Saturday, March 23, 2013

Becky's Berries: have it your way

I run across Becky of Becky's Berries with her stacks of sparkling jars of jam and other sweet products everywhere it seems. She sells at farmers markets, the annual Made in Montana show, and the Montana Agri-Trade Exposition (shown above), among many other places. I also find her treats at local shops.

And I really like the flavor combinations she comes up with: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and marionberries (called Traffic Jam; add jalapeno peppers and you get Road Rage Jalapeno Pepper Jelly); Strawberry Rhubarb Jam; Pineapple Jalapeno Pepper Jelly; blackberry and chipolte peppers (Black Bear Chipolte Glaze).

And while it's heavenly to simply spread Becky's jams on toast or pancakes in the morning, there are many ways to enjoy them throughout the day.

The following are a few ideas I came up with. I am not a chef, and in any case I like to keep things simple, so don't expect blue-ribbon winners here. That's why I'd also like to know what offbeat uses you find for jams and jellies.

I just adore grilled cheesy toast. Often I top it with sliced tomatoes or salsa. But how about Raspberry Chipolte Glaze? This glaze is also a tasty addition to a turkey sandwich.

The chipolte glazes are a lovely blend of hot and sweet. Betty at the Cinnabar Creek shop in Big Timber suggested mixing one of them with balsamic vinegar and pouring over a spinach salad topped with blue cheese crumbles and toasted walnuts. I tried this and highly recommend it!

Another savory idea is to mix together any jam, jelly, or glaze with your choice of salsa. This could top a taco or brighten up a bag of dipping chips. I think Paul and Becky make such a sweet and spicy couple!

Stir jam, jelly, or glaze into yogurt or a smoothie. Putting jam on ice cream is nothing new, but do try one of Becky's hot and spicy blends for a bright new taste.

To be honest, when a sweet fix is needed immediately, I don't hesitate to dip a spoon straight into the jar!