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Your Guide to the Best Artisan, Farmer, Food & Flea Markets

Hand-Foraged Wild Beach Plum Preserves – Intrigued Yet?

Josephine's Feast Beach Plum Window

Josephine’s Feast Beach Plum Window

The beautiful blue banner and the inviting display of blue  jars drew me and James into the tent of Josephine’s Feast on a recent Saturday in Union Square. One particular jar filled with Hand-Foraged Wild Beach Plum Preserves sounded especially intriguing.

Chef Laura O’Brien makes wonderful small-batch preserves and jams. Her Wild Beach Plum Preserves begin with her professional forager, named Ron G., who combs the shores of Long Island for the plums, as well as wild grapes, wild cherries and wild cranberries. Beach plums are quite small, about the size of an olive, and they have a large pit, so it takes a huge amount of fruit – and effort –  to make a jar of the preserves.

Wild Beach Plum (photo courtesy of Josephine's Feast)

Wild Beach Plum (photo courtesy of Josephine’s Feast)

I love plum preserves and plum tarts, but I’d never heard of wild beach plums, let alone tasted them. I found the preserves beautifully plummy, with just enough sweetness and that ever-so-light plum bite that I love so much. I’m now a big fan of the wild beach plum.

Chef O’Brien wrote a wonderful story, “Stalking the Wild Beach Plum,” on the Josephine’s Feast blog (including a photo of Ron, the forager) about how she began making this particular kind of preserves. The product has won the Good Food Award in 2013. It is a finalist again for 2016 (winners to be announced on January 15, 2016), which means that I’m not the only one who absolutely loves it. I make fresh biscuits and slather them with butter and these preserves for a luscious breakfast. The flavor is rich, and a little bit goes a long way. That’s saying a lot for me, because I like a lot of preserves on my biscuits.

In addition to her jams and preserves,  Chef O’Brien has also makes sauces, glazes, rubs, chutneys and granola.

For the holidays, Josephine’s Feast is featuring apple preserves made from Newtown Pipin Apples, an American heirloom species: Heirloom Apple Butter with French Gingerbread Spice and Heirloom Caramel Apple Preserves.

“The apples in these heirloom preserves came from a 100-year old Newtown Pipin tree that grows near Shinnecock Bay on Long Island,” she says. “We had a windfall of 42 bushels.”

You can meet Chef O’Brien in person and try all of her beautiful, delicious products every Saturday at the Union Square Greenmarket. Or you can shop for all her products at JosephinesFeast.com. They make wonderful gifts!

And speaking of gifts: Markets of New York City readers can enjoy 15% discount for online purchases! Use the code MNYC at checkout!

~Karen Seiger, Markets of New York City

 

 

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