The culinary practice of preserving fruits with sugar has been carried out all around the world since ancient times. It is unclear exactly where the practice originated, however, there is a common consensus among food historians that it was in the Middle Eastern region. The products created using this style of preservation are known by a variety of names such as jam, jelly, marmalade, preserves, conserves and chutney. These differences in name are accounted for by a combination of 2 key factors: the geographical area where the product is produced and consumed, and the kind of recipe and ingredients used.
I’m a big fan of jams and preserves as I love their rich, intense, fruity flavour. Stirred into yogurt or spread liberally onto hot toast, my favourite kind of preserved fruit preparation is peach jam or conserve. I’m also a fan of the relatively recent wave of onion and garlic based jams and marmalades that have become increasingly popular with jam makers as well as consumers.
Whilst browsing through the many fantastic produce stalls at New York’s Union Square Greenmarket this summer, I came across an amazing Stuyvesant Falls-based jam and chutney company called Beth’s Farm Kitchen.
Beth’s Farm Kitchen was established a little of over 30 years ago and produces over 90 varieties of jam, together with a selection of marmalades, jellies and chutneys. The company was founded by Beth Linskey, who was originally from a corporate catering background. Beth describes herself as being a locavore as her products are made in small batches using high quality local fruit sourced from farmers at Union Square Greenmarket.
As well as producing classic favourites, such as strawberry jam and orange marmalade, Beth’s Farm Kitchen also make more adventurous, imaginative creations, such as neachycot (nectarine, peach and apricot) jam and cranberry-lime chutney. However, their most popular product is their signature strawberry rhubarb jam – it’s a balanced combination of sweetness and tartness.
Beth took some time out of her busy schedule to tell me the story of her company, as well as about her ever-increasing range of products. She also told me about the classes that she runs in association with the New York Greenmarket to teach children about fresh produce and jam making.
You can hear the interview in full by clicking on the play button below.