Jammed with Love is on a mission to make you rethink your relationship with jam. Founder Christine Allison herself didn’t realize just how versatile the condiment could be until she started experimenting in her kitchen, six years ago. Forget simply using the spread on your toast and scones – Allison recommends trying her jams in everything from cocktails to popsicles to dressings. It’s this creativity that put Jammed with Love on the map. You won’t find simple flavors like strawberry, raspberry and blueberry here. Instead, look for unique combinations like peach habanero, piña colada, and carrot cake.
To dig a little deeper into the magic behind the mason jar, we chatted with Christine Allison to discover what makes her tick, how she envisions her flavor creations, and what the future of her Plympton, Massachusetts company holds.
What inspired you to start making jam?
I actually made our Apple Pie Jam as my wedding favors and they were such a big hit. After my wedding, my husband told me “just sell jam.” After a lot of research, I decided to quit my job and start a business.
You have some really unique jam flavors – banana split, piña colada, Boston bar fight– how did you come up with these combinations?
Some of my flavors are family recipes, some are my own creations and some are suggestions from customers. There’s really no way of knowing if any flavor combinations would translate into jam; it takes a lot of trial and error in the kitchen to get it just right. I tell people to be creative with it, use it as a condiment. You could do anything from adding it to yogurt or oatmeal to turning it into a glaze or sauces for meats. My personal favorite is adding some in a smoothie, or making flavored drinks with them.
What’s your best seller?
Boston Bar Fight. It has blueberries, blackberries, jalapeño, vinegar and Jack Daniel Honey Whiskey. The taste is a really bold berry flavor with just a kick of heat at the end. Perfect for the charcuterie boards.
How do you come up with new flavors?
Trial and error. It takes days, sometimes weeks to come up with new flavors. It’s all about getting the ratios of the ingredients just right, and having the right ingredients. I’ll take one fruit and think of what would pair with it and just start testing, and then I start bringing jars to my parents, in-laws, whoever will try it to get opinions. There’s been quite a few flavors that didn’t make it; one of them was a vanilla cantaloupe.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
I grow some ingredients and also source from local farms whenever possible and in season.
Apart from the unique flavors, what do you think makes your jams stand out from the rest?
I use a low/no sugar pectin, so I only put in enough sugar to get them to set. If you lower the sugar and cook it right, you’re able to taste all the different flavors and the texture is very smooth, not grainy or super sweet like some jams.
How do you envision the future of Jammed with Love?
I would love to expand to other items. Different canned fruits, and sauces would be fun to experiment with.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Coming up with new products and flavors [is the most difficult]. Testing new jams is frustrating and time consuming, but such a big success when I can make it work.
How about the most fun?
I absolutely love it when I go to farmers markets and get to talk to people and teach them all the different ways you can use jam. There’s nothing better than when someone samples my jam and I can see on their faces how much they like it. And you can tell they are thinking about how they are going to use it, so then we bounce ideas off each other. A week later they come back and tell me. I’m truly honored that something I have created has made it into the homes of so many people. Hearing their stories about how much they love it, or give them as gifts, makes all the hard work worth it.
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