Cultivating an environment of creativity for my kids can be challenging at times.  Especially when it comes to cooking.  I have certain ways of doing things and when my  kids want to help, I need to remind myself they have their own ways of expressing their creative sides which may not be like mine.

Both of my daughters are old enough to be very capable of cooking on their own with minimal supervision.  Every once in awhile they will come up with their own recipe, which I may not give enough thought to.  For instance, Mimi loves to make jam.  But not just any jam – hodgepodge jam.

The reason I call it hodgepodge jam is because she loves to make different varieties of jam every single time. Her desire to make every batch unique is what makes it fun for her.  What she likes to do is use whatever fresh or frozen berries we have on hand.  As long as the fruit equals 2 cups, she is free to develop her own ratio of various fruits.  One time while making strawberry jam she asked if we could add a kiwi to it.  I initially thought it was an odd request.  After all, who makes kiwi jam?  But when I was able to get beyond my knee jerk  reaction I thought it was quite brilliant of her to come up with a unique twist, which I knew wouldn’t hurt the jam one bit and actually tasted quite good.

At another time Mimi insisted on adding one frozen blueberry to a batch of strawberry jam.  She thought it was so much fun to just add one so I let her.

The point of this post is to encourage you to think outside the box and let your children develop their own culinary point of view even if it is different from yours.  Who knows, your child could be the next J.M. Smuckers.

Recipe: Hodgepodge Berry Jam

Encourage creativity in the kitchen by allowing your kids to choose the berry or fruit mixture.


    • 2 cups berries (any mixture of berries)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


    • In a medium pan, cook the berries, sugar, and lemon juice on medium heat for approximately 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The jam is ready when the consistency of the jam is like a thick maple syrup or the temperature reaches 220 degrees F.

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7 Responses to “How to Make Jam”

  1. Aviva Goldfarb Aviva Goldfarb

    We’ve never made jam–I didn’t realize it’s so easy! Can’t wait to try it with Solomon and Celia.

  2. Joy

    Looks like a lot of fun! Will definitely be trying this with our little guys!

  3. Anne

    We have a breadmaker that has a jam function. Just throw in ingredients and it cooks & stirs! Am inspired to let others create using this recipe.

  4. Holly

    Looking for a sugar alternative for our family when making jam or preserves… Any ideas? My son can’t do refined sugar. I usually just do stewed fruit but jam would be nice.

  5. alice

    Hi Holly,
    I have not made jam without white sugar but I would assume agave syrup would also work, although I don’t know the ratio of syrup to fruit.

  6. Amee

    Alice, I love this recipe! We loved it so much that I made it and blogged it. 🙂 Yum! Question…how long will it keep in the fridge?? Do you can it in mason jars and keep in the pantry, too or just eat it right away? I am only used to making the pectin jam, but this is so much easier!!