When I was a kid, the word “jam” meant Welch’s Grape Jelly. That was what my mother kept in our house, and it’s the only kind of fruit spread that I remember ever eating. It came in Flintstones jars, and each jar featured a different Flintstones character. After the jelly was used up, you could use the jars as juice glasses. We had several sets of those Flintstones glasses. The Flintstones were hot, hot, hot when I was little, so this was a great marketing strategy . While it was an animated series, it was one of those cartoons designed to appeal to adults as much as children Even my parents loved to tune in. So, who wouldn’t be thrilled to have their very own set of Flintstones jelly jars/juice glasses? Yabba Dabba Do!
It wasn’t until we moved to Florida that I realized that there was a whole world of jams, jellies and preserves out there. You see, the supermarkets down here didn’t carry Welch’s grape jelly in those days. They only had “exotic” sounding brands like Smuckers and Bama. And, while there were all sorts of flavors available, grape was hard to find. So my mother adapted. And as a result, my spreadable fruit horizons were broadened to include strawberry, raspberry, apricot and peach.
By the time I got to college, I thought I was pretty jam savvy. That is, until my friend Lauri introduced me to tomato jam. Tomato jam? I had never heard of such a thing! In my little Italian mind, tomatoes were for sauces and salads – certainly not jam. But then I tried some, and I fell in love. It was lush and sweet, but not too much so. The tomato flavor was subtle, with slightly grassy undertones. Although I wouldn’t have served it on a peanut butter sandwich, it was divine paired with cream cheese and spread on crackers. read more >>