Made There: Mitigating food waste with small-batch condiments

Chef Kerrie Sanson takes jams and condiments to new heights with preserves sourced from local produce.

The commercial kitchen inside the BARN maker space on Bainbridge Island smells of raspberry, strawberry and rhubarb. Kerrie Sanson, owner of Preserve, tilts her face toward a simmering pot of ruby-red raspberries and smiles. After years of experience, she knows this jam is almost ready.

Creating a line of jams and condiments wasn’t in Kerrie’s master plan. The idea formed while she worked as a chef at the nearby Heyday Farm. During a particularly bountiful year, Kerrie pondered how to best use the extra produce. It came down to adding it to the pigs’ feed or pickling and preserving the backstock.  After attending farm and processing school, Kerrie became a licensed cheesemaker and pasteurizer. She had more than enough tools in her kit to re-envision the rendering of the farm’s goods. That’s when she developed her now-famous tomato jam.

This video is part of our “Made There” series about local artisans. View more videos from Seasons 1 and 2

“That was my number one product. The customers really liked it,” Kerrie recalls. “I thought, you know, ‘I like this so much. I could just do it on my own.’ ”

After four years at Heyday, she left to open her own business.

Kerrie’s love of cooking developed early thanks to childhood dinners at her Hungarian grandmother’s house. The idea of condiments as part of the meal was introduced during those childhood meals. Her grandmother always had jars of edible additives that tied the meal together. Those aromas and flavors of the past remain a source of inspiration.  

“Preserving and processing is very meditative. It's a process that you can't rush. It's almost from the nostalgic kitchen, it's very old world,” she said. 

Kerrie already had strong relationships with local farms and before long, farmers were reaching out to her when they had excess crops. Keeping things local has always been an important part of her business plan, from the produce and jars to label design and printing. In addition to making her line of preserves on Bainbridge Island, Kerrie also sells from the popular grocery Bay Hay & Feed, as well as from the local farmers market. It’s there that she meets and greets her most loyal devotees who visit to stock up and inquire when the seasonal items, like marionberry jam, will hit the shelves.

“One person said, ‘I've imagined this flavor for two months,’” Kerrie said. “People are now equally wanting savory jams as sweet jams. The tomato jams, onion jams and jalapeño type jams, anything like that.”

Kerrie loves offering up ideas on how to use her products. Cheese boards, charcuterie and picnics are a great way to use jams and preserves. She suggests several pairings with Preserve’s condiments that she serves regularly.

Making the perfect pairing

Pairing 1: Onion relish and goat cheese. Spread goat cheese on thin, crispy crackers and top with relish. Kerrie says this pairing tastes great with a crisp white wine. The onion relish also goes well on hamburgers, pizza or in scrambled eggs.

Pairing 2: Fig jam and sharp cheddar. Place sharp cheddar on crackers and spread fig jam over the top. The jam goes great on pizza and is a wonderful addition to charcuterie boards or a picnic spread.

Pairing 3: Tomato jam and smoked cheese. Spread tomato jam on the inside of your preferred bread before adding layers of cheese. (Kerrie loves hers with gouda.) Cook using your preferred grilled cheese method. The deep flavor of the tomato jam also pairs well with burgers, eggs and vegetables.

Pairing 4: Apricot jam and brie. Place sliced brie on crackers or sourdough toast and top with a dollop of apricot jam. Allow the brie to reach room temperature before serving.


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