Posts Tagged ‘artisanal fruit preserves’

20 August 2012 by megan@spoon

Celebrating 30 Years

Justin Rashid, founder, making Early Glow Strawberry Preserves

making jam at the Petoskey store and kitchen

our first catalog mailed in 1983

making blueberries preserves at the Petoskey store and kitchen

the American Spoon staff outside the Petoskey store and kitchen

early glow strawberries delivered to our Petoskey kitchen

sorting strawberries for our early glow strawberry preserves

early glow strawberry preserves

co-founders Justin Rashid and Larry Forgione

picking raspberries

berry picking

harvesting tomatoes

founder Justin Rashid with his wife Kate Marshall and son Noah Marshall-Rashid

9 June 2011 by megan@spoon

Rhubarb-Hibiscus Conserve

Rhubarb grows like crazy throughout the upper Midwest—in long, tidy rows on rural farms, in ruffled red and green clusters by barns and backyard fences, and in scrappy patches at the edges of alleys. Wherever it grows, it grows in abundance. Midwestern homesteaders dubbed it “pie plant” and revered rhubarb for its thrillingly acid flavor. The allure of rhubarb is timeless. We modern-day Midwesterners still revel each spring in the arrival of this vegetable whose vibrant crimson stalks we treat as fruit.

There is always pie, but this Spring there’s also an incredibly beautiful Rhubarb-Hibiscus Conserve. Last week, our friends at Pond Hill Farm in Harbor Springs harvested 1400 pounds of their field-grown rhubarb for us. Less than twenty four hours later it was simmering away in our copper kettles. We macerated chopped chunks of this lovely rhubarb in Michigan beet sugar and combined the resulting juice with a tea made from dried hibiscus flowers to create the ruby red syrup in which the delicious chunks are preserved. Hibiscus and rhubarb share a similar tartness, but while rhubarb has a bold, flashy astringency, hibiscus is much more subtle, with lovely floral undercurrents that soften and mellow the sharp acid of our puckery pie plant.

Our Rhubarb-Hibiscus Conserve captures the first harvest of the season in all its zippy, zingy wonder and enhances it with the lingering floral notes of tropical hibiscus. It’s wonderful with freshly whipped cream or triple crème brie, and best of all, it marks the beginning of another summer filled with the exceptional fruits of this special place.

Available online now and in stores on Monday.

19 November 2010 by megan@spoon

New Flavors Just in Time for the Holidays

Our R&D Kitchen is a tiny, brightly-lit space tucked into one corner of our larger preserving kitchen.  It’s a space we use primarily for research but over the past six weeks, this quiet space has been transformed into a bustling center of activity by our industrious new Culinary Director.

Chris Dettmer is a native Michigander who has recently returned from the San Francisco Bay Area to his home state with his wife, a Petoskey native.  He’s worked at some of the finest restaurants in the country, but spent most of his career as the Chef de Cuisine at The Restaurant at Meadowood, which recently earned the coveted three star ranking from the presitigious Michelin Guide, one of only nine restaurants in the US to do so.  He is an extraordinarily talented individual and we’re thrilled to have him here at American Spoon.

Chris started work on a Monday in early October.  On Tuesday, he drove out to Bill’s Farm Market, brought back a bushel of Honeycrisp Apples, and turned them into an amazingly delicious Honeycrisp Conserve spiced with star anise and white pepper.  Just like that.

Our Honeycrisp Apple Conserve is filled with tiny cubes of this wildly popular sweet-tart apple, an apple that retains its delightfully crisp texture and signature sweetness when cooked.  Honeycrisp Apples are nice, but what makes this conserve so special is the mingling and melding of traditional fall flavors.  The warming notes of star anise mingle with the refined spice of crushed white pepper, imparting a sophisticated complexity to the sweet apples.  It’s a delicious accompaniment to both sweets and savories, equally delectable with bleu cheese, warm banana bread or roasted pork tenderloin.

With a few hundred jars of Honeycrisp Apple Conserve made, Chris turned his attention to pears — gorgeously russeted late season Bosc Pears from Friske Orchards in Charlevoix.  He chopped them up into little chunks and cooked them down into a rich golden conserve  flecked with delicate vanilla bean seeds.  This classic marriage of pear and vanilla is particularly lovely with the aristocratic Bosc Pear, whose elegant buttery flavor melds perfectly with the warm, comforting flavor of vanilla.  Our Vanilla Pear Conserve elevates all sorts of simple breakfast and dessert fare to something spectacular.  Pancakes and french toast are natural partners, and the conserve is heavenly when spooned over ice cream or cheesecake.

And we were already pretty excited about having two new products for fall when Chris surprised us with a test batch of cranberry chutney.  It was so fantastic that Justin had 1200 pounds of cranberries delivered from Cheboygan and Chris got to work on Spiced Cranberry Chutney

The tart, tangy intensity of bright red cranberries is the perfect foil for the heavy, hearty foods that fill our holiday tables, and our Spiced Cranberry Chutney is a wonderfully unique and incredibly refined variation on this traditional accompaniment to turkey.  It highlights the brilliant fruitiness of plump Northern Michigan cranberries against a background of warm, earthy spices like cardamom, cumin and fenugreek and the bright acidity of lime.  It’s a phenomenal product that’s equally at home amid an elaborate holiday spread or atop a leftover turkey sandwich.

We’re thrilled to offer this trio of seasonal, spiced artisanal fruit preserves just in time for holiday entertaining.  We love the way these robust late-season fruits are complemented by the warming flavors of traditional fall spices, and we can’t wait for the next delicious idea to emerge from our R&D Kitchen.