The good hawkers at a farmer's market have a way of luring you closer to hear their pitch. Without that skill, I would have kept right on walking past the Sola Jam booth at the SoCo Farmers Market and their selection of freshly-canned fruit preserves.
At their market booth, Sola samples six or so varieties of hand-jarred preserves in traditional, as well as inventive, original flavor combinations. "Irresistible Strawberry," spiked with balsamic vinegar, tastes straightforward yet special at the same time. Thickened only with the fruit's natural pectin and a little bit of sugar, this home-made fruit preserve has a looser, juicier consistency than store-bought jams gelled with a ton of added sugar and pectin.
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Their loose, juicy style of jam studded with chunks of fruit carries over to the other flavors. Seductive Peach sings sweet, and lemon-tart with a Persian lilt of rose water lifting the finish. Cheeky Jalapeño Kiwi adds a chile heat to the fruit's sweet acid that would pair just great with a rich cheese plate, or savory meat entree. Pucker Up Berries combines whatever berries are in season into a delicious purple drizzle that'll end up dripping on the kitchen counter, your shirt, or forearm, and makes any of those surfaces fair game for the 5 Second Rule with Tongue.
Don't ask me how I know these things.
Sola cooks all of their preserves, salsas and sauces in Santa Ana, and sells consumer-direct at nearly 20 Orange County farmers markets. Their schedule of markets is available on their website, solajam.blogspot.com