Perfect Raspberry Found in a Jar, tasted on February 22, 2005, part
of the Independent Food Festival and Awards — I have a thing
for all things sour. Candy and fruit are the most common vehicles.
When it comes to fruit, Granny Smith apples (I'm told I need to try
courtlands), limes, and not quite ripe blackberries are among my
favorites. Raspberries are really one of the best expressions of
what I like about sour fruit. I love that they're soft and meaty and
filled with a very small amount of juice. And as much as I like the
sugar in them, I really want them to have a healthy dose of acidity.
When they're ripe and full of flavor I can eat them by the
When it comes to raspberry jam, I'm essentially
looking for a truckload full of raspberries. And all my life I've
been on a sort of background quest - to find a raspberry jam that
conveyed as closely as possible the essence of... well...
raspberries. It may seem like a simple task, but believe me, it's
not. Most raspberry jams suffer from three main problems. 1) They
are too gelled. Pectin is used to give Jam its gelatinous qualities.
Some Jams are just overly gelatinous. They have too much structure.
2) They are too sweet. I understand that some people feel just as
strongly about sour flavors as I do but in the other direction.
said, I can get a lovely strawberry jam if I want something sweeter.
3) They have no seeds. I try not to be too "judgey" on this site
which given that it's the sole purpose of the site can be kind of
difficult. That said, I do not understand what the point is of
taking the seeds out of raspberry jam. They are such critical
texture. I suppose for someone who's not as obsessed with just
having a jar full of raspberries, maybe seeds are not as a high a
priority. And after all, I do like Orange Juice with less pulp, so
who am I to talk.
Every few months I will notice an interesting jar of
raspberry jam on the shelf at the grocery store (or specialty store)
and give it a whirl. And every few months I am disappointed. I think
it was the fact that the Raspberry Tart Pacific Raspberry Jam had
the word "tart" in the name that attracted me. I figured that it
must at least be sour, and I could see the seeds through the glass
of the jar, so we had a decent chance of getting something
reasonable. Imagine my surprise when I got home, opened the jar, and
found basically a container full of crushed fresh raspberries.
Beautifully juicy. Perfectly sour. Filled with texture. Crushed
fresh raspberries. Wow. I've been searching for at least twenty
years, and my quest is finally complete. This stuff can be eaten
anywhere you see fit, on ice cream, on toast, on a steak for all I
care. (This is starting to feel a little Dr. Seussish.) And while
this is a little embarrassing to admit, I've often eaten it just
with a spoon. In fact, on those occasions, I've found myself down
most of a jar before I realized I almost ate an entire jar of jam
with a spoon. I don't know what's stopping me from just doing it.
Sitting down with a new jar of Raspberry Tart Pacific Raspberry Jam
and eating the whole thing with a spoon. I think society is keeping
As you may have noticed from the logo at the start
of this article, we are proud to participate in the first annual
Independent Food Festival and Awards. In fact, the host of the
tasteeverything.org, is our sister website. These awards work a
little differently than most in that each jury member gets to create
and give out their own award. As a member of the inaugural jury I am
proud to give the award for the:
Most Perfect Raspberry Found in a
Raspberry Tart, Pacific Raspberry
Mountain Fruit Company, Chico, California
They have a whole line of jams you
should try as well. Hopefully someday I can get down to Chico and
con my way into a demonstration of how the Mountain Fruit people are
capable of preserving the essence of fresh perfect raspberries in a
(Note: I got mine at the Wholefoods in
Bellevue, WA. Not all Wholefoods have it, but I bet they can order
it. I also found it online
Thirty food bloggers made up this
year's awards jury. Check out the
list of awards for more great food you may not have heard of.