Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jammin' in the Mornin'

I am a jam fiend. There's just no 12-step program for it. Spreading really good preserves on a warm piece of toast and then devouring it with a cup of coffee is probably the only sublime ritual of my morning.

I'm not crazy about the jams produced by the big national chains. My favorite brand is McCutcheon's, a small company based in Frederick, Maryland. Their apple butter is great, and their lemon-raspberry marmalade is out of this world.

Many years ago, I was pleased when Polaner came out with its "All Fruit" products -- jams sweetened with fruit juices instead of sugar. Sounded like a good plan to me. But two things happened.

First, along the way, I tasted preserves made by small producers that are much, much better.

Second, I've realized that the fruit-juice sweetening approach collides with the jam's flavor. Here's what I mean. If you buy Polaner All Fruit Peach, you want and expect it to taste like peaches, right? But the fact that it's sweetened by pear and grape juice means that those fruit flavors collide with the peach flavor.

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