TLDR: Last Mountain’s Old Fashioned Blueberry Jam and Honey Alberta’s Buckwheat Flower Honey – Reasonably priced, locally produced, but taste is king – and they’ve nailed it.
Mmm…toast. Is there anything that brings you back to childhood more than PB and jam or honey on toast? Well, here’s some local favorites that are not only delicious but priced somewhat competitively with mass produced items. I know local producers need to make a profit without the economies of scale available to big food manufacturers. But I also think that local food should be accessible, where it can be, across income groups. These two products meet the mark, priced at roughly 10% higher than their mass market counterparts, and about 50% less than some of their local competitors.
But let’s get back to taste. I’ve tried 2 flavours of Last Mountain’s jam – the blueberry as shown here, and their sour cherry. Sour cherry is not a common item and I did prefer it over the blueberry, which is a bit sweet for my taste. It does have a full, fresh blueberry taste that is scrumptious – I just prefer a bit of tart with my pb. On the other hand, stirred into a plain Greek yoghurt, or on crackers with cream cheese – it is the perfect amount of sweet for me.
The customized Mason jars are an adorable touch, and can be reused with readily available canning lids, not just tossed in the blue bin. Reuse is always the first choice in reducing waste, and I love that this brand has chosen this as an option.
Now here’s something I never knew – different kinds of honey really do produce different flavours. The generic light honey you see in the stores are generally mixtures, so one pretty much tastes like rest.
I tried the buckwheat dark honey, and it bears no resemblance at all to the stuff in the little bear shaped squeeze jar (not to disparage – BeeMaid is also a Canadian company). It has rich deep brown colour and a strong molasses-like flavour. I absolutely love a spoonful in citrus or ginger flavoured teas – it blends perfectly and adds a note of a sweetness without being overpowering. While generic light honey mostly just tastes like glucose, this actually tastes like something. It doesn’t pair as well with the peanut butter, but is still tasty. The bottle says it is perfect for homemade barbeque sauce and I absolutely can’t wait to try it as soon as the weather settles into a solid late spring pattern. I think it would likely add great flavour to various sweet marinades that normally call for honey or molasses, and even baked beans. If I get ambitious and start experimenting I’ll let you know – in the meantime, grab a jar and try it yourself. (What, I gotta write AND cook – come on…really.)
I haven’t been able to locate any further information about Honey Alberta on the intrwebs. I found it at Calgary Co-op stores. If you can’t find it, I encourage you to seek out another locally sourced buckwheat honey and give it a taste.
This particular product is pasteurized. There’s much debate about the risks and benefits of raw honey versus pasteurized. I tend to go with pasteurized products as I have a sensitive tummy – but the same brand has a creamed raw light version as well.
As for the Last Mountain’s Old Fashioned jams, although the Southey, Saskatchewan farm doesn’t have a social media presence, it is widely available at a wide range of supermarkets, including the large chains and even Amazon. I would encourage you to check for it at a local vendor, but if you can’t find it, then Walmart and Costco do stock it. I went back and bought a small jar of cherry, and a larger jar of the Haskap berry jam. I haven’t tried Haskap products before – I’m told they taste like a more tart version of a blueberry.
While we’re talking jam – here’s a Lazy Cook Tip:
I was craving cake and it just so happened I had a carrot cake mix in the cupboard. I really didn’t want to make icing, and more importantly, have to wait for the cake to cool. I baked it in a 13 × 9 pan, and just for fun added a little bit of my Silk Road Chai Baking Spice. As soon as it came out of the oven, I poked holes all over with a toothpick. Meanwhile, I had some Ginger marmalade, so I melted about half a cup in the microwave and poured it over the still warm cake.
From thought to taste was about an hour – and most of that time I was watching TV. Fantastic with a bit of whipped cream or ice cream. As it cooled, the jam settled in and has made for a snack cake with a bit of zip. I think this would work nicely for other combos – I’m thinking a lemon mix with blueberry or Haskap jam would be scrumptious. Vanilla and any citrus marmalade, or any berry jam would work, depending on how sweet you like your cake.
I stumbled across a coffee flavored jelly at a farmers market that would be awesome with spice, chocolate, or mocha. The combos are endless.
If you try this, please comment or send me a message as to how it turns out!