Topline Trends Tuesday: Preserving: jam, jelly and pickles


I’m posting about an hour early today. It’s not that I’m an early bird looking for a worm or that I’m more organized than usual. No, I’ve got camp induced insomnia. My son left yesterday for camp and, although I looked forward to the peace and quiet of the house being an adult sanctuary, the truth is, it’s just not the same without his smelly boy bones cluttering the place up. 1 day down; 27 to go.

Fortunately, I have my work to divert me and that means that you get Today’s Topline Trends Tuesday an hour or so earlier than usual!


Although it’s not a new way to spend time in the kitchen, preserving is back! In fact, it’s difficult to find a publication that doesn’t have a story or feature about making jam or jelly right now. Specifically, I noted articles in the New York Times, the June issue of Eating Well, the May issue of Waitrose Food Illustrated and the June issue of Sainsbury’s. And in cyberspace, ChezPim has been making (and selling!) marmalade all winter while Jessie presented these quick, fresh pickles in her blog.

While the current crop of preserving articles focus on fruity concoctions, I’m pretty confident that pickling and other canning methods will turn up in the late summer and early autumn issues of many national and international magazines, too.I just hope no one gets to Luke Despatie before I do ‘cause I want to pick his brain and post his pickling tips for you guys here. (Luke’s stand out pickles came in second at his local fall fair, which makes me very curious about the winning pickles; I just can’t imagine any better than Luke’s!) And, of course, my long time friend and colleague Jennifer Mackenzie’s new book The Complete Book of Pickling, is going to be at my elbow all season long, too.

What about you? Are you a committed canner? Newly canning curious? Or, do you prefer to buy your jams, jellies, pickles and condiments fully made and ready to enjoy? I confess that when I was a kid, I loved helping my mom strain jelly but as an adult, I rarely make jam or other preserves since there are so many wonderful ones on store shelves.

16 Responses to Topline Trends Tuesday: Preserving: jam, jelly and pickles

  1. My mom used to make jams when I was a kid, but I’m not a huge jam or jelly fan. However, I’ve decided to hone my preserving skills this summer/fall and will be canning my own tomatoes (providing they grow!) and making compotes, salsas and chutneys. Maybe even a few fruit vinegars.

    I’m really thrilled this is back since it makes eating local throughout the winter a bit easier.

  2. Barb says:

    I watched just enough preserving while I was growing up to entice me to try it when I first started gardening on my own. Mostly to use some of the bounty my gardens produced. I just couldn’t use it all. I had my share of successes and failures and lots of fun to boot. In recent years, however, I have gone away from that because, again, I just can’t use it all. My family and friends see me coming with handouts and turn away! Apart from freezing berries and canning tomatoes I only experiment with a small batch of something now and then to try an interesting blend of trendy flavors and buy the rest. Seems a shame when you think about it. (Sorry for the long post)

  3. I will soon follow you into the world of camp-induced insomnia (nine days to go!) Maybe I will start making jams again to fill in the quiet space…

  4. danamccauley says:

    Alona, good idea. We can become the midnight canners!

    Barb, never apologize for a long comment – love to hear from you. It’s a shame that your efforts aren’t better appreciated. Have you considered giving your extra produce or your preserves to the local food bank? Mine takes them gratefully.

    Char, you are so right about canning and preserving making it easier to eat local all year long. Did you see this editorial in the Boston Globe that says locavores are not just fools but harmful fools:

    What do you think about Tomm Keane’s argument?

  5. 28 days at camp?! I used to fantasize about that when I was a kid. Instead I was stuck in the kitchen with my Baba or my mom, often canning. To be honest, I don’t know how not to can. I see berries and all I think of is can I find the time to make some jam? Tomatoes mean chili sauce and salsa. And heaven forbid we shouldn’t make enough pickles to last until next summer. I’m on a mission this summer to recruit some non-canning friends and start passing on the love and skills.

    Off to check out that article.

  6. Debbi Dubbs says:

    I’ve been back to canning and preserving for a few years now. Mostly tomatoes and I don’t blanch and peel, seed or anything; just plop into a jar with some basil & lemon slices. Last year I upped to canning cherries in brandy and tried my hand at pickle relish, I’ll never buy pickle relish again! I just finished off my last jar so this year I’m doubling the recipe. Some people think that you have to can a huge amount but if you limit yourself to what fits into your canner in one batch it’s not so bad. And it sure is nice to have all those great jars throughout the year.

  7. Peter Hertzmann says:

    I just taught a canning and pickling class last Sunday. In researching recipes I was amazed to find how much bad (wrong) information is out there–much from various government agencies. Much of the bad information comes in the form of when to process home canned foods and when not to. (And then there’s also strange processing times.) Much of the problem seems to lie in the fact that authors have lost a sense of history and reasons. A lot has changed since the first canning in glass in was tried in 1810, and some authors are still using rules from 1909, instead of thinking about what is right for 2009.

  8. Diva says:

    A definite trend … one of the blogs I read announced a “jam exchange” today!

    Like Charmian, I’m not much of a jam/jelly person either. I do enjoy making chutney and savory compotes … but I’ve never tried my hand at jarring or preserving them. I think I’m gun-shy, afraid of the whole sterilization thing.

  9. Natashya says:

    I am pretty new to canning. I got my feet wet last year, just to take the fear out, and I plan on jumping in this year. Makes me feel like a witch… in a good way! 🙂

  10. Lorraine says:

    Thank you, I’ve been wondering where I could get some good information about canning. I checked my local library and now have a hold on Jennifer Mackenzie’s Complete book on Pickling 😀 My mother-in-law has the big pot and cans, she said she would help me figure it out if I wanted to try. Fingers crossed that I will have my own luscious, sun ripened tomatoes to utilize when the vines have withered and are just a memory.

  11. Sharon Haslam says:

    Canning and homemade is huge at our house–my kids won’t even touch store bought jam for PB&J. I did 30 jars of strawberry and raspberry last year–just in case! Bread and butter pickles, mustard beans, baby dills, port wine jelly, chutney, gardeneria, eggplant and of course 10 bushels of tomatoes (done in the garage with all the “familia”–old style) usually round out my summer. Must be my French Canadian, Italian, Newfie roots–we’ll put anything in a mason jar for winter (even moose–not kidding.) And the best part of canning is giving it away!

  12. […] Topline Trends Tuesday: Preserving: jam, jelly and pickles « Dana … […]

  13. Barb says:

    Way to go Sharon! Can I come and hang out for a while?

  14. Luke says:

    It’s all politics out here in the country 😉

  15. […] Dana McCauley – food trend expert Dana points out that canning and preserving is back in style. […]

  16. cute ans stylish jars you have there. Where did you buy them?

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