Monday, December 13, 2010

A Tradition of Celtic Jams

The Irish and Scottish people that settled the Ozarks area of Missouri and Arkansas have had a long history of making some of the world's best jams and jellies. In fact, that tradition continues into modern times in the Ozarks. So, let's take a trip down Ozarks Jam and Jellies Lane.

The traditions of Celtic Jam makers can be seen with the love the Ozarks have for blueberry, blackberry (also called Braeberry), and strawberry jam. You can also see the influence with local berries like gooseberry and elderberry. Orange Marmelade and Lemon Curd are also popular Celtic jams to be found in the Ozarks.

The process typically makes use of real fruits that are picked and then made into jams or jellies right away. It is possible, though, to make jams or jellies from frozen fruit. Pectin is used to make the product thicker, and real sugar is used to sweeten the product. High fructose corn syrup varieties just don't taste as good, and many people are now avoiding the long term effects of fructose.

Besides making the product taste good, the sugary environment also helps to preserve the product over time. The environment is not condusive to bacteria, mold, etc. You may often still see old Ozarkians just scrap the mold off the top of old jams and jellies and eat them. It may look grose, but it probably will not be a health issue. Any product sold in the state of Missouri or Arkansas should have an expiration date to be safe, though. Unopened jams and jellies last a long time. That is part of the reason our Celtic ancestors made the items: they lasted a long time, and provided a nice bit of carbohydrate to a meal.

In modern times, people in Missouri and Arkansas just like the taste of home made jams and jellies that are made in the Ozarks. If you do not live in the Ozarks, take a moment and order some. You'll enjoy the fine Irish and Scottish jams and jellies of the Ozarks.

Ray Province
The Celtic Ozarkian

Ray Province is an IT Programmer by trade, and owener of and co-owner of . He frequently writes about Irish and Scottish history in the Ozarks. You can reach him at or @celticozarkian on Twitter.

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