How to Turn Leftover Wine into Jam—Really!
One of the best tools in my kit for avoiding food waste is to make jam. Small batches of jam save me from throwing away a lot of fruit that is a bit past its prime, and I love how even a single piece of fruit will make a lovely small jar of confiture to slather on toast or serve with cheese. Just fruit and sugar and you can make magic.
But what about… wine?
Think about it: Another fabulous fruit-based product is wine. And if you have ever ended a dinner with some wine left in the bottle or discovered your bubbly has gone flat despite its special fizz saver lid, you know how sad it is to waste that juice. Sure, you can add it to sauces and stews and salad dressings, but trust me, jam is more fun.
How to make jam with leftover wine
My current favorite way to use both fruit and wine is to make wine-infused fruit jams. This ratio-based recipe is endlessly adaptable. You can literally use any wine with any fruit, but a good place to start is to pair red wines with red fruits, white wines with pale fruits, and use rosé and sparkling as switch-hitters.
You only need four ingredients to make wine and fruit jam: wine, fruit, sugar, and pectin. The pectin is optional, but helpful if you like your jam to set up a bit instead of being kind of slumpy. You can add lemon juice or zest if your fruit is super sweet -- I usually only add it if I have a lemon that is getting sad.
Your initial ratio is easy:
1 part wine
2 parts sugar
2 parts fruit by volume
So, for every two cups of fruit, you need two cups of sugar and one cup of wine. If you are going to use pectin, use ½ ounce per two cups of fruit.
Here's all you do:
1. Wash your fruit, and prep if needed by peeling or chopping and measure how much you have (or shoot for 2 cups as per my example). Use your volume of fruit to work out how much sugar and wine you need.
2. Mix sugar and wine in a heavy bottomed pot, add lemon juice or zest if you choose, or any spices you might want (a pinch of cardamom, mace, or even white pepper can be great additions) and bring to a boil over medium heat.
3. Reduce the liquid by half, then add your fruit. Cook until the fruit begins to get tender, or berries burst -- about 5-6 minutes --then add the pectin if you are using it and cook until thick and syrupy. (If you are making a big batch this can take up to 30 minutes; it will go faster for smaller batches, so keep an eye on it and stir frequently.)
4. Once cooked, transfer to clean jars and either process to preserve them for pantry storage, or just let cool to room temp and store in the fridge.
This jam is terrific on a cheese or charcuterie platter, or in a crostata, but not so wine-forward you can't eat it at breakfast. Cheers!