There’s more than one way to consume all of the fresh local produce the North Fork has to offer. That is if you like jam, of course.
Melissa Sabbatino, 28, of Flanders, who owns Peconic River Preserves, says she takes all of the best ingredients Long Island has to offer to make her homemade fruit preserves.
“My mom taught how to cook when I was little, and we would always make jams during the summertime,” she said. “I wanted a way to showcase the produce we have here on the North Fork.”
Jams and jellies are typically made from fruit, sugar, and pectin. Whereas jelly is made with the juice of the fruit; jam uses the flesh of the fruit as well. While some processed jams use sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, Peconic River Preserves uses only natural cane sugar, Sabbatino said.
Though many may associate jam with solely breakfast foods, Sabbatino believes the spread has far more potential than a topping for toast. Some of Peconic River Preserves’ varieties include strawberry rhubarb, blueberry, raspberry, and habanero sunrise.
“I recently took some of the strawberry and heated it up just a little bit so it would liquify, and put it in champagne,” said Sabbatino. “The habanero is a great addition to grilled cheese with brie.”
Although Peconic River Preserves made its Riverhead Farmers Market debut on May 30, Sabbatino says she would love to see her business expand further.
“I would like to get them into local stores, farm stands, and even online as soon as I can,” she said.
RJ Sheron, from Manorville said that although blueberry is his favorite variety, he was surprised with the versatility upon trying different flavors.
“I never thought jam could be served with something like chicken,” said Sheron. “I actually have a friend who uses the habanero as a dipping sauce.”
Sabbatino says her favorite part of the jam-making process is watching people experience the difference between her own and store-bought brands.
“Everyone knows you can get jam at any supermarket but I love watching people’s faces light up when they try mine,” she said. “Knowing that it’s something I made by taking all of the best ingredients from Long Island and seeing someone really enjoy it, that’s the best part of doing what I do.”
The Riverhead Farmers Market is located along the Peconic Riverfront on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.