Michigan has a bounty of fresh fruit to share with bakers of all kinds, and there may be no more perfect recipe for using these tasty berries and stone fruits than jellies, jams and preserves. Whether you like them tooth-achingly sweet, with a dash of heat or savory, there is a Michigan jelly or jam ready for your table.
Many Metro Detroit companies have sprung up in recent years to provide their own creative recipes for jellies and jams. These small-batch creators often take locally grown fruits, combine them with innovative ingredients and turn them into smooth jellies, berry-forward jams or even relishes for use in everyday dishes or for special brunch occasions.
So what is the difference between jams, jellies and preserves? At the most basic level, these toast-friendly treats all use fruit as the main ingredient. What varies is how much fruit is used in the recipe. Jelly is typically smooth because the fruit that is used to make it is removed before canning or putting it into a jar. Jam is a crushed fruit process as well, but the spread includes the juice, seeds and lovely chunky, fruity parts.
Preserves as the most delightful of the bunch, one could argue. It is the same basic process of crushing fruit or berries but preserves use everything in the final product. The fruit is typically mixed with sugar and some syrup or jam is included to hold the crushed fruit together so it is easily spreadable on bread or in a dessert.
Here are five Metro Detroit jam, jelly or preserve experts who are making these sweet spreads for people to enjoy at home or in a restaurant.
This jam company has been around for nearly a decade now, so its recipes are well crafted and tasty to boot. These jams provide a flavorful way to enjoy Michigan’s fruity harvests and have great flavors as well. Creator Shannon Bryne only uses Michigan fruit and encourages people to try her wares on parfaits, cheeses or even as glazes for savory dishes.
Many Metro Detroiters have discovered this local craft-food company because it has been a regular at Eastern Market for years now. Its handcrafted “delights” as it calls them are great as jams on toast or as sauces for everything from yogurt, waffles or ice cream. Great flavors include strawberry rhubarb and Lotta Apricotta, its apricot jam.
Since 2010, Beau Bien Foods has been a Detroit-based producer of artisan jams, fruit preserves, chutneys and mustards. It uses locally sourced fruit to create a naturally lower sugar product in small batches for fine flavor and texture. Owner and maker Noelle Lothamer loves the local food scene and wanted to make something that reflected her own food values and tastes.
This family business has been creating homestyle jams for decades now with Michigan fruits as well as fun additions. There are homestyle offerings such as apple butter, blueberry jam, cherry jam and even hot pepper jam for those who want to kick up the flavor to another level for breakfast or any time of day.
The beautifully made artisan jams and jellies are the stars at Lula Bre’s Sweet Eats, but the Garden City company also sells fruit bars, breads and other treats throughout Michigan’s warmer seasons at local farmers’ markets.