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Homemade jam conjures up a very specific Friends episode. In “The One With the Jam,” Monica prances around making various jellies as a sort of breakup therapy—and her choice of comfort food is spot-on. There’s something about jam that makes it feel like a tiny luxury. Perhaps because it brings up memories of summertime and the era when you actually had time to leisurely eat your toast, instead of cramming a granola bar in your bag and calling it breakfast. See? Treating yourself is as simple as indulging in some homemade jam.

We have the perfect expert to guide you on this culinary quest. The Mill, a San Francisco café, is famous for its fancy toasts. Think: cinnamon sugar–crusted country bread and, of course, seasonal jam, typically slathered on thick slices of molasses brown bread with sea salt and butter. So naturally we tapped the restaurant’s CTO (chief toast officer), Teal Reedy, for jam-making insight. (You won’t be alone in this endeavor: Pinterest searches for the condiment have spiked 829 percent from last year.) 

Keep reading for Reedy’s go-to apple jam recipe—and the restaurant’s favorite store-bought jellies to snap up. 

Photo by Aaron Bengochea

The Mill’s Apple Jam Recipe

Recipe yields 3 to 4 quarts

Shopping List:

  • 5 lbs whole apples
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste (start with 2 tsp)
  • 3 to 4 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 lbs skinned, seeded, and diced apples


  1. Wash and quarter the 5 pounds of whole apples, leaving the seeds in and the skin on. Place in a medium stockpot. Set aside.
  2. Toss together the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice; set aside.
  3. Add water, vinegar, and salt to the stockpot, and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook apples until they’re soft and falling apart, which should take about 45 minutes. 
  4. Ladle apples and liquid through a food mill to make a puree and easily remove the seeds and skin in the process (which you should then discard). 
  5. Return apple puree to stockpot, add in lemon juice and sugar-spice mixture. Add in the 2 pounds of skinned, seeded, and diced apples, and season with salt to taste. 
  6. Reduce for about an hour on medium-low heat, stirring often to avoid burning on the bottom. Pull off the heat when desired thickness is reached; cool completely and serve. 

Reedy’s Favorite Store-Bought Jams

Photo by Aaron Bengochea

Mountain Fruit Company

“When we aren’t making our own jam, we source it from here,” says Reedy. “Allyn and Joyce Johnston run this small jamming company out of Chico, California; we love their simple ingredients, low sugar, and tart flavors.” Go for the strawberry rhubarb, and spoon generous amounts onto your oatmeal or yogurt to make mornings a bit sweeter. 

Photo by Aaron Bengochea

Bonne Maman Jam

You can’t go wrong with this French classic, whose gingham-lidded jar definitely deserves to grace your brunch table. Just think of all the otherwise-orphaned croissants! “The blackberry jam is the best, and its marmalades are great, too,” Reedy recommends. Add a dollop to baked Brie for an easy appetizer. 

See more recipes: 10 Stone Fruit Recipes That’ll Make You Run (Not Walk) to the Farmers’ Market 13 Vegetarian Barbecue Recipes That Even Your Meat-Eating Friends Will Love 11 Healthy One-Pot Lunch Ideas You’ll Want for the Week Ahead