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  • Jam Session

    Locally made preserves are all the rage around town, and all come with a story.


    A couple of years ago, pickles were all the rage. Now, it’s preserves. Everywhere you look, locally made jams are popping up, some spiked with spirits, others made from foraged fruit. All of them come with a story.


    All of craftswoman Maura Gramzinski’s wares—vintage notecards, mod T-shirts, and, yes, small-batch jam—conjure up a time when quality was a given, not the exception. Her boozy preserves include strawberry limoncello, Colorado bourbon cherry, and absinthe orange, and the flavors are pure and concentrated.

    ourpickIPA LEMON POPPY

    The sharp citrus notes are perfect for glazing chicken or using as a thin seam on a layer cake.


    Instead of standing by and watching area fruit trees’ bounty go unpicked (and thus, wasted), Kathy Lee began asking if she could harvest the fruit. She did the same for overgrown rhubarb plants, berry patches, and unwanted produce from CSAs. With these local and foraged ingredients, Lee makes sweet and savory preserves ranging from plum with Chinese five-spice to sweet pepper.


    This jam is thin enough to spoon over ice cream or pancakes. Or do as we do and add it to a cocktail shaker with bourbon, lemon juice, and ice.


    All of Kirsten Farabi’s jams are a nod to her grandparents: Her grandfather, “Puff,” was a bootlegger, and long before it was hip, her grandmother, “Viney,” used to add herbs and spirits to her own preserves. In that same vein, Farabi infuses her jams with local booze: Peach Street Distillery’s bourbon in the blackberry lavender; Colorado Cellars port in the blood orange, fig, and vanilla; and Peach Street vodka in the rhubarb hibiscus. She even makes a jelly with Ska Brewing’s Buster Nut Brown Ale to honor our state’s beer scene.


    Add this spiced preserve to grilled cheese or turkey sandwiches.
    Disclosure: Farabi is the longtime girlfriend of one of 5280’s editors.


    Inspired by a classic recipe for strawberry jam, home cook Diana Crawford began tinkering with the formula. By adding a splash of vinegar here, a sprig of herb there, she created a business. Her homespun line officially launched in January 2013 and now includes three flavors: bourbon peach, blackberry with serrano and elderflower, and strawberry with basil and balsamic.


    The balsamic tang and herbal notes make this ideal for a cheese plate. Try it with aged Gouda or a triple-cream.


    Lauren Byers might call her jams straightforward and simple, but the layered flavors belie the ingredients’ simplicity. Byers’ spreads stand out for their delicate sweetness and ingenious combinations such as apple-parsley butter and mixed citrus–tarragon marmalade.

    ourpickPEACH THYME

    Spread this summery preserve on thick toast and add a daub of fresh ricotta cheese.


    The Year That Changed Everything


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