Dude, That’s My Jam: A Review of Four Fancy Jams

Four different types of fancy jams!

Athena ScalziHere at the Scalzi Compound, we are big believers in jam. My mom and I just made homemade peach jam two nights ago, and my dad is a frequent buyer of “Frog Jam” at a local place, and it’s a general rule we don’t buy cheap jam in this household. Maybe it’s a little bougie, but we just really believe jam is one of those things worth paying a little more for, if and when you’re able.

So when I got an advertisement for Brin’s Jam & Marmalade and perused their website, I knew I had to get some. The advertisement (which I’m not entirely sure why I got in the first place…) was for banana jam, something I’ve never heard of, or even imagined was possible, which made me curious enough to click on their site. Other than their banana jam, I was also captivated by their cherry chai jam. If there’s one thing I love, it’s chai; so the idea of it being encapsulated in a jam form was definitely intriguing.

I consulted with my father about buying the jams and we decided to do a piece over it! So we bought the banana, cherry chai, strawberry lemongrass, and lemon saffron. We were originally only going to do the first three, but we decided we might as well get a fourth so we could get free shipping.

So I bought some fresh French country bread as well as sourdough from a local bakery that I used to work at, and my mom toasted some slices in a pan with butter, and we each tried the four jams. So without further ado, here’s our reviews of each of the jams!

Jams and breads, ready to be consumed.

Since the banana jam is what originally caught my attention, we’ll start with the reviews of that one. My dad said it tasted like bananas and honey, while my mom said it really just tasted like banana puree, and both of them liked it, my dad gave it a 7.5/10, while my mom settled on 6/10. Meanwhile, I absolutely loved it, it tastes like sweet banana bread. I could honestly eat it with a spoon, I thought it was so good that I gave it a 10/10. It exceeded my expectations. We all agreed it would be great on a peanut butter, banana, honey sandwich. It almost had an applesauce-like texture, definitely a more runny jam, but that makes it super duper easy to spread! Overall, the combined family score is 8/10.

Next up was the cherry chai! Upon opening it, it smelled like a candle, and you could almost mistake it for a jar of maraschino cherries with how chunky it is. In contrast to the smooth banana jam, the cherry chai was so packed full of cherry halves and pieces that you could pick out a whole cherry from it. While my mom was a big fan of the chunkiness, my dad said he would’ve liked a smoother consistency (however, when you spread it on bread, it does smooth out a bit).

The consensus on this one was also positive! My dad said it made him think of when you’re a kid and you smell a candle, and then you end up tasting the wax, this is what every kid wishes the wax had actually tasted like, instead of, well, wax. My mom said it tasted way better than she thought it would. Originally, she was skeptical of it and was pretty sure she wouldn’t enjoy it, but she ended up giving it an 8/10, while my dad gave it a 7.5/10 as well. As for me, I thought it was really pleasant, it tasted a little tart, but also tasted like a coffeehouse, soft aromatic spices and warmth underneath the fruitiness. It was an 8.5/10 for me, making the family score another 8/10.

Third on the list is the strawberry lemongrass. Unlike the previous two, this one was not quite as hard a hitter. It kind of smells like strawberry jam, but if the jam had body odor, which my dad said was an exactly correct description. As for taste, it was completely ordinary in my opinion, I didn’t even really taste any lemongrass, though my dad claims it was too lemongrassy (though he mentioned the aftertaste is better), and my mom agrees it’s really just a weak strawberry jam. My dad said that if we had no other jam in the house, he would use it for a sandwich, but it’s not great. My dad gave it a 5.5/10, while my mom only gave it a 5/10, and I gave it a 6/10, making the total family score a whopping 5.5/10.

And last (and certainly least, in my opinion) is the lemon saffron. To me, it smelled like paint thinner, while my dad said it was more of a household cleaner scent. When we ate it, I couldn’t help but make a face, it was awful. I almost couldn’t take another bite, it was so disgusting. Meanwhile, my parents said it would be good if we had it on something other than buttered bread, like it would go well on a charcuterie board with prosciutto or some kind of cheese, but I don’t think I’d like it even then.

My parents gave it a low score, my dad with a 5/10 and my mom with a 3/10, but said that its potential score — were it to be paired with the correct ingredients — would be a 7/10, or in my mom’s case, a 7.5. However, I give it a flat 2/10. It is consumable, but just barely, and I certainly will not partake again. The family score on this is inconclusive, due to the potential high scores it could have.

Overall, the jams were good! I’m sure some of Brin’s other flavors are enjoyable, as well, but I’m glad we got the ones we got. If you want to try one or two of them but aren’t ready to commit, they do offer five dollar mini versions, whereas the full size ones are ten. I definitely recommend the banana jam and the cherry chai (but especially the banana).

I’m off for the rest of the weekend. Have a great day!

-AMS

29 Comments on “Dude, That’s My Jam: A Review of Four Fancy Jams”

  1. Oh boy, if you like chai, let me tell you about Big Spoon Roasters from Durham, NC – they have a quite delicious chai peanut butter that is one of my favorite things. Double chai PBJ sounds like a pretty great idea.

  2. The cherry chai jam intrigued me from the picture, the review of it furthers my desire to buy some and try it

    Thank you

  3. This is my kind of article! My mother is Canadian and raised us on good bitter Orange marmalade. Not that sweet stuff, as she used to say. I also am a big fan of Ginger preserves on everything; with ricotta on waffles, for example. But I have never tried a truly artisanal jam, so thanks for the recommendations.

  4. Thanks for sharing! It’s fun to get this peek behind the scenes into Scalzi domesticity, and to “see” y’all having fun together. Happy Weekend!

  5. Thanks for posting this! I’m disappointed that the lemon saffron didn’t work out, I really like sweet lemon things but it doesn’t look like this would be something I would like. The cherry chai definitely is something I would try, though.

  6. What a fun post, and I love the scoring & descriptions. More, please! (Doesn’t have to be food, mind you — but the Scalzi Family Judging is important!)

  7. I prefer a little tartness; the cherry chai sounds lovely. I once got a jar of ginger marmalade at our Farmers’ Market, also blood orange strawberry marmalade, both fabulous. I really miss being able to taste stuff at the Market! I’ve actually made banana jam, it’s an easy recipe, and the advantage to home-made is that you can play with taste combinations.

  8. A fun article! I hope your peach jam turned out well.

    My family loves to make jam- however, we get over the ‘too hot to make jam’ time by filling the freezer with ripe fruit in Summer, and start the jam-minating around Thanksgiving.

  9. A very interesting post. I love the rating system and descriptions. I don’t think I would like any of those except maybe the Cherry Chai.

    We buy a commercial brand called Hero. More pricey than the ordinary jams and jellies, but 5 times the flavor and bits of spreadable fruit. Fun to eat. Great for PB&J. It is what I would make if I were to make jams.

  10. The Cherry Chai sounds amazing. I’m not allowed to make any more jam right now until we eat through more of our supplies, but I’ll have to remember that flavour combo.

  11. I would like to add my two favorite jams.
    Lychee from Steve’s Akaka Falls Farm in Hawaii. Haunting, delicate floral flavor. Like nothing else. I order six at a time ( have to search for website, it’s been under revision but there are still active links). They also have many other tropical flavors and honey.
    Roses Lime marmalade. Very hard to find, from the people that make Roses Lime juice (gimlet juice). Sharp true Lime flavor great on anything.

  12. I loves me some good jams or preserves! Reading this made my mouth water for some, I’ll have to see what’s in the fridge. Oooooh, blackberry!!! My diet doesn’t allow for indulging too often, but Ima go sneak some right now!

  13. Roberta! Where do your source your ginger marmalade??? Ever since James Keiller & Son (st. 1797) dropped off the map, I haven’t been able to find ginger marmalade anywhere, by anybody, in stores or online (USA/Upper Midwest). A few years ago I did score a six-pack from Walmart but no more, and I’m down to one jar *sobs* I suspect I am going to have to learn to make my own…

  14. You might like Wee Bee Jammin from here in Michigan. We like their Apple Peaches Pumpkin Pie jam, and your Dad might like some of their “Toe Jam” to go with his Frog Jam!

  15. Based on the labels, without taste, banana would be the last that I would touch as I absolutely hate bananas. The smell is just appalling to me. I’m bummed that the lemongrass was so bad, I had high hopes for that one. Oh well. But I like your review strategy and score averaging, well done.

    My fav jam was one from a California company that I used to be able to get at World Market, it was a caramelized onion jam. Man, I loved that stuff! Sadly, as many food things do that I love, it vanished and I’ve yet to find its like. That’s one of the costs of living in an extremely remote area.

  16. I’ve made jellies or jams a couple of times – my wife had liked a pear jelly from the store, but it was hard to find and usually out of stock, so I made some from pear juice, pectin, and sugar, and sometimes a bit of cinnamon. Easy, and pretty good. I later made a batch with some cooked pear in it, somewhere in between jam and jelly.
    Only tried strawberry jam once; the berries were a bit old and the jam was too sweet even though I used less sugar than the recipe called for, and the vanilla may not have been a good idea, but it’s still strawberry jam.
    I forget whether I’ve made a jalapeno jelly myself or only bought it; would have been a long time ago.

  17. I went to look at the site and my first reaction was “why would you waste time with cherry or banana when they have chili pepper and rosemary grapefruit?” which tells me that we have wildly different taste in jams. And then I closed the tab lest I be tempted by an unwise expenditure. Thank you for the reviews!

  18. Please do tell us a little about the “Frog Jam” too. Or at least link to a post where JS has written about it previously. :)

  19. Thanks for this. I’m a big cheesecake and turnover maker and could do some interesting things with some of these.

  20. I wonder: Would the Pledge jam have tasted better if you hadn’t had three very sweet jams first? It seems like you’d be better off tasting the sourest jams first. You might try the lemon jam with a clean palate just to see if it’s not so bad by itself.

  21. Google tells me “Frog Jam” is Fig, Raspberry, Orange, Ginger. That sounds like it could either be wonderful, or the flavours could be muddled and clash. My brain can’t figure out what it’d be like other than a slight burn of ginger.

    A ‘different’ jam I only learned about when I discovered Malaysian food is called Kaya – it’s a Coconut Jam. They put it on hot toast, or in the middle of a Roti.

    If I ever go to a Malaysian place and they have Roti Kaya – well, I know what I’m having for desert.