Friday, February 24, 2012

BC Kiwi Jam

If you have ever bought a jar of Sticky Spoon jam, you may have noticed that our philosophy is printed on the back label of every jar:

"Sticky Spoon believes that locally sourced fruits and vegetables cooked in small batches, with no commercial pectin added, results in delicious jams."

And we mean it. You may think that this implies that in the middle of the cold, rainy Winter, the Sticky Spoon duo puts their feet up and relaxes while waiting for berries and stonefruit to pop up. Nope. While we don't play around with all sorts of exotic fruits, we are lucky to find that, in season here in BC, from November to February, is a fruit that tastes as tropical as it gets: kiwifruit.

If you didn't know that kiwi is a Winter fruit that grows in BC, you are not the only one. When mentioning our local kiwi jam, the overall reaction is of surprise, even with local chefs and serious food geeks. But it is true, you don't have to fly in kiwifruit from halfway around the world, they grow right here, mainly in the south of Vancouver Island.

A tree fruit that is actually a berry, kiwifruit happens to be ridiculously good for you. The benefits and nutritional value of kiwi actually go beyond that of most fruits. Kiwi is a rich source of vitamin C (some say more so than an orange), vitamin E, vitamin A and we read that it contains more potassium than a banana. Even when cooked down for long periods of time, as we do with our jams, kiwi retains a lot of its nutritional value. Imagine that, getting your daily dose of vitamin E and A from Sticky Spoon jam.

We made a beautiful, bright emerald green jam dotted little black freckles. Sticky Spoon BC Kiwi Jam. It has a very smooth, almost creamy texture with a slight crunch from the seeds of the kiwifruit. We added the zest and juice of limes to give the jam a pleasant zing, which we then mellowed out with a bit of honey.

As we often tend to add a touch of sweet jam to our cocktails, we must recommend shaking up this one and making a yummy Kiwi Caipirinha out of it, or even a Kiwi Mojito. It will make you feel like Summer's just around the corner. We also suggest pairing it with jerk chicken or grilled salmon and have found that it is delicious with a roast leg of lamb and curry. On that note, BC Kiwi Jam is available for purchase at Vij's Rangoli Restaurant. And if you live on Vancouver Island, you can find it at The Root Cellar in Victoria.

And there's always the Vancouver Farmers Market where you can actually sample the jam and talk to us directly. We try hard to make our little booth seem cozy and love it when friends and fans stop by to chat and eat some jam. See you soon.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sweet Onion Jam Back In Stock

We swore we would never do this one again. After a rather unpleasant experience smelly fingers, stinging eyes, HOURS of reducing, expensive cost... the list goes on) we decided in December that our Sweet Onion Jam would be a limited quantity, a one time only production. To cover the cost of the ingredients that go into this jam, we had to price it at 11$ and we were afraid we wouldn't sell any jars because of that but... all our jars were gone in two weeks and people cried for more. It was a hit right away and when our friends and customers write Facebook comments such as "Sticky Spoon Sweet Onion Jam is made by angels," what can you do? We simply can't resist that kind of praise, the satisfaction is worth all the sweat, blood and tears.

And so we made more. Armed with GLOVES, onion goggles and an electric onion shredder (what a tool! We heart KitchenAid), we carried 175 pounds of onions to our production kitchen and chopped some veg. We did it, we turned bitter Winter onions into sweet, deeply caramelized onion jam stewed in brandy, champagne vinegar and honey. Frankly, we don't know anyone else crazy enough to do that. (By the way, we would like to thank the boys at La Buca and Commissary Production Kitchen, where we produce our Sticky Spoon jams, for putting up with a kitchen that smelled intensely, overwhelmingly like onions all day Sunday. However, we will not thank the boys for laughing at my onion goggles. Pfff, they're beautiful.)

But Sticky Spoon is a business after all and a company must make its customers happy, right? So here you go people, just for you: Sticky Spoon Sweet Onion Jam is back in stock. (For more photos of the production process, a description of the jam and our suggested pairings, click here.) Best of all, we have our labels in hand and as of today, we are ready to sell some Sweet Onion Jam, order yours and we will deliver. You could also stop by the Vancouver Farmers Market at Nat Bailey Stadium on Saturday, February 11th from 10am to 2pm, we will be waiting for you and we have a few samples for you to try: Persian Peach Jam will be open, as well as Spiced Autumn Plum and perhaps a jar of Sweet Onion, who knows...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Carrot Jam

The idea of carrot jam might seem a little different, maybe even odd, to some people but carrots are regularly used in sweet treats and baked goods so why not make it into jam? Carrot jam is often found in classic Indian and Persian cooking, which is where we got the idea to add a touch of green cardamom to our batch.

So, after weeks of holiday and market sales, fruit orders, jam deliveries, kiwi pickups and all sorts of paperwork, we went to the production kitchen to do what we do best: we peeled and shredded juicy organic carrots from Forstbauer Farms until our fingers were embarrassingly orange.

Then, we zested and juiced plenty of sweet, delicious cara cara oranges, many bags of lemons and a few limes as well (note to self, purchase electric juicer ASAP. oooooh, to be a small business just starting up, the things you learn.... lesson number 1000: trying to save money by juicing seven huge bags of citrus by hand is absolutely ridiculous.)

We then put on some tunes because, when you plan on spending a few hours stirring giant pots of shredded carrots, you are going to need a little music to keep you awake. You see, we make all our jams in small batches so there are no big machines stirring for us and no large amount of sugar or pectin to accelerate the process. It really is just the two of us watching over the jam, going from one pot to the next until the fruit or vegetable has reduced significantly and everything smells and looks just right to us. We assure you, it actually is a lot of fun.

Carrot jam is terrific. It has a vibrant orange colour and the shredded carrot gives it a texture similar to that of a smooth marmalade. The first bite is a little earthy and quite "carroty" and the orange juice and zest bring a nice sweetness and tanginess to the carrots. The acidity from the lemons balances the jam off perfectly and the lime and green cardamom give it that extra bright and fresh note that it needs. Needless to say, we are quite happy with this jam.

So far, we think that the ultimate carrot jam treat is to layer it with cream cheese over a dark rye bread. Soooo good. You could also add it to a dressing or directly into a sweet cabbage salads for a nice winter snack. We found it pairs particularly well with spicy curry or other Indian foods such as samosas. But we know you can come up with many more combinations. In fact, enough about our ideas, we would love to hear what you serve Sticky Spoon jam with...?!

Please take note: Sticky Spoon Carrot Jam is now available!