Jam maker Rachel Saunders wants you to think beyond toast and English muffins. The founder and owner of Bay Area-based Blue Chair Fruit stopped by the Cooking Channel offices recently and gave us a taste of her artisanal jams and marmalades. She also shared this Top 10 list of favorite ways to eat her addictively delicious jams.
1. In a Tart Shell: One of my favorite things in the whole world is Italian crostata, which in its most classic form is a simple jam-filled tart with a dry, cake-like crust. I especially love this with orange marmalade inside.
2. In a BLT: We often make mock BLTs using our tomato jams and tomato conserves. The combination of sweet tomato and smoky bacon is irresistible!
3. With Scones and Clotted Cream: One of my most decadent treats is classic English scones with clotted cream and our Apple-Meyer Lemon Marmalade. Usually, people think of jam with clotted cream, but I think a delicate marmalade is even more luscious.
4. On Oatmeal: Steel-cut oats with cranberry jam or damson plum jam make one of the most satisfying of all breakfasts. Something about the tartness of cranberry works perfectly with the warmth of oats.
5. With Yogurt & Muesli: I particularly adore blueberry or blackberry jam this way. The whole berries add such character to the yogurt.
6. Next to Fried Chicken: I was just in New York and had this fabulous fried chicken with lemon marmalade on the side. It was almost like a deconstructed version of an Asian dish — sweet citrus with poultry. Delicious!
7. On Grilled Cheese: This is one of our favorite ways to have jam at Blue Chair Fruit. We are especially fond of tomato jam this way, but fig jam or marmalade could also be spectacular.
8. In Strawberry Shortcake: I’m crazy about jam in shortcake; it just adds that little extra je ne sais quoi! For this use, any really stellar strawberry jam is ideal.
9. On the Cheese Plate: Ways to pair jam with cheese are truly endless, and I love the austere purity of the experience of enjoying jam in this way. Quince, fig, blood orange, and strawberry are all fantastic companions for cheese.
10. In a Cocktail: A little blackberry or elderberry jam in the bottom of a champagne flute, topped with Prosecco and maybe enriched with a few drops of elderflower syrup or cassis, makes a very elegant way to kick off an evening!
For more jam and marmalade-eating ideas — and to learn how to make the preserves yourself — check out Rachel’s Blue Chair Jam Cookbook.