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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Jam/Peanut Butter

TIP OF THE DAY: 25+ Uses For Apple Butter

We were recently searching for something in the back of a friend’s pantry—at her request—and came across a jar of apple butter that looked past its prime. We checked the date. Yep, way gone.

“Do you know you have expired apple butter?” we queried. “Oh that,” she replied. “Someone gave it to me years ago and I didn’t know what to do with it.”

Apple butter is not butter, we explained. It’s a fruit spread so creamy, it spreads like butter. There’s no dairy in it. Think of it as creamy apple jam.

Today’s tip is for anyone who needs suggestions for using apple butter, and for those who want to make their own from the fall crop of just-picked apples. There’s a slow cooker recipe below.


Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce, as dense as a spread. While the skins are used, since the apples are cooked to a point where the sugar in the flesh caramelizes and the flesh turns brown, the color of the apple doesn’t make a difference.


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Ready, set spread your delicious homemade apple butter. Photo courtesy


In the Middle Ages, the first monasteries with large fruit orchards began to appear in Europe. Apple butter, developed at that time, turned out to have a long shelf life (due to the concentration of sugars). It was an ideal way to conserve part of the apple crop.

Villagers made their own apple butter, and a popular bread spread was born. As imported spices became more affordable, apple butter was enhanced with allspice, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.

Fast forward some centuries to the colonization of North America: Housewives brought the technique for making apple butter with them. In the 1700s, the German Rhinelanders and Moravians who settled into the Blue Ridge Mountains, especially in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, “really honed apple butter-making to a deliciously fine art.” (Source:

In the 1800s, another German immigrant group, the Pennsylvania Dutch (a misspelling of Deutsch), established the tradition in southeastern Pennsylvania. In the latter half of the century, with the invention of the Mason jar, apple butter was “put up” by even more households. These days, you can freeze it.

Apple butter’s popularity declined in the 20th century, with the proliferation of store-bought brands of jam and jelly providing a wide variety of fruit options year-round.

You can use any apples, but soft apples work best because they cook down the fastest. Choose one (or more) of these varieties, and you’ll have apple butter in no time:

  • Braeburn
  • Cortland
  • Fuji
  • Gravenstein
  • Jonamac
  • Jonagold
  • Ida Red


  • On oatmeal
  • On toast or biscuits
  • On pancakes and waffles
  • As a topping for yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Muffin surprise (cut a channel, scoop out and fill, replace the top)

  • Panini: ham or turkey, brie or cheddar (or other cheese), apple butter
  • Sandwich spread, including with cheese: grilled cheese, cream cheese, semihard cheese
  • PB&AB, or instead of the PB, apple butter with almond butter and sliced bananas
  • Turkey burger


    All you need to turn apple butter into a homemade gift is a ribbon! Photo courtesy



  • As a condiment for pork chops or roast
  • In barbecue sauce (recipe)
  • In a baked potato with sour cream or yogurt
  • Instead of applesauce
  • Ham glaze
  • Sauce for chicken
  • On baked sweet potatoes, or as a dip with sweet potato fries

  • A cup of apple butter as dessert, with heavy cream or whipped cream.
  • Crepe filling, topped with cinnamon sugar (substitute tortillas for crepes)
  • Warmed or melted over vanilla ice cream and garnished with pecans
  • Cookie sandwiches
  • Baking†
  • Loaf cake sandwiches
  • Snack

  • On crackers
  • On a spoon, right from the jar
  • In a smoothie*

    Because the apples cook for a long period, this is a recipe best made in a slow cooker. Plan to start cooking early in the morning. For gifting, use 8-ounce Mason or Ball jars, or other attractive jars. Note that the apple butter won’t have any preservatives, so should be refrigerated or frozen. This recipe is courtesy Taste Of Home.
    Ingredients For 4 Pints

  • 5-1/2 pounds apples, peeled and finely chopped (we kept the peel on)
  • 4 cups sugar‡
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

    1. PLACE the apples in a 3-quart slow cooker. Combine the other ingredients, pour over the apples and mix well. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

    2. REDUCE the heat to low; cover and cook for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown, stirring occasionally. Stir more frequently as the spread thickens, to prevent sticking.

    3. UNCOVER and cook on low 1 hour longer. If desired, stir with a wire whisk until smooth.

    4. SPOON into jars or freezer containers, leaving a half inch of space at the top. Cover and refrigerate or freeze.
    *Freeze apple butter in an ice cube tray; blend frozen cubes with almond milk and banana, with spices to taste.

    †You can use apple butter like applesauce, as a replacement for oil, eggs and butter, in most baked good recipes. Like applesauce, it provides sweetness and moistness in breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes and waffles. Look for tested recipes.

    ‡You can cut back on the sweetness, or try one batch and then adjust it.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Smucker’s Fruit Spread With Honey


    Mix with cream cheese, feta, cream cheese
    and adobo sauce for a sweet heat spread.
    Photo © The J.M. Smucker Company.


    A few years ago, the Orchard’s Finest line from Smucker’s tickled our palate and became a favorite bread spread.

    Now, the Smucker’s team has charmed us with a new line: Fruit & Honey fruit spreads, sweetemed with honey instead of sugar. And it’s just enough honey to sweeten, but not be too sweet. One tablespoon has just 35 calories.

    You also taste the honey in each bite. It’s a really nice departure from sugar-sweetened jams, and well worth trying. Even the shape of the jar is alluring.

    In addition to toast and PB&J or PB&B sandwiches, the Smucker’s shows how to create delicious and very easy recipes.

  • Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Blueberry Lemon Fruit Spread. Swirl it into slightly softened frozen yogurt in this easy recipe. Or, mix with cream cheese and yogurt or sour cream and spoon into graham cracker crusts for no-bake cheesecake tarts.
  • Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Fruit Spread. Stir it into balsamic dressing for this quinoa, mixed greens and grilled chicken recipe.
  • Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Triple Berry Fruit Spread (a blend of blackberries, blueberries and strawberries). Mix with cream cheese, feta, chiles and adobo sauce for a sweet heat spread. Recipe.
  • Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Tropical Fruit Spread (peaches, mango, and passion fruit). Make a smoky mango salsa with black beans, fruit spread, lime juice, cilantro and paprika and serve it with tortilla chips or atop chicken. Here’s the recipe.
    How many more ways can you use fruit spread? See our list below.

    Smucker’s Fruit & Honey fruit spreads are available at Walmart, Target, Publix and Safeway and other retailers nationwide. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $3.49 for a 9-ounce jar.

    The difference is in the level of sweetness. Some jams can be cloyingly sweet. A good fruit spread isn’t.

    Jam consists of chopped, crushed or puréed fruit cooked down with sugar—a recipe as old as refined sugar. Fruit spread began to appear in the 1970s as a reduced-calorie product, made with alternative sweeteners such as juice concentrate. The honey in Smucker’s fruit spreads makes it so superior to others we’ve tasted.

    There are distinct differences between chutney, conserve, jelly, jams, marmalades and the other types of sweet spreads. Take a look.


    In Breakfast Dishes

  • Hot cereal. Use a dab instead of sugar.
  • Pancake and waffle topping. Substitute for syrup.
  • Yogurt. Add to cottage cheese or to plain yogurt, to make fruit yogurt.
    At Lunch

  • Grilled cheese. Sharp cheeses like blue cheese and Cheddar are perfect pairings for jam or fruit spread. Grill with the cheese or serve it on the side as a condiment. For more flavor, use rye or a textured whole grain bread.
  • Salad dressing. Warm a spoonful and whisk it into salad dressings.
  • Sandwich spread. Spread on bread with a filling of cheese, ham, lamb, poultry or roast pork. To cut the sweetness, you can mix it with mayonnaise or plain yogurt.


  • Canapés. Top a cracker or slice of baguette with cheese, ham, turkey or other favorite and a bit of jam or fruit spread.
  • Cheese condiment. Wonderful with a cheese plate (more cheese condiments) or atop a baked Brie. Make the popular appetizer of jam poured over a brick of cream cheese or a log of goat cheese, served with crackers.
  • Dipping sauce. Mix in a small bowl with sriracha or other hot sauce, a hot chile and vinegar. You can also make a dip with fresh grated ginger and soy sauce.
  • Pepper jelly. Mix in some red pepper flakes, dried or fresh minced chipotle, jalapeño or other chile (the different chile types).
  • Pretzel or breadstick dip. Mix with Dijon or other mustard. For a sweet-and-hot profile, add some hot sauce.

  • Meat glaze. Particularly delicious on poultry and pork. Mix with fresh herbs and garlic.

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    One of four flavors of the Fruit & Honey fruit spreads. Photo © The J.M. Smucker Company.

  • Sauce for meat and seafood. Use with wine or vermouth to deglaze the pan. Add some to the pan while you’re cooking chicken, pork chops, fish, scallops or shrimp and let the flavor coat the meat.

  • Cheesecake. Fine jam makes a wonderful topping or a condiment on the side.
  • Cookies. Thumbprints and rolled cookies with a jam swirl are classics.
  • Crêpe filling. Delicious plain or with fresh goat cheese or mascarpone.
  • Dessert sauce. Mix with plain or vanilla yogurt or sour cream.
  • Ice cream and sorbet topping. Crown a scoop of sorbet. Lightly warm the jam so it flows like a sauce over ice cream.
  • Layer cake filling. A coat of jam between the layers is a classic: Think Sacher Torte! Apricot or raspberry jam is delicious with chocolate cake; any flavor works with lemon cake.
  • Tarts and tartlets. Fill tart or tartlet shells with jam. Top with a dab of crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, mascarpone or sour cream. Or, blend with cream cheese for a cheesecake-like tart.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Unconventional Valentine Treats

    You don’t have to give chocolate or cupcakes on Valentine’s Day. In fact, some people may prefer a less conventional gift. Think outside the [chocolate] box.

    As a smaller gift to bring to pals at the office, we particularly like red berry jam. You can go for a pricey artisan brand, or look for an organic brand like Santa Cruz Organic Seedless Red Raspberry Fruit Spread.

    We love raspberry jam, but not the seeds. So we were very happy to discover Santa Cruz Organic’s Seedless Red Raspberry Fruit Spread. Not only is it seedless, it’s thick and lush with raspberry flavor. As a fruit spread, it’s also lower in sugar than most raspberry jams (and 40 calories per tablespoon). You taste the fruit, not the cloying sugar. (Here’s the difference between fruit spreads, jam, preserves, etc.)

    The fruit spreads are also made in Apricot, Blackberry Pomegranate, Concord Grape, Mango and Strawberry. In addition to being certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO, the line is certified kosher by OU. Look for it at natural food markets or online.




    A quality jar of strawberry or raspberry jam says “Be My Valentine.” Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

    On the savory side, look for something red and spicy. It could be a jar of artisan arrabiata pasta sauce, or something as much fun as sriracha ketchup.

    Lee Kum Kee, maker of terrific soy sauce, has added Sriracha Chili Ketchup to its line. It gives the ketchup lover another dimension of flavor and heat on burgers and fries, and in spreads and dips. We think it’s a great “guy gift.”

    Look for it in the Asian products aisle at your supermarket, at Asian markets or online.
    For a more generous gift, a bottle of red wine is always welcome, or a pink rosé.

    Personally, we’d like a jar of red caviar.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Fig Jam, Fig Chutney & More Figgy Condiments

    Figs are hot and dry weather fruit—famously enjoyed for millennia in the Middle East, where it’s hot year-round.

    In the U.S., figs grow in zones 8-10 (most of our figs are grown in California. They have two seasons: a shorter season in early summer and a second, main crop that starts in late summer and runs through fall.

    Fig trees cannot withstand temperatures much below 20°F, and so are not grown in most of the Midwest and in the Northeast.


    Dalmatia Fig Spread. Photo courtesy Here’s their review.


    So depending on your residence, you won’t find fresh figs; but you can console yourself with a jar of fig jam or chutney.

    Beyond spreading it on toast, here’s what you can do with it, courtesy of,

  • Use it as a glaze for meats, especially duck and pork.
  • Mix it in with pan juices to make a sauce.
  • Add it to a red wine vinaigrette to make a spectacular salad dressing.
  • Pair it with cheese—our favorites being blue cheese , goat cheese, bleu or camembert on crostini.
  • Use it as the center of humbprint cookies.
  • Spoon it over cheesecake.
  • Add it to cheese and charcuterie plates.
  • Garnish a flatbread pizza made with prosciutto, Gorgonzola cheese and arugula.
  • Use it as a topping for ice cream.

    You can find Dalmatia Fig Spread (photo above)at many supermarkets, and other fig jams and chutneys at most specialty stores. But The French Farm has the biggest selection of fig condiments we’ve seen, any of which would make a lovely small gift or stocking stuffer for a foodie. The choices include:


  • Black Fig Jam (from L’Epicurien), to spread on toast, pastries, waffles, or to enjoy with cheese.
  • Confit of Figs & Black Olives (L’Epicurien), a spread of sweet white figs and savory black olives that can dress up just about anything. Pair with cheese or use as a sandwich spread.
  • Fig & Balsamic Vinegar Confit (L’Epicurien), delicious on a sandwich or on a cracker with goat cheese, or as a condiment with foie gras.
  • Fig & Grape Jam (from L’Epicurien), a delightful balance of juicy grape and earthy fig, spread some on toast or breakfast pastries.
  • Fig & Walnut Confit (from L’Epicurien) is perfect with goat cheese or on a slice of toasted baguette.
  • White Fig Jam (from L’Epicurien), more delicate than the black fig jam, is delicious on top of a slice of toasted baguette, with a slice of Cheddar on a crostini, or on a breakfast pastry.
    But fig condiments don’t stop at jam. Check out the other options:



    Mustard with fig. Photo courtesy The French Farm.


  • Fig Mustard (from L’Epicurien), can be paired with cured meats, ham, roasted or smoked turkey, cheddar cheese, roast pork or a grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Grape Must Vinegar with Fig (from Il Boschetto) is freshly pressed grape juice that contains the skins, seeds and stems. The mixture is simmered with the addition of vinegar made from Tuscan red wine, into a rich balsamic-like syrup that is stunning over fish, fresh salads, and desserts.
  • Red Wine Vinegar With Fig (from Edmond Fallot), great for salad dressing, marinades, or sauces. Try it on a goat cheese-stuffed chicken breast with braised greens.
  • Spiced Fig Chutney (from L’Epicurien), both sweet and savory and perfect for a cheese board, charcuterie plate or a chicken or turkey sandwich.

    The edible fig was one of the first plants to be cultivated by humans. Fossils dating to about 9400–9200 B.C.E. in the Jordan Valley predate the domestication of barley, legumes, rye and wheat, and may thus be the first known instance of agriculture. Some botany historians propose that the figs may have been cultivated one thousand years before the next crops (wheat and rye) were domesticated.

    Much later in time, figs were a common food source for the Romans. Cato the Elder, in his De Agri Cultura, lists several strains of figs: the Mariscan, African, Herculanean, Saguntine and the black Tellanian. In addition to human consumption, figs were used, among other things, to fatten geese for the production of a precursor of foie gras.

    In ancient times, figs were cultivated from Afghanistan to Portugal to India. From the 15th century onwards, they spread to Europe and later, to the New World. [Source]



    STOCKING STUFFER: Stonewall Kitchen Maple Bacon Jam

    Here’s a spot-on holiday gift for anyone who loves bacon. Bacon jam is a sweet and savory combination that adds a little something extra to most of the foods you eat—breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

    You can spread it on toast or waffles at breakfast, enjoy it on a sandwich, serve it as a condiment with your protein at dinner or mix it into the pan juices to create a delicious sauce. Enjoy it as a cheese condiment.

    For entertaining, use it to make quick canapés with a bit of cheese, meat or poultry.

    While you can make your own bacon jam (a link to our recipe is below), you can also buy it.

    Stonewall Kitchen makes theirs from cane and brown sugars, apples, shallots and yellow onions, vinegar and bacon. We had a taste at a trade show earlier this year and put it on our list of stocking stuffers.

    An 11.75-ounce jar is $7.95 at



    A delicious sweet and savory jam. Photo courtesy Stonewall Kitchen.



    Here’s our own recipe for bacon jam.



    PRODUCT: Chad’s, The Best Raspberry Jam?

    Utah’s Bear Lake is a beauty: a natural freshwater lake on the Utah-Idaho called the “Caribbean of the Rockies” for its turquoise-blue color.

    Although the lake lies relatively near the Oregon Trail, which was traveled by many pioneers between 1836 and the 1850s, it seems that none of traveled south enough to find the lake. It wasn’t until 1863 that Mormons settled in the Bear Lake Valley, home to some Shoshone tribes.

    Fast forward 150 years or so: The area has become famous for its delicious red raspberries. A Raspberry Days festival is held in Garden City to celebrate the harvest of raspberries, generally during the first week of August. The raspberries are sweet and plentiful.

    So we almost kicked ourselves when we found a box of Chad’s Raspberry Kitchen products tucked away, forgotten in a storage area. Boy, are they delicious!

    First up was the Raspberry Jam, the company’s best seller. It’s one of the best raspberry jams we can remember: solid fruit that falls apart into jam during cooking. Chad’s cooks the whole berries with natural fruit pectin and sugar, “the way your grandmother would make it” (or at this point, Chad, our great-grandmother).



    Great rapsberry jam at a great price. Photo courtesy Chad’s Raspberry Kitchen.


    Sustainably farmed located in Laketown, Utah (population 248 at the 2010 census), all natural and preservative free, Chad’s other products include:

  • Raspberry Jalapeño Jam, the classic raspberry spiced up with jalapeño chiles.
  • Seedless Raspberry Jelly.
  • Raspberry Honey, made by bees from the nectar of the raspberry blossoms.
  • Raspberry Syrup, for pancakes, ice cream and other desserts and to make raspberry iced tea or lemonade.
  • Raspberry Salsa, raspberries mixed with a tomato based salsa to create a sweet salsa for dipping or garnishing grilled meats and seafood.
  • Gift box assortments.

    Everything is very well priced at $4.99 (the honey is $5.99), and they’re more delicious than products selling at twice the price. Chad’s is a great idea for holiday gifting.

    Get yours at



    PRODUCT: Jam For Inspector Clouseau


    Jam in covert gift packaging. Photo courtesy Dept. Of Sweet Diversions.


    With popular television franchises like CSI, Law & Order and NCIS, detective culture has finally seeped into specialty food.

    The perps (actually, they’re the good guys) moved from Europe to Los Angeles to form their artisan jam agency (“a top secret covert organization”).

    Agent Copperpot hails from France, where she learned the craft of small batch jam making from both of her grandmothers. Chester Pinkerton, born and raised in Switzerland, is a professional illustrator.

    They created the Dept. of Sweet Diversions with a primary objective “to create delicious little diversions so you can treat yourself to something truly special.”

    Otherwise stated, their goal is to elevate the art of preserving to inspire people to try new fruit and flavor combinations.


    They source local organic and/or sustainably grown fruit in bountiful southern California, and make jams, jellies, marmalades and fruit butters. (Check out the different types of jam and other spreads.) Most of the ingredients come from farmers markets within a 12 mile radius of their kitchen.

    The jam is made by hand in small batches using traditional techniques. Each flavor features organic ingredients and is completely free of preservatives. Nothing is processed (even the pectin is homemade).

    The pair are quick to note that “Breakfast isn’t the only meal of the day that should feature jam, it’s just the first!”

    Their jams pair exquisitely with fine cheeses, mixed into cocktails and served as a condiment with fish and meat dishes. But don’t stop there: Here are 20 of THE NIBBLE’s favorite ways to use fine jam.


    The current line consists of eight choices, available plain or in “covert” gift packaging.

  • The Cocoa Caper: orange jam with dark chocolate. Enjoy it on a crêpe.
  • The Grand Scheme: strawberry jam with Grand Marnier liqueur. Pair it with brioche.
  • Master of Disguise: tomato jam infused with basil. Pair it with burrata cheese.
  • Mr. Bartlett’s Stepchild: pear jam with ginger and acacia honey. Pair it with Cheddar.
  • Operation Peppercorn: strawberry jam with balsamic vinegar & the refined heat of black pepper. Pair it with goat cheese or Brie.
  • The Return of Mr. Bartlett: pear jam with vanilla bean and chestnut honey. Pair it with blue cheese or top French vanilla ice cream.
  • The Sanguine Seduction: blood orange marmalade with vanilla bean. Enjoy it on toast.
  • The Suite Surprise: apple butter sweetened with agave. Enjoy it on a peanut butter sandwich.


    We devoured the contents with a spoon! Photo courtesy Dept. Of Sweet Diversions.

    We received samples of Master of Disguise (tomato jam), Operation Peppercorn (strawberry balsamic), The Return of Mr. Bartlett (pear jam) and The Sanguine Seduction (blood orange). We’ll be ordering more of the delicious blood orange marmalade and tomato jam. We demolished the contents with a spoon!

    And we’ll be trying more flavors, too. A six-ounce jar is $12, or $14 with Top Secret gift wrap.

    Discover more at



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Blake Hill Preserves


    One of the exquisite marmalades. Photo by
    Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


    Blake Hill Preserves is an artisan chutney, jam and marmalade producer based near historic Grafton Village in Vermont’s Green Mountains. There, a gifted duo traditionally crafts all-natural chutneys, jams and preserves with sophisticated modern, bright, fruit-forward flavors and marvelous textures. You can see the difference, even before you taste it.

    Each small batch is slow-cooked by hand, carefully layering the ingredients to concentrate intense, fresh flavors. All of the ingredients are top quality ingredients, many organic. The line is certified kosher by OU.

    One weekend in 2009, Vicky, a third-generation English preserve maker, turned a bumper crop of wild blackberries growing on Blake Hill Farm into 70 jars of glistening jam. A friend sneaked a jar to the local grocery store and returned an hour later with Vicky’s first jam order; Vicky and Joe Hanglin formed Blake Hill Preserves and have been pleasing demanding palates ever since.

    Joe, who grew up in Gibraltar with British, Spanish and Italian ancestry, brings his culinary heritage to the line of chutneys, some of which are made with fruits, vegetables and spices inspired by Moroccan tagines and the flavors of the Middle East.


    We were thrilled with the samples they sent us, and recommend them to all for personal enjoyment and gifting.

    The 200-year-old farm, purchased in 2004, came with meandering old stone walls, beautiful wooded trails and an abundance of wild blackberry and raspberry bushes. Vicky and Joeadded blueberries, gooseberries and blush-pink rhubarb, all of which are use to make the wonderful spreads.

    Since everything is made in small batches, so flavors can sell out. But today, you can purchase this cornucopia of exquisite products:


  • Apricot & Fresh Orange
  • Cranberry, Apple & Mulling Spices
  • Middle Eastern Date & Red Chile
  • Moroccan Plum & Fennel
  • Rhubarb, Apple & Ginger


  • Blackberry & Rhubarb
  • Blueberries & Summer Plum
  • Perfectly Plum
  • Raspberry & Hibiscus Flower
  • Strawberry & Rhubarb

  • Fresh Seville Orange
  • Grapefruit & Lemon
  • Lemon, Lime & Aged 100% Agave Tequila
  • Orange & 10-Year Single Malt Whisky
  • Orange, Lime & Ginger

    The products are completely natural, low sugar, low salt, gluten free and fat free. Beyond spreads, they are delicious with cheese plates, with grilled paninis and other sandwiches, as condiments for everything from barbecue to winter stews, as dessert toppings and much more.



    Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


    At $7.49 per jar, these are wonderful gifts—and when you gift yourself with a selection, you’ll be spoiled forever. Say the owners, “It takes up to 13 ounces of fruit and vegetables to fill every 13 ounce jar!”

    Get yours at



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Gakwiyo Provisions Jams & Jellies

    Gakwiyo means “good food” in the Cayuga Indian language. A few years ago the Cayuga Nation, headquartered in Seneca Falls, New York, began an initiative to can and preserve the fruits and vegetables that are grown on its ancestral lands.

    Patti Costello, manager of the initiative, explains that her goal was to make popular foods healthier. “There are approximately 500 members of the Cayuga Nation across the United States,” she notes, “and quite a few of them have problems with weight, diabetes and other heath issues.”

    Plus, members of the Nation “also love getting products that have been grown on their ancestral lands!”

    While they’re not reduced-calorie products per se, the ingredients are excellent. We tasted the samples that Patty sent, and particularly love the conserves, jams and jellies. Be sure to try the “sweet heat”—jams and jellies made with jalapeños.

    We’ve already laid in a supply for Mother’s Day party favors.

    The products include:

  • Conserves
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Pickled Vegetables & Fruit
  • Salsas & Sauces
  • Jams


    Fruit and jalapeños combine to make exciting jams and jellies. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


    Everything we tried was delicious; the Green Tomato Raspberry Jam, an old-fashioned standard that is hard to find these days, is a knockout. We were so sad when the last drop was gone; but we can say the same about the Blueberry Rhubarb Jam, Strawberry Jalapeño Jam, and everything else we tried in the jam-jelly group.

    You can see the full line at



    It’s delicious on everything from bread to ice
    cream. Here, Habanero Gold Jelly. Photo by
    Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.



    If you need guidance on how to use “hot” jams and jellies, here’s how we enjoy them:

    1. Breads & Crackers. Use them on anything and everything: from toast and bagels to biscuits and muffins to flatbreads and crackers. Hot pairs well with dairy; the jams are terrific with cream cheese.

    2. Breakfast Foods. Dab some on pancakes, waffles and French toast; use as a condiment with eggs or in an omelet; mix into a spicy fruit yogurt.

    3. Sandwiches. Replace your regular jam—including on peanut butter sandwiches.

    4. Hors D’Oeuvres. Top a block of cream cheese or a log of goat cheese and serve with crackers or sliced baguette; top a baked Brie (optional: sprinkle with sliced or chopped toasted almonds).

    5. Savory Sauce Or Marinade. Add to marinade or basting sauce for meats or fish; deglaze the pan by adding jam plus water, stock or wine to make a sweet-and-sizzling sauce.


    6. Meat Or Fish Condiments. The jams are a delicious accent to pretty much any grilled or roast meat, poultry or fish. The first night we tasted them, we enjoyed them with a Certified Angus Beef strip steak, grilled outdoors over coals. Delicious!

    7. Dessert Sauce. Serve over ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, cheesecake, or pound cake (with whipped cream).

    Gakwiyo makes some 35 different products, and have recently started to sell them online and at farmers markets and festivals, to a great response.

    Try some and you’ll see why!



    TIP OF THE DAY: Try Arrope

    Arrope syrup. There’s also an arrope
    preserve with pumpkin (see photo below).
    Photo courtesy Miel de Palma.


    Arrope (ah-ROE-pay), a cooking and condiment syrup, is a product that few of us have in our kitchens. Yet, if you’re a serious cook (or eater), it’s an ingredient you should know about.

    If your parents are serious cooks/eaters, it’s an idea for a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift—so much tastier than another scarf or tie.

    And if no one cooks, there’s a delicious arrope pumpkin preserve, a recipe that derives from the ancient use of arrope to preserve or stew fruits. The pumpkin is cooked in the arrope until it is candied. It’s delicious as a sweet-and-earthy bread spread or a condiment with creamy goat’s or sheep’s milk cheeses (see photo below).

    In fact, when you go to purchase arrope, you need to be specific. Otherwise, you can easily be sold the preserve instead of the syrup, or vice versa. Tip: If the word “pumpkin” appears, it’s the preserve.


    A reduction of grape must, arrope is a condiment that dates to ancient Rome, where it was called defrutum or sapa. It survives as a gourmet Spanish condiment. The name comes from the Arabic word rubb, syrup.

    Arrope is closely related to saba (also called sapa, mosto d’uva cotto and vin cotto). This group comprises ancient precursors to “modern” balsamic vinegar, which appeared in the 11th century.

    So if you’re a balsamic vinegar fan, chances are good that you’ll be happy to discover arrope.


    Like honey* and saba, in the days before sugar was widely available arrope was used to add sweetness. Today it is used in everything from drinks to salad dressings to sauces to desserts (try it with fruit salad or drizzled over ice cream). We use it as a glaze for roast poultry and meats. It easily substitutes in cooking for sweet wines such as sherry and marsala.

    As civilization embraced massed-produced foods over artisan products in the latter half of the 20th century, the craft of making arrope—which involves carefully cooking down the must into a syrup over a period of weeks—has almost disappeared. It survives among a handful of artisan producers, carrying on family traditions. (Before modern times, arrope was made by the cook of the family.)

    In Spain, the few remaining artisans produce arrope syrup (grape must reduction) and preserved pumpkin.

    While it’s no leap to combine arrope in Spanish recipes, you can port it over to any cuisine—just as with Italy’s saba and France’s verjus.



    A Spanish cheese plate with typical condiments: fig cake, fresh figs, and in the back, a bowl of arrope preserve with candied pumpkin.

    *Honey is sweet and syrupy straight from the hive (or straight from the hive and pasteurized). Arrope and saba are cooked to develop sweet-and-sour flavors including notes of cooked caramel.

    It starts with a large quantity of grape must, freshly pressed grape juice that still contains all of the skins and seeds and stems. The must is very flavorful with high levels of sugar.

  • The fresh-pressed grape juice can be strained and sold as verjus, where it is used instead of citrus juice or vinegar.
  • Or, it can be cooked down into arrope or saba.
  • To make arrope, the must is boiled until the volume is reduced by at least 50%, and its viscosity is reduced to a thick syrup. There is no added sugar or pectin.
  • Saba is similarly boiled down into a syrup.
    Ready to try it? Check at your local specialty food market or order it online:

  • Arrope syrup (grape must reduction)
  • Arrope with pumpkin (preserve)


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