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Gourmet Preserves: Jam Time

Fancy, delicious and local preserves? Now you're jammin'.


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Courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing/Sara Remington

To Rachel Saunders, jam is much more than a simple spread on toast. Her Blue Chair Fruit company offers a unique collection of sweet, but not too sweet, preserves—think bitter orange and cinnamon, or lemon and pink grapefruit. The two-year-old Oakland company’s products can be seen on specialty grocers’ shelves throughout the Bay Area as well as the breakfast menu at San Francisco’s Ritz Carlton.

In The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, coming out this month, Saunders explains the process she’s developed for making jam, and how she pairs it with a whole range of sweet and savory foods. The book includes nearly 120 original jam, jelly, and marmalade recipes inspired by the Bay Area’s vibrant year-round fruit supply.

September is especially flush with creative options. “It’s when everything is happening at the same time,” says Saunders, who will mix richer fruits with spices and liquors for more complex flavors.  

Saunders also holds monthly jam-making classes. She’ll stand next to you over a steaming copper kettle, explaining the basics about balancing sugar and lemon juice, flavor and texture. Each class ends with a dinner, featuring the fruit jam of your labor.

For information, go to bluechairfruit.com.

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