Serious Jam

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Serious Jam has been available most weeks this summer at the Mill City Farmers Market. With such a, well, serious name, you might not expect to find the smiling face of Heidi Skoog, maker of an extensive line of inventive, even playful liquor-and-herb-infused jams. On any given Saturday, she has at least a half dozen flavors, some standard and some seasonal, and she’ll gladly share a sample of as many as you’d like to try. We took home raspberry rhubarb Pimm’s and a blueberry bourbon sage ($12 per 9-ounce jar).

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

The raspberry rhubarb Pimm’s is more sauce than jam, with chunks of rhubarb swimming in raspberries. It has the bracing tartness of rhubarb, the sweetness of ripe berries, and just a hint of the medicinal quality of Pimm’s. The blueberry bourbon sage has the prominent spice of bourbon and whole, cooked blueberries. With its sage, this jam would lend itself well to a savory application, though both jams were excellent on whole grain or sourdough bread.

The jams contained the titular ingredients in addition to sugar, lemon, and pectin. Everything but the pectin and the liquor are organic.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

We asked Skoog about the cost, and she explained that after booth fees, application fees, licensing fees, commercial-kitchen rental fees, insurance, organic and local ingredients (when possible), time spent making and packaging the jam by hand and driving all over town to sell, she is doing this primarily to invent and enchant. You can buy Smuckers at a warehouse store for pennies on the ounce, only slightly more expensive than pilfering packets from your local diner. But Serious Jam brings whimsy, thoughtfulness, and quality that you just won’t find in a commercial product.

Even if you find the cost prohibitive for your daily bread, these jams would make a lovely occasional treat or a beautiful gift for another jam lover in your life.

Serious Jam is available at Honey & Rye Bakehouse in St. Louis Park, Rustica Bakery, and the local section of Williams-Sonoma Ridgedale.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

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3 Comments

  1. Fred Blinkerdolt 10/03/2016

    You said it in the piece but man $12 for a lil jar of jam. Truly jam for the “1 %”. This is the trend. This is why the best food in this town is so called ethnic: the owners know you gotta make it good and you gotta make it cheap. This could be the best jam ever made but literally no one will ever know.

  2. Carissa 10/04/2016

    Well worth $12. This is true artistry. I am by no means “the 1%,” but I do appreciate good food and spend more on it than I do rent or anything else. If you get 10 uses out of one jar, surely that is more worth it than buying 2 cheap glasses of wine that are over in one meal and make you feel like crap the next day.

  3. Chard Breckinrige 10/04/2016

    The “good food is expensive” myth is partly responsible for the obesity epidemic in this country. Good, healthy food is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. And god help us if we become a country which spends more on food than shelter!