-used jars of jam and jelly. If you are lucky enough to have an ice cream maker, add some leftover jam while it is churning.
  • Cheesecake: Customize a plain cheesecake. Set out several jars of jam, along with various sauces and nuts and let each person customize their own piece of cheesecake.
  • Grilled PB&J: Are your kids tired of the same old peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Put a spin on it! Once the sandwich is made, butter up the outside of the bread and grill it. After cooling slightly, cut it in half and serve warm.
  • Quesadillas: Similar to the Grilled PB&J, this quesadilla is more bite sized and maybe a bit more fun, too! First, spread peanut butter on half of a flour tortilla. Then top with leftover jam. Next, in a frying pan, over medium heat, toast both sides of the quesadilla. Finally, remove it from the pan and let cool slightly before cutting into wedges. Serve warm.

    Antique strainer filled with fresh picked, red strawberries
    Fresh strawberries, hand picked from an Amish greenhouse are used to can Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Marmalade.

All in all, I hope this article has shown you that using jam in cooking is possible, fun and, most importantly, tasty. Not feeling up to cooking? Clean out your fridge this weekend and show your family how to use up leftover jam and above all, have fun doing it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *