We taste-tested dozens of jams, jellies and preserves from the grocery store and online to find our favorites.

By Rachael Ray Every Day
November 01, 2005

Overall Favorite

meat and frites

Hurley Farms Apricot JamThe best-tasting jam we sampled came from Sheri Hurley, who decided seven years ago to make preserves with the fruit that fell from the trees on her five-acre property in Napa Valley, California. Today, the family-run company makes 10 different jams; Hurley's dad maintains the orchard, and her 16-year-old daughter helps out in the kitchen. Panelists liked the apricot jam's sweet characteristics -- sorbet and dried apricots came to mind. ($4.75 for a 6-ounce jar, hurleyfarms.com, 707-257-3683)

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Best Pepper Jelley


The Ole Homestead Five Peppers Pepper JellyOur favorite pepper jelly is a blend of green bell peppers, green chile peppers, jalapeños, serranos and habaneros. We liked the balance of sweet, salty and spicy. ($4.50 for a 12-ounce jar, olehomestead.com)

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Zabar's Strawberry Natural Fruit SpreadCooks at Zabar's, a New York City gourmet grocery, spent years perfecting their formula, and they got it right. Our tasters liked the tartness and the "burst of strawberry flavor." ($6 for a 9.7-ounce jar, zabars.com)

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Trappist Blueberry PreserveAt St. Joseph's Abbey in Massachusetts, more than 70 monks make 26 kinds of preserves, including this divine blueberry one. We loved that it was packed with real blueberries. ($4.50 for a 12-ounce jar, monasterygreetings.com)

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lure burger

Jill's Jams & JelliesDandelion Jelly Most people kill dandelions; Steve and Jill Phillips turn them into jelly. The couple sells 160 spreads; this one tastes, as one tester said, "like flowers dipped in orange." ($4.50 for an 8-ounce jar, jillsjam.com)

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Ham with mixed veggie rice

Welch's Sweet Orange MarmaladeWelch's orange marmalade, made from bits of California orange peel, wowed our tasters. We noted that it tasted slightly chewy and was the most "orangey" of the bunch. ($3 for a 16-ounce jar, welchs.com)

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Stonewall Kitchen's Roasted Garlic & Onion JamThe flavor might sound a bit odd, but it works. Panelists loved the "sweet-tart combo" of sweet onions, roasted garlic and balsamic vinegar. ($7.50 for a 13-ounce jar, stonewallkitchen.com)

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Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in August 2006.