Use it or Lose it! Roasted Turkey with Plum Preserves

Like many of my fellow canning bloggers, I’ve had a lot of requests for recipes that fall into the “What to do with all of that jam?!” category. For me, this is a bit of a conundrum, because I’m not really sure how I use it up: I don’t eat a whole lot of jam on toast (mostly preferring peanut butter); the obvious classics, like a jam tart or thumbprint cookies, aren’t things that I make often; and despite giving some of it away, I make an awful lot of jam.  So what do I do with all that jam?

Well, this is exactly why this blog was conceived: not only to share with you (Gentle Reader), but to remind myself, when I am staring at 30 open jars of preserves in the fridge and at a loss as to what to do with them. Besides, all the cool kids are doing it. So I hereby launch a new series here at Local Kitchen: Use it or Lose it! (or The World Beyond Toast). Sometimes I will feature a single recipe, other times I will simply share all the little ways I’ve used up preserves in the last week or two: a dollop here, a tablespoon there, a 1/4 cup tossed at random into some recipe or other. I literally do a little cheer every time a jar is cleaned out of the fridge, and soon you will too; it seems as much an accomplishment to me as putting up the preserves in the first place. Why Use it or Lose it? A not-so-subtle reminder that home-canned goods do not have the seemingly endless shelf life of their commercially-canned brethren. While I will admit that there have been a few two-year-old jars on my shelves from time to time, for the most part I really do try to use up preserves within one year; after that, color starts to fade or darken, chutneys and salsas lose their zing, pickles get a little limp, and all that hard work you put into making the preserves starts to suffer. Worse than that, seals can begin to fail over time, and you run the risk of losing jars to mold or other nasties (perish the thought). Don’t lose all your precious bounty! Use it instead.

The first recipe to kick off the series is a doozy: remember Roasted Golden Plums with Honey & Sage? So simple, so minimal, so good? I’ve been hoarding my few tiny jars but decided that this was as good a time as any to bust one out and whip up some dinner. And what a dinner it was! So simple, so minimal, so good. An easy roasted turkey breast, buttermilk-and-pan-drippings mashed potatoes, and a roasted plum preserve pan sauce that was as delicious as it was simple. Moan-inducingly good. One bite and you’ll start thinking you don’t have enough preserves in the house…

To see other recipes in the series, check out the Use It or Lose It! category.


Roasted Turkey with Plum Preserves


  • one 3-lb half turkey breast, bone-in and skin-on (I like Empire Kosher)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp dried sage, divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine or dry vermouth, for deglazing (I used Duet Chardonnay)
  • about 1 tbsp vinegar, optional (I used white balsamic, but white wine or cider vinegar would also work well)
  • 8 oz (1 cup) Roasted Golden Plums with Honey & Sage (or other plum preserves)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the turkey breast and dry thoroughly. Sprinkle both sides generously with salt & pepper. Crumble 1 tsp of the sage between your fingers (to release aromatic oils) and sprinkle over the turkey. Allow turkey to come to room temperature, ideally for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  3. Heat the oil in an oven-safe skillet large enough to hold the turkey comfortably, over medium heat, until oil is shimmering, but not smoking. Add turkey breast, skin side down, and sear skin until golden brown, about 5 – 10 minutes. Flip the turkey over so that it is skin-side up, then transfer to the oven and roast until turkey is cooked through (meatiest part of the breast reads 170 degrees F on an instant thermometer), about 30 – 40 minutes. Remove turkey to a carving board and tent with foil, or cover with an inverted bowl, to rest for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the pan sauce. Pour off oil remaining in the pan in excess of 1 tbsp (save for making mashed potatoes!). Put the skillet over medium heat and once the fat begins to sizzle, deglaze the pan with wine or vermouth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the plum preserves and the remaining teaspoon of dried sage; mix well and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the pan sauce reduces to a syrup consistency, about 5 minutes. Taste and add the vinegar, or extra salt and pepper, if the sauce needs it. Heat through and pour over turkey to serve, accompanied by mashed potatoes or garlicky sauteed greens.

Serves 4 – 6.


  1. For a family meal, and lovely presentation, I would platter mashed potatoes, topped with sauteed greens, topped with slices of turkey breast covered in plum sauce.
  2. The splash of vinegar is optional, depending on the sweetness of your preserves. My plum preserves, made with honey, needed just a little punch of acidity to bring up the flavor. It worked wonders.
  3. This technique will work with many sweet preserves, not just plums, and many fresh or dried herb combinations. Experiment using what you have on hand in your pantry.


Cooked turkey will last about 5 days refrigerated. Make sure you save the bones for stock!


Year round, but primarily fall and winter.


  1. I make a mean plum sauce for duck with my beach plum jelly. You could probably use regular plum jelly as well.

    It’s 1 8 oz jar plum jelly
    1/4 c hoisin sauce
    1 t ground ginger
    1 t garlic powder
    2 T orange juice
    salt and pepper to taste
    Melt it all together and serve with duck, although it would probably be great with turkey as well.

  2. Sounds fabulous, Mom! That brings me back.. I grew up very close to the beach and my Dad used to eat beach plums raw (way too tart for most tastes!). I wish I had been a jammer back then.

    Since beach plums are VERY tart, if anyone out there tries this with regular plum preserves, I would add a little acid (lemon juice, vinegar) to pucker it up a bit.

  3. ha! i love it!

    you may not remember (apparently not!) but i introduced my own category of using up sweet preserves in ways other than on toast waaaaay back in november of 2009 called: roast the toast, and introduced the concept with my wild apple pie. my intentions were/are to keep that category going and i really cannot believe that i have only posted that one post in that category for the whole year! gah! where did all the time go? you girls put a tigress to shame, to shame i tell ya! 😉

  4. Pingback: Uncanny | Steel Cut Oats with a Jam Swirl «

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