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Wanted

Jams and Preserves With A Homemade Twist

Not into DIY? We tasted more than 100 jams in search of bliss in a jar. We found it.

CURATED: Party Spread

—> The average American eats 4.4 pounds of jams and jellies each year. The sad news? Most of that is plain commercial strawberry. Which is a shame, considering the bounty of extraordinary small-batch jam vying for our taste buds. (1) SARABETH'S strawberry peach ($10, sarabeth.com) consists of toothsome peach chunks suspended in strawberry puree. The bright, floral notes of (2) TEA TOGETHER's rhubarb with lemon and angelica($10, teatogether.com) prove rhubarb needn't rely on sweet berries to sing. (3) THE VIRGINIA CHUTNEY CO.'s balsamic fig chutney ($7, virginiachutney.com), laced with orange peel and red-pepper flakes, is a subtly sweet yet piquant spread — and pairs perfectly with a sharp blue cheese. The tiny, plump blueberries in (4) PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND PRESERVE CO.'s wild blueberry and lemon ($9, preservecompany.com) barely made it to bread at all, so irresistible was it straight from the jar. Equally mouthwatering was (5) LOULOU'S GARDEN's apricot preserves ($9, loulousgarden.com), variations of which founder Casey Havre has been making since her childhood. For the 21-plus crowd, (6) RARE BIRD's pear vanilla pinot blanc preserves ($10, rarebirdpreserves.com) pairs wine and vanilla bean with hand-harvested fruit. Queen Elizabeth II eats her breakfast with (7) TIPTREE jams, and a spoonful of loganberry ($8, sourceatlantique.com), a blackberry-raspberry hybrid, proves her wise. (8) STONEWALL KITCHEN's raspberry peach champagne jam ($8, stonewallkitchen.com) shows what happens when jam makers step back from the sugar bowl and embrace the pleasant puckeriness of the berry. Have your spoon at the ready for seconds.

A version of this article appeared in the March 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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