What Makes Fall Fruit Special?

Hello, Everybody! Rachel here. I have been doing a lot of book tour stuff recently, meeting so many wonderful people around the country, and one thing everyone always asks me is: What is my favorite jam flavor? While my favorite flavor changes all the time and generally tends to be the one I just pulled from the stove, I can definitely speak to my favorite season for preserving: Fall!


I love this time of year because there is such an intermingling of different kinds of fruits. September is perhaps the richest month, but October is wonderful, too. The rain has just started here in northern California and the air hasĀ  taken a chilly turn, and this activates my craving for one thing and one thing only: warm flavors. Right now at home, my dinners are soups and stews, my desserts are spicy compotes and gingerbread, and hot chai is my best friend. Fall fruits – especially at the end of October – suggest spiciness and holiday warmth. Our most recent BCF creation is a fabulous Adriatic Fig jam with allspice liqueur, candied orange, lemon zest, and dried currants; these flavors are the essence of autumn to me, and it’s no coincidence that our making this flavor overlapped directly with the sudden change in weather!

In my book, I describe fall jams as the mulled wines of the jam world; Fall fruit suggests liquor and spice. Contrast this with summer or winter’s fruits: There is only so much you would want to do to bring out the flavor of a raspberry, whereas pear or quince just call out to be accentuated with other flavors. For the jam maker, Fall is the richest time of all; it symbolizes both a return to the comfort of old standbys and a world of new and delicious possibilities. We are now moving into our late-fall favorites: quince, pear, fig, pomegranate, cranberry, and tomato. Then, it will be the holidays. And after that, we will have our gorgeous winter citrus to look forward to. Marmalade lovers, stay tuned! If this Fall is any indication, something tells me this is going to be a beautiful year.

1 comment

  1. Rachel, I so enjoyed meeting you at the Ferry Building demonstration, and have already put a serious dent in the spiced bourbon tomato conserve and the relevatory pink grapefruit marmalade. Your passion for fruit and preserving comes through in the product for sure! Oh, and I posted a couple pictures of you during the demo on my last blog post.
    As a baker, I am excited to work with the fall flavors, and especially quince this year. While the stone fruit is packing up for the year, which is sad because they need little adornment or cooking, fall’s sweater weather and fruit goes together so well. Just when a hot oven in the house becomes welcome, you have the fruit that can take some roasting, stewing and poaching with liquor and spice.
    Though I admit, I froze two nectarine and peach crisps in ramekins to bake when I am missing that summer fruit!