Jen's Corner - Thoughts From Our Resident Pundit of Purls & Preserves

Jen's Bio
Hello, I’m Jen, and I am a fiber artist, natural dyer, craft blogger, and occasional SBJC jam stirrer and official taste tester. Follow me on Instagram: @thesensiblesheep. 


May 18th, 2018

Cranberry Cabernet Jam

Hang on, I know what you’re thinking. A cranberry jam in May? Didn’t we just finish with all the busy holiday hubbub months and months ago? Hey, I’m here to tell you that cranberries are not just for Thanksgiving dinner anymore.

I first tasted Pablo’s Cranberry Cabernet jam the other night. It was late and I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and made myself a cup of tea and some toast. When I popped open the new jar I was rewarded with a sweet and spicy scent. The jam’s texture was thick and full of juicy whole cranberries as I spread a tablespoon of it on my slice of toast. Oh, I thought, this is going to be good. Then, I took a big bite.

My initial reaction to the toast test? Mulled wine perfection. Not too sweet, not too tangy or sour, and with just the right amount of spice. So. Good. I think I might have actually sighed with contentment after my first bite.

Over the next few days, I started to ponder and fantasize about ways of pairing Cranberry Cabernet. Maybe I could try swirling it with some plain yogurt or add it to a soft cheese and nut plate? Or I could use it as a zippy sweet condiment for a gourmet turkey panini? Or – oh – how about as a sauce for a unique hot fudge sundae? Possibilities seemed to be endless.

The next time I reached for the jam in the fridge, it was gone! I found the empty black and white labeled jar, pristinely empty, drying in our dish rack. Somebody else in the house must have really loved it as much as I did. I hope you enjoy it, too!


January 24th, 2018

Strawberry Champagne Jam

When Pablo asked me which flavor I wanted to try first this year, I immediately chose Strawberry Champagne. I mean, how could I not? Obviously it’s the perfect jam flavor to toast in the New Year, right?
For me, a slice of hearty bread with jam is the perfect way to introduce myself to a new flavor. Toast and jam is comforting, uncomplicated, and the jam is, plain and simple, the star. I made myself a slice of toast and topped it with two tablespoons of the Strawberry Champagne jam to go with my lunch earlier this week, and I was first struck by its incredible strawberry flavor. I find that the delicate strawberry often gets lost in the sweetness of many other strawberry jams that are out there, but the whole pieces of fruit and the sweet-dryness of the champagne in this particular jam actually helps highlight and bring out the fruit’s twang.
This flavor of sweet with a hint of champagne made me think of a fancy high tea that my best friend treated me to in London when I went to visit her a few years ago. Imagine three tiers of plates filled with decadent cakes and petit fours, a strong pot of English black tea with creamy milk, and a glass of sparkling wine on the side. I remember the cakes and tea tasting so rich, while a sip of the wine toned down their sweetness just enough to bring a welcomed balance to my taste buds.
This memory sparked an idea for me this week. I could bake a traditional English Victoria Sponge Cake with the Strawberry Champagne jam as the filling and recreate my own little high tea at home. Complete with a glass of bubbly, of course.
So, last weekend I did just that. I baked an eight-inch cake, using a 6-ounce jar of jam to fill between the two cake layers, which created the perfect Saturday evening treat. My only critique was that it needed more jam! I will definitely be making this cake and jam pairing again in the future.
If you want to bring a delicate yet flavorful punch to your simple home baked goods or add a touch of class to your morning English muffin or scone, I would highly recommend the Strawberry Champagne jam. I hope that you will check it out. Cheers!