Whether your mouth waters at the thought of slathering jam onto hot toast or adding dollops of chutney to cheese and crackers, almost all of us have a preserve of choice.
And, making your own jams and chutneys is a great way to use up fruit and veg. It also means you’ll always have a tasty jar of something to snack on – or to give away as a special last-minute gift.
If you’ve never made jam or chutney before, the good news is that they’re usually very simple to make. Plus, they’re probably far more versatile than you might think.
Jams are delicious on toast, but they’re also a great way to jazz up cereal, yoghurt, or porridge, or use as a filling in cakes. And chutneys aren’t only for crackers; they also go well with salads, cold meat, or even a roast dinner.
So, if you’re looking for inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Going beyond the simple strawberry jam or classic red onion marmalade, here are 11 homemade jam and chutney recipes.
1. Pear and lavender jam
If you love pears and enjoy subtle floral accents, then this pear and lavender jam might be right up your street. The perfect autumn preserve, this jam tastes wonderfully light and delicate.
Sweet, fresh pears go brilliantly with fragrant, flowery lavender and warm vanilla – once the jam is poured into sterilised jars and sealed, it’ll keep for up to six months.
This is a simple recipe using only six ingredients: pears, lemon juice, jam sugar, vanilla, granulated sugar, and edible dried lavender.
After cooking, you can use the wrinkle test to check the jam is set, and when it’s ready, spread it on toast to turn your breakfast into a celebration…or scoop it onto toasted English muffins or crumpets for an afternoon snack. This classy jam also makes a really lovely gift.
To make pear and lavender jam, try this recipe from The Happy Foodie.
2. Beetroot chutney
Beetroot is one of those vegetables that’s often overlooked, but aside from being delicious, it’s also really good for you.
Packed with fibre, folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C, beetroot has many powerful health benefits, and one of the best ways to celebrate this vibrant vegetable is to make a tasty chutney. Not only does beetroot chutney taste gorgeous, but it also looks beautiful.
The natural sweetness of the beetroot and red onion means that this recipe needs less sugar than most chutneys. This allows the delicate, earthy flavour of the beetroot to shine through – and the grassy, anise flavour of the dill adds a subtle herby twist.
This versatile chutney can be enjoyed in many ways; on the side of roasts and curries, on cheese toasties and burgers, or as a BBQ sauce.
To make beetroot chutney, try this recipe by Great British Chefs.
3. Raspberry and chia jam
If you have a sweet tooth and love sticky berry jam but are trying to eat more healthily, then we have great news – it’s entirely possible to enjoy a thick, fruity, and sweet jam without using a single grain of sugar.
Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants, minerals, fibre, and omega-3 fatty acids – and when used in jam, they act as a thickener, meaning you don’t have to use any sugar.
As well as being sugar-free and bursting with nutrients, raspberry and chia jam is quick and easy to make and uses only four ingredients: berries, lemon juice, chia seeds, and a natural sweetener, like honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar.
You can also adapt the fruit as you like; why not add strawberries or blueberries for more texture, colour, and antioxidants?
To make raspberry and chia jam, try this recipe by Gordon Ramsey.
4. Mango chutney
If you love Indian food, there’s a good chance you also love mango chutney…
Sweet, sticky, fresh, and vibrant, mango chutney is bursting with flavour, and it’s a wonderful accompaniment for curries or rice dishes – or when used as a dip for poppadoms. Plus, if you have a friend who loves Indian food, it makes a beautiful and thoughtful gift.
Homemade mango chutney always tastes better than shop-bought, and another perk of making your own is that you can adjust the heat to your desired spice level.
It’s best to choose mangoes that are ripe but still firm – these should have a deep orange or red colour and a delicious, sweet fragrance. You might also need to buy a few special ingredients, like nigella seeds, but we think it’s definitely worth it.
To make your own mango chutney, try this recipe by Daring Gourmet.
5. Courgette chutney
If you grow your own veg, you’ll know that once courgettes are in season, you’re likely to end up with too many.
One of the best ways to use up extra courgettes is to make this courgette and tomato chutney. Packed with the fresh Mediterranean flavours of tomato, red pepper, rosemary, and thyme, this savoury chutney is easily adaptable – and if you like spicy flavours, a dash of chilli gives it a satisfying kick.
To add a salty tang, add some chopped olives or capers. Give the chutney three to four weeks to mature, then eat with crusty bread, or add to sandwiches, wraps, burgers, or cheese boards.
To make courgette chutney, try this recipe from The Veg Space.
6. Gooseberry and elderflower jam
Summer might seem a long way off. But if you make this next jam, you’ll be able to enjoy the fresh taste of the warm summer months even in the depths of winter.
The zingy, tart taste of gooseberries complements the delicate, fragrant flavour of elderflower. And by happy accident, by the time British gooseberries are ready for picking, elderflower trees are in full bloom.
You might have to wait a couple of months before making this jam, but its light, sweet taste is worth it. It’s like summer in a jar.
By May, gooseberries are ripe for picking, and for best results, they should be green and hard. Elderflowers and gooseberries can be foraged, so why not spend a sunny May day picking your ingredients and making your jam? You can always ‘cheat’ and use elderflower cordial if you can’t find any flowers near you.
To make gooseberry and elderflower jam, try this recipe by Jamie Oliver.
7. Chilli jam
If you like food that has a kick, then why not make some chilli jam?
The beauty of chilli jam is that it’s endlessly adaptable. You tweak the spice level, vary the heat from a subtle warmth to a fiery furnace, and add all kinds of other ingredients – from garlic and ginger to tomatoes and courgettes. Or why not keep it simple, and use only chillies, sugar, vinegar, and pectin?
Whichever chilli jam recipe takes your fancy, this preserve is the ultimate way to jazz up a mild dish. Chilli jam can spice up a bland egg breakfast, add a tangy kick to a sausage sandwich, and give depth and flavour to curries and stir-fries. It’s also delicious with soft goat’s cheese.
The secret to a good chilli jam is just to make sure you don’t overcook it and taste it as you go along.
To make chilli jam, try this recipe by Nigella Lawson.
8. Fig and earl grey jam
If you’re looking to make a sweet yet sophisticated jam, then fig and earl grey jam might be for you.
The sweet taste and sticky, soft-yet-crunchy texture of figs goes beautifully with the subtle bergamot scent of earl grey tea. This jam tastes amazing and making it will flood your home with lovely, perfumed aromas.
While you can make this jam all year round, it’s best when you use British figs, as these have a more delicate flavour when compared to European figs. British figs are ripe in September and October, so if you see any seasonal produce, be sure to stock up to make some jam.
You can use earl grey tea bags or tea leaves – and if you want extra fragrance, look out for the varieties that contain lavender too.
To make fig and earl grey jam, try this recipe by The Guardian.
9. Tomato chutney
If you’ve never made chutney before, one of the easiest recipes to start off with is tomato chutney.
Tomato chutney is quick to make and incredibly versatile. It’s excellent as a more flavoursome variant of ketchup – dolloped on sausages and burgers, spread onto sandwiches, and used as a condiment for a BBQ. It also goes well with cheese, cold cuts, and samosas.
You can use just about any type of tomato too. If you grow your own tomatoes and end up with lots of green fruit, then it’s worth holding on to them. Green tomatoes are great in chutney – but equally, ripe red tomatoes are tasty too. Unripe tomatoes need to be cooked for longer, and throwing some ripe tomatoes into the mix means you’ll get an exciting variety of colours and textures.
10. Chocolate and raspberry jam
If you love luxurious dark chocolate just as much as you love fruity jam, then this next recipe is for you.
This chocolate and plum jam is rich, decadent, and incredibly delicious. It’s the perfect personalised gift for a chocoholic – just be sure to make extra, because once you’ve tasted this mouthwatering thick spread, you won’t want to give it away!
The tart sweetness of plum goes beautifully with the bitterness of dark chocolate, satisfying your jam and chocolate cravings in one go. While this recipe isn’t difficult to make, it does take a little patience because it needs to stand overnight.
But, once ready, you can spread it on croissants, sourdough, or toasted brioche – or use it in a cake. It’s truly heavenly.
To make chocolate and plum jam, try this recipe by Cocoa & Heart.
11. Orange and thyme jam
If you’re a fan of marmalade, why not make an orange-based jam?
While marmalade uses bitter Seville oranges, and contains the peel as well as the fruit, orange jam uses sweet oranges and skips the rind. As a result, this jam is sweet yet still refreshingly light – and the aromatic, minty taste of the thyme brings out the citrus flavour, which is irresistible when eaten on toast, waffles, or pancakes.
Though it sounds pretty fancy, this is a simple recipe that can be made in one pot – and more good news is that it’s easy to experiment with different flavours. If you don’t fancy the idea of an orange jam, you can swap the oranges for apricots, peaches, or even strawberries. Not a fan of thyme? Simply swap for rosemary.
To make orange and thyme jam, try this recipe by Minimalist Baker.
Making jams and chutneys is a great way to use up fresh produce and become more mindful about what you’re eating. It can help you cut down on unnecessary extras in your food, like added sugar – and homemade creations often taste much better too!
If you’ve never made jam or chutney before, it’s probably easier than you think. It just requires a bit of patience – whether that involves peeling your fruit or veg or allowing your preserves to reach the perfect consistency.
And once you’ve made a big batch of jam or chutney, they make wonderful, personal gifts. Homemade chutneys and jams last for a least a year if jarred correctly – so making a batch today can even mean you get a headstart on this year’s Christmas shopping.
For more homemade cooking ideas, check out the food and drink section of our website.