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August 28, 2012

We Love JAM: Blenheim Apricot Jam

by Anne Paddock

Ten years ago, Eric Haeberli and Phineas Hoang used the Blenheim apricots from one tree in their yard (which used to be part of an apricot orchard) to make apricot jam by combining the freshly picked fruit, sugar, and spices (the blend of which is a secret).  The result was one of the most delicious jams ever created:  Blenheim Apricot Jam.  Five years later in 2007, Eric and Phineas decided to turn a five-year hobby into a business called “We Love Jam” and now sell their jam to the public in a jar simply labeled “JAM“…but in limited quantities because the Blenheim apricots are only harvested in late June and July – and the jam starts shipping in August.

Eric and Phineas use local (Santa Clara, California) freshly picked Blenheim apricots – medium to large-sized yellow apricots with an orange blush considered to be supreme in the apricot world –  to make their jam. Delicate and difficult to transport, Blenheim apricots are not favored by large-scale commercial jam manufacturers because the fruit bruises easily and starts to look “aged” after picked from the tree. But, their looks have fooled many a person because the Blenheim apricot is both sweet and tart with a honeysuckle like flavor that doesn’t taste anything like the apricots in grocery stores.

apricotsBlenheim apricots are not mass-produced, refrigerated or waxed and as such, the jam is only made for a few weeks each summer when the fruit is ripe and picked. There is no pectin or lemon juice in JAM because We LOVE JAM feels these two additives mask the true flavor of the apricots.  Consequently, JAM is a juicier and less thick jam than what some people are used to but the true sweet flavor of the apricots shines through and makes converts even of people who claim not to like apricot jam.

Really, it’s that good. No frozen berries or pectin or any artificial thickener, sweetener, or preservatives. For the majority of the world that is used to eating jam made from frozen fruit (guarantees the jam always tastes the same and can be made year-round), We Love Jam’s Blenheim Apricot Jam is an epiphany: a sudden and powerful realization in an otherwise ordinary moment when bread becomes a vehicle to enjoy jam rather than the other way around.

jams_copyDuring the year, Eric and Phineas also make other types of jam, barbeque sauce, caramel sauce and some creative combinations that only they can think of. Sign up for e-mails and subscribers will be notified of upcoming creations. JAM can be purchased directly from WE LOVE JAM at the website listed below or through Williams-Sonoma. Each 9 ounce jar sells for $12. Order multiples – if your home is like ours, a jar doesn’t last very long!

Sign up for their e-mails which are not only informative but often hilarious. Eric and Phineas let you know what they are making and offer subscribers special offers. They also let you know if there is a delay or if anything interesting is going on in their small production. I’ve often laughed out loud and smiled at their warm, folksy e-mails that make me look forward to the next shipment delivered to my door.


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