September 22nd I was honored to be a judge at the seventh Bloomsbury Jam-Off in historic Camden, SC held at the Bloomsbury Inn. I was accompanied by two judges, and we worked gingerly to narrow the twenty-one entries down to our top five choices, paying attention to color, texture and taste. We then led into discussion by tallying up our scores and determining our top three winners. With over twenty tasty and creative samples to try it was quite challenging to find the best three over-all. There was also an award for the most unique entry.
The winning jams were:
1st Place: Lemon Lavender
2nd Place: Peach Brandy
3rd Place: Pear Ginger
Most Unique: Rośe Pepper
The top three entries were awarded a Jam-Off certificate and prize. Jams and jellies are fun to make and allows one to have a sweet treat with meats, mixed drinks, or traditionally with bread or crackers. I must say that every entry was very tasty. Do not be misled by the competition name, acceptable submissions for the Bloomsbury Jam-Off included; jams, jellies, preserves, sauces, and spreads in a pint jar or smaller.
Ever wondered what’s the difference between jams and jellies? Jams are thick spreads with crushed or chopped fruits while jellies are clear or translucent yet firm. A great resource to learn more about the difference between the two is the HGIC Factsheet 3180 “The Basics of Jelly Making”.
After judging this competition my “To-Do” list has two more bullets, to make the Lemon Lavender and the Pear Ginger jellies. Both entries were refreshing and sparked great flavor sensations. So when time permits, be sure to visit HGIC Factsheet 3200 “Jelly & Jam Recipes” to begin practicing for next year’s competition. You do not want to miss it!