The Simple Pleasures of Jam

Happy New Year! Here at Single Variety Co, we’ve decided that this month is JAM-uary. To beat the blue as we start the new year and to celebrate the wonderfulness of jam, I thought I’d share with you a piece that I wrote for a feature in Speciality Fine Food Magazine, which I think sums up why we think jam is so great and deserves a month dedicated to it.

“The amazing thing about jam is that it preserves delicious fruit when it is in season, in abundance and at its tastiest, and then it can be enjoyed all year round. Once you have a fabulous tasting jam, it can be used in a variety of ways and not just on toast! From topping granola and yoghurt or porridge for your breakfast, through to being stirred through a delicious dessert to end your meal, the simple pleasures of jam can be experienced in so many ways.

strawberry jam

The trickiest art in jam making is preserving the fresh fruit flavour. You want the fresh fruitiness to burst through no matter what you choose to eat your jam with. To achieve this, having the right balance of fruit and sugar, the right cooking time and the best tasting fruit, are all really important factors in making jam. Looking to traditional jams as inspiration is a great starting point to create a seriously delicious jam.

A traditional jam would have a 50:50 ratio of fruit and sugar and we used this as a starting point in our recipe development for Single Variety Co. With a vision to get the freshest fruitiest product, we managed to pack even more fruit into our recipes.

Jam cooking

Cooking jam for the shortest time possible is best for flavour, but it is a real balancing act ensuring that you still achieve a good set on your jam. A classic recipe would always advise to regularly check the setting point once your jam is boiling.

Finally, having the best tasting fruit will ultimately give you the best jam. We’ve seen a trend for adding flavours to jams, but we’ve found that to get the most pleasure and versatility out of jam, keeping it simple and showcasing the fruit is the best way to go. That is why at Single Variety Co we work with our farmers to select the very best variety of fruit for each of our recipes.”

blackberries

 If you fancy stocking up on delicious jams this JAMaury, our range is available to buy online.

Much jam love,

Kate x

Merry Christmas! Our Top 12 for 2018

With only 4 days until Christmas, we’re hanging up our aprons today and having a well-earned rest. Nicola is jetting off on a much-needed holiday, whilst Izzy and I are spending some time with our families.

At this time of year, people generally reflect on this year as well as start to look to the year ahead. Looking at 2018 for Single Variety Co, we have had a lot of highlights as well as facing many challenges along the way too.

Here are our top 12 highlights for 2018:

single variety co team

1.    Growing our team and we are now a team of 3!

2.    Launching in the Unearthed pop up deli in Waitrose, Richmond.

great+taste+award+winners

3.    Winning 3 Great Taste Awards for our Lemon Drop Chilli Jam, Maravilla Raspberry Preserve and King George Blackberry Preserve. Read all about it here.

4.    Launching Flair Strawberry Preserve and Ben Starav Blackcurrant Preserve this summer.

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5.    Being chosen out of thousands of small businesses to be a SmallBiz100 for 2018. See how we made our video here.

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6.    Winning the Fresh Discovery Award at Speciality and Fine Food Fair for our Lemon Drop Chilli Jam.

7.    We launched in our 100th stockist earlier in 2018. Scott’s of Alnmouth is a beautiful deli and cafe in Northumberland.

8.    We launched in our first distributor, Springvale Foods, in the summer and have since featured in their Christmas brochure.

Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator

9.   Nicola was accepted onto the NatWest entrepreneur accelerator scheme and started with them this October.

chilli jams

10.  We’ve updated our chilli jam labels to make it easy for you to know what to do with them. Now each label has three eating ideas.

11.  We launched Orange Habanero Chilli Jam as a new limited edition flavour this winter.

12.  Having fantastic, supportive and loyal customers. Thank you to all of you for loving our jam as much as we do this year. We hope you all have a lovely Christmas and we’ll see you in the New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Kate x

Christmas Jam Recipes

With less than 2 weeks to go until Christmas, I don’t know about you, but here at Single Variety Co we’re thinking about food and recipes, including festive ideas of how to use our chilli jams and fruit preserves. 

Whether you’re planning your food for Christmas Day, hosting a party over the festive season, or relaxing on the sofa watching Christmas specials on TV, we have compiled our top 5 jam recipe ideas for this Christmas. They are all quick, really simple to do and most importantly taste delicious!

mulled wine

1.    Blackberry Mulled Wine

It’s not Christmas without a warming glass of mulled wine to wash down your mince pie. Add a couple of dollops of King George Blackberry Preserve to mulled wine, warm, mix well and sieve before serving.

cheeseboard

2.    Chilli Jam Cheeseboard

Our range of chilli jams taste delicious with cheese and so will work perfectly on any cheeseboard this Christmas. 

Nicola loves Anaheim Chilli Jam with Blackwoods Cheese Company Graceburn, which is a Persian Fetta that is much creamier than a traditional Greek feta. Izzy’s favourite is our Lemon Drop Chilli Jam with Taleggio, whilst I would go for Jalapeño Jam with Manchego.

crisps and chilli jam dip

3.    Crisps and Chilli Jam Dips

Make your dips more interesting by adding a spicy twist. Stir Anaheim Chilli Jam through guacamole, Jalapeño Jam through salsa and Orange Habanero Chilli Jam or Lemon Drop Chilli Jam through soured cream dip. Our chilli jams are also tasty when mixed into houmous.

jam tart

4.    Jam Tarts

Making jam tarts is a quick and delicious way to use up any leftover shortcrust pastry you have, which is perfect if you find yourself with some after you’ve made your mince pies. Use your favourite jam; I love Maravilla Raspberry Preserve in mine.

And if you fancy turning your jam tart into a speedy, tasty dessert, then make larger tarts using a tartlet tin. Top with some fresh fruit and serve with thick cream or ice cream for some added indulgence.

glazed gammon

5.    Orange Habanero Chilli Jam Glazed Ham

Our chilli jams are so versatile, and one way we love to use them is as a glaze on meat, and our Limited Edition Orange Habanero Chilli Jam is no exception. 

Once you’ve cooked your ham in water, preheat your oven to 200C (fan). Place your ham into a roasting tray and spread your chilli jam evenly over the ham. Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes until caramelised.


I hope these recipes add a sweet, jammy twist to your Christmas.

Much jam love,

Kate x


Jam at Borough Market…Top 10 Tips for Running a Market Stall

This week we started selling our fruit preserves and chilli jams at Borough Market for the next 3 weeks in the run up to Christmas. When Borough Market invited us to have a stall there this Christmas, we were completely honoured to get the opportunity to sell our products here.

Food markets are where Nicola first sold Single Variety Co jams and preserves, and over the last two years she has built up a wealth of experience of running a market stall. So, I decided to pick her brains and discover her top tips for running a market stall to share with you in this week’s blog.

Nicola laughing Single Variety Co at Borough Market

Nicola laughing Single Variety Co at Borough Market

 1.    Plan your logistics

Market stalls, particularly in London, are usually difficult to get really close to, especially in a car / van, so make sure you know where to park, how you’re going to transport everything to your stall. We would recommend getting a trolley for this. For Borough Market we are using a really big suitcase!

single variety co at borough market

2.    Think about how the stall will look for the customer

Having an inviting and enticing display will really help attract customers to your stall. Make it really easy for them to identify your brand and products. Check your stall throughout the day to ensure it stays looking how you want it to.

3.    Give yourself more time to set up than you think you need

We still find that setting up a stall always takes longer than we think so plan in extra time to set up. You don’t want a market opening and you’re not ready to sell. 

4.    Draw customers in

You want to get as many people to your stand as possible, so think about how you’re going to draw them in. Talk to customers as well as thinking about offers and tasters.

single variety co promotion

 5.    Have a special offer

You may want to have a special offer at your market stall to attract customers in. Try a few out and see which works best for you. Display your offer really clearly for customers to see.

jam taster samples

6.    Have samples to taste

The best way to sell food is to let customers taste how amazing your product is. We always have tasters available and encourage customers to try our products. Make sure you’re fully prepared for tasting and think about how customers will taste it. For example, we use crackers to sample our jams with. Routinely check the stall to keep it clean and clear of rubbish, and that samples are topped up. 

Izettle payment

7.    Make payment easy

We would recommend having a card machine available as increasingly customers will not have any cash on them. We use Izettle. For cash payments, remember to bring lots of change with you. 

8.    Plan for the weather

It sounds obvious but wrap up really warm in the winter! And if it gets really hot and you need to keep your products cool, make plans for this too.

9.    Befriend your neighbours

Being at a market alone all day can be really difficult when you need a break, so make friends with other stall holders so you can cover each other’s stand. 

 10.  Find the right market for you

And finally, not every market will be right for your product or brand. There are a lot of food markets out there, so we would suggest spending the time to find the right one for you.

If you’re in London, we’ll be at Borough Market every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until Christmas, so pop by to get your jam for Christmas. 

Much jam love,

Kate x