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Haste Makes Taste: Nine Fast, Flavorful Uses for Home-Canned Goods

The spoils of summer are still ripe for the picking.

Editor-at-large Sarah Carey loves a smart kitchen solution. And there's not much smarter than keeping an off-season stash of peak-season produce on hand. “I make tons of jam when berries are in season,” she says. “I find that it keeps a fresher, more vibrant flavor in the freezer -- just don't overfill your jars, or they'll explode.”

Sarah’s penchant for preservation extends to the savory. “Tomato season comes too fast, and it’s over too soon,” she ruefully explains. “So I do those, too.” Pickles, another fast-flavor favorite, are more seasonally adaptable -- but a ready-made jar can elevate staples and brighten heavy winter fare in seconds.

We got Sarah’s take on these rapid-flavor additions. If these recipes taste like they took all year, well, that’s because they did.

Three Ways to Jam

  • Loin in. “I love using jam to glaze a pork roast. Reduce it a bit so it thickens, then brush on for the last 15 minutes of cooking.”
  • Flip out. “We make cream cheese and jam omelets. It’s kind of like a cheese blintz -- my Jewish upbringing coming out.”
  • Stack up. You can’t go wrong with cheese and crackers, but you can go extra-right. “I’m a cheddar addict, so I eat cheddar with everything,” Sarah says. “But if you haven’t tried it with raspberry jam, you must.” Other favorites are blackberry jam with goat cheese and apricot jam with aged gouda.

Three Ways to-Mato

  • Turn up. “High heat gives whole tomatoes rich flavor and velvety texture. Roasted, they make a fantastic side.”
  • Bleed red. “Drink them down the way nature intended -- in a Bloody Mary base.”
  • Get saucy. “Sauces and soups are a no-brainer, but the flavor is really incomparable to anything you’ll find in the canned-goods aisle.” Next year, plan accordingly.

Three Ways to Pickle

  • Set a-braise. “There’s a reason we eat pickles on cheesesteaks and Cubans -- for a bright, balanced breath of fresh air!” she says. “Bring the same strategy to the dinner table. Try a relish tray with your roast.”
  • Work the rim. Give the aforementioned summer-tomato Bloody Mary a pickle garnish. “Switch up your savory cocktail routine," Sarah says. "Anywhere you’d use an olive, put a pickle. They're great in a Gibson or martini, too.”
  • Use vege-might. “I love adding pickled elements to salads,” Sarah says. “Use them straight from the jar, or make a 'quickle' -- a quick vinegar bath removes the bite of raw onions and radishes but keeps their beloved crunch.”

For more on "quickling," see our guide to winter pickling -- and for more ways to uncan your appetite, see our full list of creative recipes for pickles and jam.

Comments (1)

  • 18 Feb, 2014

    I just HAVE to tell you, Sarah....you are a fantastic cook. Everything I have tried from you
    has proved to be a "keeper" recipe and I wanted to send you a huge 'THANK YOU'. (You are
    almost as good as I was in my prime!!!) Love you, JC Allen