This morning was off to a good start with a coffee at Preserved BC Sunshine headquarters at Kitsilano. Karin Brauch is the owner and master-jammer and creative force behind the artisan preserves and condiments company. Karin is a kindred spirit and I am always looking forward to her market appearance and seasonal surprises.
She infuses her sugar-reduced fruit preserves with other sutble flavours, from spirits to herbs or spices. They have a real fruit flavour and are made from the freshest local produce, including some foraged berries. Last night, Karin stayed up till the wee hours of the night stirring her wild blackberries, which she shared with me on this stormy morning. It was full-bodied, deliciously smooth and slightly caramel-like and very full-bodied.
Other unusual flavours that were not at the market (some fruit is harder to find and she might make just a handful of jars, which she saves for special occasions - or special customers!), such as her slightly tart Mirabelle plum preserves, also packed with flavour; rhubarb, strawberry & raspberry preserves; raspberry preserves (which is very expensive and rare this year, because of the wet summer - a lot of the fruit, unless it was grown undercovers, has turned moldy); and the highlight of my day: golden currants with elderflowers!
Karin is also an avid gardener, and grows her own herbs from which she makes her herbal tisanes. My favourite is the "Happy" blend - with peppermint, spearmint, rose petals and cacao nibs. She also plucks these pretty marigolds for her other tea blends (which will soon come in pretty jars as pictured below).
Karin also recently introduced flowery sugars to her collection: rose sugar and lavender sugar, which you can incorporate into your favourite shortbread recipe for a memorable aromatic experience; or sprinkle on top of puddings and deserts for finishing touch. I use rose sugar in my Rosy Rhubarb Crumble. The lavender sugar will go very well with a blackberry & peach crumble.
And if your sweet tooth is tired of all the goodness, there are also savoury condiments such as the fabulous wine jellies, pepper jellies, Smiling Coyote salsa, chutneys and more; and - lo and behold: the finest fleur de sel and volcanic salts fresh from the pristine shores of the Canary Islands, where Karin spends a month or two each year to reunite with her family abroad.
Last but not least: there is the newest product Purenola, which her daughter Julia invented: it's a grain-free "granola" with chia seeds, hemp hearts and packed with nuts, honey and spice. A little goes a long way, which makes it perfect for travel for many reasons (if you know chia you'll know why!).
I could have easily spent another hour or two with Karin sharing recipes, travel and family stories and admiring her 2 golden labs; but she had to get ready for the afternoon's farmers' market at Main & Terminal; and I had to come home and blog about it!
But she wouldn't let me go without a bundle of freshly cut herbs from her lovely garden: fragrant & slightly citrusy bay leaves, a branch of rosemary, sage (which she instructed me to sautee in butter and add to pasta for the most easy & elegant dinner affair) and thyme which I am dying to add to my white peaches!
And on that note, of herb-infused fruit, I will have to say goodbye for now and hope you will all take a moment to visit Karin at her virtual home or if you are in Vancouver, check out her tent at the farmers' market near you.