fudo finds friday: american spoon preserves

There was a day when jams and jellies weren’t a second thought, something haphazardly spread on a biscuit or toast as we run out of the door in the morning. There was a day when jams and jellies were the only way Americans could get a serving of fruit in the dead of winter. At one time in our history almost every woman knew how to preserve summer’s bounty. Jams and jellies became the rock stars of preserving because they hold the sweet, sun kissed fruits of summer.

Today more and more people are looking to learn the art of food preservation known as canning. But, for those who would prefer to buy a homemade jam or jelly we are seeing a large variety available for purchase at farmer’s markets and online. No longer are we limited to a jar of strawberry or grape jelly. We can choose from pear, jalapeno, rhubarb, elderberry and thimbleberry to name a few. We found these fabulous flavors at American Spoon. You can look at the rich color of American Spoon’s offerings and know that they mean it when they write : “At American Spoon we go through elaborate, time consuming steps to do what big companies work just as hard to avoid, packing as much fruit and authentic flavor as possible into every jar.”

American Spoon offers preserves and marmalades, spoon fruit, fruit butter and brandied fruit. In their shop you will also find salsas, grilling sauces, relishes, condiments and vinaigrettes. The first kitchen of American Spoon “amounted to two gas fired copper kettles that we stirred with long wooden paddles, a three-compartment sink and a maple block table where we filled jars one at a time by hand, in the basement of a candy store…”

American Spoon began long before a basement kitchen was outfitted. Two men, driven to bring America’s bounty to our tables, one who gathered natures plenty while the other, a chef, who transformed it into “distinctly American cuisine” are the force behind American Spoon.

Their story reminds us that a quality product doesn’t just happen. It takes a partnership of minds that think alike, a desire to do things the best way possible and dedication. Justin Rashid and Chef Larry Forgione began such a partnership in 1979. Rashid and Forgione have also forged relationships with local, Michigan farmers to ensure the quality of the fruit. “For almost thirty years, American Spoon has worked to build direct and personal relationships with Michigan fruit growers.”

Today we are lucky to have their superior products available to us through their website. Their kitchen has grown, but their methods have remained steadfast. Having received accolades from the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Dorie Greenspan and Eating Well, to name a few, American Spoon is no stranger to praise. Forgione is also a James Beard Award winner and Rashid is a NASFT Gold Award Winner.

When you stop by their shop be sure to keep in mind that the holidays are around the corner. Of course we all love gift cards, but who would ever re-gift summer in a jar? American Spoon sells their products individually or in gift assortment packs. Photo taken by Meagan @ American Spoon

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29 comments

  • October 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm //

    This makes me want to make jam, but it begs the question a la snozzberry, what’s a thimbleberry? Their jams and jellies look and sound awesome, will go take a look :)

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm //

      Hi Lisa…. ah, snozzberry reminds me of “Willie Wonka” = )

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm //

      Thimbleberry, that’s a good question, I’ll get back to you on that one!

  • October 8, 2011 at 8:55 pm //

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and the comment. Nice site you have here and great photos. Loook forward to reading more.

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm //

      Hi Lea Ann, so glad you came over to say “hello”!

  • October 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm //

    A good jam can truly be an AMAZING find. I definitely need to keep an eye out for this brand!

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm //

      Thank you Joanne, if you can’t find it locally, they have an online shop = )

  • October 8, 2011 at 10:33 pm //

    It’s been years since I had any wonderful American Spoon preserves. I make my own, but when not having homemade I want the quality of American Spoon. Visiting their first shop many years ago was the highlight of a wonderful trip to northern Michigan. Petoskey and the other towns they have shops in are such charming places to visit.

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm //

      Hi Jean, the way in which you describe the shop sounds very warm and cozy, never having been, it’s nice to have the opportunity to try them online.

  • October 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm //

    We forget that many of the things that are fun craft or cooking projects these days were once necessary tasks. Although, having winter fruit in the form of these preserves sounds like a delicious way to live!

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm //

      Hi Lisa, doesn’t it, gourmet preserves with a pat of butter over piping hot toast, DELISH!

  • October 9, 2011 at 3:41 am //

    My father is impossible to shop for but he does like specialty food, especially jams and jellies. This will make a perfect Christmas gift for him. Thanks!

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm //

      What a fantastic idea Jen, nothing is more wonderful than gourmet Jams & spreads.

  • October 9, 2011 at 5:22 am //

    Growing up I remember my mom making jams, jellies, sauces, juices, etc… I am trying to be like her, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll pass up a good store-bought jar. :)

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm //

      Hi Kate, canning is quite a learning curve, isn’t it?

  • October 9, 2011 at 6:08 am //

    I am one of those trying to learn the old craft of canning. But luckily there are good quality companies with great products to fill in the gaps. Your photos are gorgeous.
    Nancy

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm //

      Me too spice foodie, so thank goodness for gourmet shops like this.

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm //

      I’m not sure Ellie, but I will try and find out, if not, I bet Australia is some fine gourmet Jams?

  • October 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm //

    My hubby and I love some good jam – these look fabulous!

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm //

      Hi Kate, me too with a pat of butter on hot pipping toast.

  • October 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm //

    What a great find. Their products look so delicious and are a perfect gift to give for the holidays. Thank you for finding this company and sharing it.

    • October 10, 2011 at 11:09 am //

      Thank you for commenting, nothing is more satisfying than having a pat of butter and gourmet jam over hot toast.

  • October 10, 2011 at 8:15 am //

    I love finding others who know and love American Spoon! I grew up in Michigan and their annual “make your own case” sale was one of my favorite times of year. Their shop is well worth a visit…I had a lovely time with a helpful gentleman who encouraged us to taste nearly everything! If you mentioned a flavor, he’d bring you a taste!

    • October 10, 2011 at 11:12 am //

      Hi Katherine, it’s wonderful knowing how much pride goes into each jar, I love the idea of “making your own case”, the holidays are just around the bend, what a perfect gift. For those who are not in the area, it’s such a fab find knowing we can have this in our kitchen with just a few clicks away.

  • October 10, 2011 at 9:46 am //

    Yum, looks delicious, but I bet we won’t have this in Australia.

  • October 11, 2011 at 11:15 am //

    I adore american spoon, especially the sample section.

  • October 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm //

    LOVE the top image — beautiful!