There’s something about winter and its (occasional) cold days that has us craving all things fruit. We’ve gathered three things fruity – one to satisfy your sweet tooth, one to add a little spice to your cooking and one to add a fruity tartness to a salad or winter stew.
The Jelly That Launched an Empire
In 2004, Kimberly and John Connor of Fairywood Thicket Farm in Fairburn made their first batch of elderberry jelly from fruit growing on bushes they thought were weeds until persuaded otherwise by friends. The elderberries made wonderful jelly, but they provided even more. They gave their name to the farm in keeping with an old English tale that says when fairies come through on Midsummer night, they ride the branches of elderberries like horses. Fairies plus elder branches = fairywoods and the thicket of elderberries on the farm gave the finishing touch to the name. Now over a dozen years later, the Connors are making more than 72 flavors of preserves including Peach Pecan with Jack Daniels, Raspberry Pepper Jelly and Strawberry Lavender, many of which have won awards. But the elderberry is still our favorite. $8.25 per 8.75-ounce jar. Savory Spice, 1048 N. Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta. 678-515-3999.
A Cherry-Based Sauce That’s Sweet and Smoky with a Bit of Heat
Seeing an ingredient list of sweet cherries, tart cherries and cherry juice might make you think you’re about to enjoy a cherry pie. But about 18 months ago, Angela Anderson of Marietta combined these cherry components with Worcestershire, vinegar, peppers and other seasonings to create her Cherry Boom Shakalaka Sauce. It starts sweet and then you get the smoke and the heat. The sauce is great brushed on grilled salmon, is perfect as a glaze for meatloaf and even works as a dessert sauce over ice cream. You’ll be busy dreaming up other uses. Anderson shares her profits with End Slavery Georgia which works to end sex trafficking. Available in Original Spicy and Mildly Spicy. $9 per 12.2-ounce bottle. For sale at the Friday Acworth Farmers Market, Saturday Marietta Square Farmers Market or online at cornerstonefruitsauce39.com.
Local Apple Thyme Vinegar that Rivals Balsamic
Patricia Gladney-Heatherington runs Carrollton’s Farmers Fresh CSA supporting 50 local farmers. What started as an online market became a storefront and then added Lat 33 East deli. In their certified kitchen, they turn excess produce into many products including our favorite, Apple Thyme Vinegar. This shrub-like mixture is made with apple cider from Beech Creek Orchards in Tallapoosa. The cider is cooked down with fresh thyme and then mixed with housemade cider vinegar. Use it where you would balsamic vinegar as a dressing for salad, drizzled over fruit or to add a little punch to your soup or stew. They also make vinegars made with local peaches, strawberries, blackberries and muscadines, all offered seasonally. $16 per 17-ounce bottle. Lat 33 Deli, 2078 Adamson Square, Carrollton. Also available at www.farmersfreshcsa.com or at the Capra Gia booth at the Peachtree City Farmers Market.