7 stone fruit jams to buy in L.A. now
If all this talk of jam has you scrambling for a spoon and a jar, here are some of the best stone fruit varieties you can buy in the Los Angeles area from restaurants, farmers markets or directly from the makers online.
Sour cherry spread from Destroyer restaurant
Jordan Kahn uses both Montmorency and Schattenmorelle cherries from farms in both California and Michigan to make his sour cherry spread. The texture is similar to a chile paste with nice chunky pieces of cherries throughout and it has a sharp vinegar tang (peach vinegar is one of the ingredients). Kahn suggests toasting a piece of sourdough country bread and topping it with sliced avocado, salt and a smear of the spread on top, or using it on a sandwich with turkey, brie and arugula, on a charcuterie board or on top of yogurt.
Available at Destroyer, 3578 Hayden Ave., Culver City, (310) 360-3860, destroyer.la
Honey nectarine jam from Coldwater Canyon Provisions
Rondo Mieczkowski says he almost didn’t make his Honey nectarine jam because he was worried people would think he used honey. “We’re all vegan and everything we make is vegan,” he said. The honey in the name is for the Honey nectarine variety he uses from K&K Ranch in the Central Valley. This year’s remaining jars are from last year’s crop, but Mieczkowski is in talks with the farm to see if there are enough to make more. The jam is thick — even more so if you store it in the fridge — like a cross between a jam and a jelly. It’s floral and sweet, with the nectarine shining through. Mieczkowski suggests putting the jam on toast with butter, or on ice cream or a cheese platter. And if he’s out of the Honey nectarine at the market, try the apricot.
Available at local farmers markets and via the website, (818) 235-2332, coldwatercanyon.etsy.com
Plum jam from Gjusta
“If we feel the fruit is correct or ripe for jam, then we just go for it,” says Gjusta chef Nicky Pickup. “We’re very much driven by what comes from the farms.” Sam Rogers, who buys the fruit for the Gjelina Group, says she buys the plums used in the Gjusta jam based on what’s plentiful that week, providing Pickup with a steady supply of Santa Rosa and Black Splendor plums to work with in the summer. Pickup makes small test batches and then adjusts the lemon and salt based on the fruit’s natural acidity and ripeness. A recent batch of plum jam had a gorgeous deep-purple color and a texture that offered a little surprise in each spoonful, with bits of skin and fruit throughout. Pickup likes to spoon the jam on top of other fruit. Rogers prefers the jam on savory dishes like pork chops.
Available at Gjusta, (310) 314-0320, 320 Sunset Ave., Venice, gjusta.com
Peachy Queen jam from Laura Ann’s Jams
Laura Ann Masura says she started making her Peachy Queen jam for her mother. It’s a peachy creamy jam that tastes of ripe fruit and Grand Marnier with a hit of vanilla. It’s the sort of ingredient that could spruce up any bourbon cocktail or a margarita. “My mom is a total Grand Marnier head,” Masura said. “It’s something that I added because my mom asked me to make a peach jam.” She sources her yellow peaches from multiple California farms, including Masumoto Family and Frog Hollow farms. As a graduate of the Cheese School of San Francisco, Masura likes to pair her jam with cheese. Her go-tos: goat cheese or a triple cream brie with tang.
Available via the website, (323) 364-5267, lauraannsjams.com
Rainier cherry from Arnett Farms
The Rainier jam is a first for the Fresno farm, co-owner Secil Atalay says. It first became available about two weeks ago, and Atalay anticipates it will be available through the end of the year. The orange-colored jam is on the thicker side and spreads almost like a jelly. It smells faintly of almond extract and has a sweet cherry flavor. Atalay suggests putting it on oatmeal or pairing it with a strong cheese such as sharp cheddar or goat cheese.
Available at local farmers markets or via the website, (310) 430-3940, arnettfarms.com
Honey Rich apricot jam from Ken’s Top Notch Produce
Oscar Macias says food waste increased drastically on the farm last year. “We sell wholesale to restaurants and CSAs, and a lot of them were affected by the pandemic, so their orders decreased and in some cases, just stopped,” he says. This year, Macias and the rest of the team decided to start making jam with the excess fruit. All the jam, including the Honey Rich apricot jam, is made by Kassandra Lopez. It’s a looser, drippier jam that’s less sweet than most and tastes like you’re biting into a ripe piece of fruit. Some spoonfuls revealed entire quarter pieces of mashed apricot like buried treasure. Macias and Lopez like to eat the jam on toasted bread with cream cheese alongside a good cup of coffee.
Available at local farmers markets, Kenstopnotchoscar@gmail.com
Blenheim apricot jam from Valerie Confections
Valerie Gordon started making her apricot jam in 2009 and says she always gets her fruit from Mike Cirone at See Canyon Fruit Ranch in San Luis Obispo. “The jam is more like a personal passion project,” she says. “I personally make all the jams.” The jam has a luxuriously smooth texture with bits of smashed apricot throughout, and it’s bursting with the flavor of pure apricot. She uses neither lemon nor vanilla, just the fruit and sugar. Gordon says she likes to put the jam on a baguette with either salted French butter or La Tur cheese and good prosciutto.
Available at Valerie Confections or via the website, 3360 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, (213) 739-8149, valerieconfections.com
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