Any Berry Jam and Oatmeal Bars

It is one thing to put up jars of jam and jelly when the strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and other fruits are in season; it is lots of fun to give them as gifts, and receive them, too. But really, how much toast can you eat with jam on it?

At the end of any growing season I could easily have up to three or four dozen little jars of preserves. And I am always on the look-out for recipes using jam or jelly as an ingredient. It takes attention and determination to work through the collection so that I don’t end up like my mother with a jar of thirty-year old preserve still on the cellar storage shelf. (I kid you not: a jar of grape conserve still there after all those years.)

A while back–actually, quite a long while–we had here in this column a delicious little pecan and jam bar that I learned from my dear neighbor Pat Hopkins. This recipe is similar; instead of pecans mixed with flour, brown sugar, and butter, the recipe calls for oatmeal. You might at first think you are making a fruit crumble or crisp, except you end up packing half of the oatmeal mixture into a greased pan, spreading it with a lot–one and a half cups–of Anyberry jam, and sprinkling the remainder of the oatmeal mixture over the top. Actually, I suspect the recipe could absorb up to two cups of jam. If you want to, be generous.

And I made that up about Anyberry. I don’t have an Anyberry bush, but when I reach into the recesses of the kitchen cupboard, believe me, any berry jam at all might come out.  The recipe originally called for raspberry. I used strawberry but I eyed a large jar of marmalade before I chose the strawberry.

Cut these bars small if you want to serve them as you would cookies or brownies. They also work as a dessert if cut into larger pieces and topped with ice cream or whipped cream.

I wish I could remember who gave me the recipe. At any event, it has the word, “Excellent” written across the top. And they are.

Any Berry Jam and Oatmeal Bars
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar,
  • 1 ½ sticks of butter, melted
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups fruit jam
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease an eight to nine-inch pan.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, optional cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Add the oatmeal and toss together.
  5. Add the melted butter and mix all until the ingredients looks crumbly.
  6. Tightly pack half of the crumb mixture into the baking pan.
  7. Spread the jam over the top, careful to cover the entire pan full.
  8. Distribute the remaining crumb mixture over the top.
  9. Bake for thirty-five minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  10. Let cool before cutting into serving sized pieces.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.