Idell Dew Gardens, Falls City OR

This is Marie, contributing an article about jam. Jam is something that I have loved for a long time. This love has a good bit to do with my sweet tooth, something to do with the beauty of the jewel-toned jars lining up in neat rows, and in recent years an increasing amount of interest in unusual varieties of fruit, including types that you can’t find easily fresh.

One of those hard-to-find types is golden raspberries. I am a raspberry fan anyway, and have fond memories of running around the scrub near my grandmother’s home town of Nashwauk, Minnesota looking for wild raspberries, and picking bare the stems that poked through her fence from the neighbor’s cultivated berry patch. And plotting raids, which I was too polite to actually carry out. Mind you, my grandmother’s near-constant presence in the back yard sitting area was a factor in that courtesy. The best of those purloined berries was a single plant of golden raspberries that pushed just a few stems past the fence. These berries were so sweet and so special, and I probably ate fewer than a dozen of them in total – entirely disproportionate to their impact on my memory.

You can imagine when, a few years ago, I saw some golden raspberry preserves in a commercially available brand that is no longer available in any local store (Stonewall Kitchen). I was so happy to have found it, and then so sad when the variety disappeared. I wondered why for a long time, until I went to an ice cream tasting recently. While talking about the ways they choose new flavors, the presenter explained that there is only a limited number of people who like raspberry at all, and of those, not many will eat it on a regular basis. If raspberry is a small subset, and golden raspberry a subset of that, I can see why the jars got dusty and didn’t sell. People don’t know what they are missing. Golden raspberry is a distinct and different flavor, less tart and more sunny. To me, it tastes like summer.

So anyway, as fall has moved in to stay, I was jonesing for the taste of summer and I did some internet searches. Nobody was selling golden raspberry jam, though I did find a couple of people selling golden raspberry and pear. That is apparently slowly getting a reputation as something special, as Googling the combination led to some commentary about jam blends that made for some interesting reading, even if it wasn’t much help in getting closer to the target. As I was doing some of my online research, it seemed pretty clear that the folks writing about jams and jellies seemed to find the most exciting things in the Pacific northwest, many of them interesting blends like golden raspberry and blueberry, or golden raspberry and pear. However, it was not what I wanted, and I looked elsewhere for a while to no avail. Eventually I sent a message to an Etsy seller with some of the raspberry-pear, asked if she had any without pear, and was happy to hear she did. So I ordered some of both kinds (just to give a fair comparison) and while the taste of the raspberry pear is quite nice (the flavors blend very well, though the texture of pear jam isn’t my most favorite), I loved the plain golden raspberry. There are two more jars in the pantry that will be saved for the depths of winter.

In the meantime, I also tried some of her peach jam, and she threw in a freebie, rose petal jelly. Both are lovely, eye-filling, and far more photogenic than the raspberry both in the jar and on the bread; I found the peach to be tasty, and my son really enjoyed the rose petal jelly straight off the spoon. Rose petal jelly is not at its best on toast, however. I looked around a bit, found an online suggestion and stirred it into some hot tea with pleasant results, so the rest of it is going to be used up that way. Unless the toddler gets hold of the jar.

Please remember that if this makes you want to place an order, that Etsy folk rarely have large stocks of product and what you read about now may not be available later. However, this seller is extremely sweet and the products I have tried so far have been quite nice, so if you want some too here is the link to her store.


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