Nothing tastes better on a home-baked biscuit than homemade jam. But these days, when you start adding up the cost of jars, sugar, pectin and the fresh produce, it’s more a gourmet treat than the humble pantry staple of our grandmothers’ day.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Home cooks can resurrect what has become a lost domestic art, and still stay within the monthly grocery budget. All it takes is a little smart shopping and some old-fashioned thrift.
I took up jamming many years ago, born out of December desperation.
I wanted meaningful holiday gifts for neighbors and teachers. But with two school-age kids and a baby, I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to these gifts, and I sure didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend.
Those first few years, I purchased my gifts of jam from a farmer friend of mine.
Eventually, I got organized enough – and brave enough – to start making my own jam.
Along the way, I learned how to trim my costs so that I’m not only making jam for gifts, I’m making enough to stock my pantry for a year. It may still be cheaper to toss a jar of Smucker’s in the cart, but what you gain in flavor and satisfaction is worth the difference.
Here are multiple tips for jamming on the cheap: