Elderberry Mary's jam

Pink Gooseberry Jam.jpg

Jammin'

By Jessica Pasko

I don't really use much jam or jelly, so when I do, Smuckers just isn't going to cut it. Nope. I want one bursting with fruit flavor, kind of like I'd imagine someone's grandmother would make.

And don't let me see high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient.

This is why I'm digging Elderberry Mary's jams lately.

Elderberry Mary is a real person, Mary Ellen Jannsen, who's somewhat of a legend in the hill towns of southern Albany County. After the Berne resident lost her county job, she turned to jam-making full-time. In 2003 she and her husband turned a third bedroom into a second kitchen devoted exclusively to preserves. She even grows most of the berries for her jams herself and gets the other fruit from local farmers. She uses wild berries for her namesake jam, elderberry.

I picked up a jar of pink gooseberry jam this week at Engel's Farm and Market on Albany-Shaker Road. It's a little steep there at $6.75 for an 8 ounce jar, but I expect to pay for quality. (On a side note: Engel's is kind of a nice little place. A lot of the produce isn't actually local, but the shop harkens back to days long ago. Along with fruits and veggies, they carry local condiments, meat products, cheese and baked goods.)

Sure enough, the jam was delicious. It'd probably be really good on the scones I was eyeing at Engel's. Many of the berries are left whole, much to my great pleasure. Also kind of awesome -- the label on each jar is hand-written. It just seems so charmingly old-fashioned. Don't bother looking for a Web site or an e-mail address, you won't find one. Even the list of ingredients is kind of a throwback: sugar, berries, pectin, lemon juice. That's it. No Red 40 dye, no weird preservatives I can barely pronounce.

Apparently Elderberry Mary is kind of a spread fiend - cranking out thousands of jars of jellies, jams, marmalades and butters each year. That's not just the sweet stuff either. Her repertoire of some sixty flavors also includes savory varieties like garlic, raspberry habanero and horseradish.

Other than Engels, you'll often find Elderberry Mary's products at local food festivals, craft shows, the Schenectady Farmers Market on Thursdays , among other places.


Find It

Elderberry Mary jams at Engle Farm and Market
681 Albany-Shaker Road
Albany, NY 869-5653

Comments

I second this endorsement. Great products, and she's a really nice person too. You can also get her stuff at Indian Ladder Farms.

I actually know elderberry mary, our families have known each other as long as I can remember. However, I'm an Anna Mae devotee. You can find her jams at the Saratoga Farmers Market in the summer and Troy Market in the winter. She also sells a limited selection at EATS in Stuyvestant Plaza. Same concept as mary, using her grandmother's recipes.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Skate now or next season

Heads up: The last day of the season for the ESP ice skating rink is this Sunday, March 8. It's open 11 am-8 pm every... (more)

Today's moment of winter

The layer of wet snow from overnight made for good tracks on the sidewalk. And walking along today it was interesting to see what other... (more)

Tech Valley Civic App Challenge

Game on: A coalition of local groups has launched the Tech Valley Civic App Challenge, which will be awarding $18,000 in prize money for community-focused... (more)

Made in Troy: The Iris Lamp

Check it out: A Troy-based company called Lightexture is making these adjustable "iris" lamps that create a range of light patterns. The company is... (more)

Jingle all the way, all the time

The conversion of 105.7 FM to "Santa 105.7," an all-Christmas music, all year long format, is either 1) A herald that the end times will... (more)

Recent Comments

... But some of the negatives mentioned could be flipped into positives, after all the 1980 games was seen as a toned down version of previous events. In terms of Olympic infrastructure, Lake Placid has most of it already. ...

AOA Birthday Party 7

...has 10 comments, most recently from Emily

Three reasons why bringing the Olympics back to New York State is a bad idea

...has 5 comments, most recently from Paul

Jingle all the way, all the time

...has 1 comment, most recently from ace

Byrne Dairy ice cream sandwiches

...has 5 comments, most recently from Daniel B.

Orange is the new green

...has 1 comment, most recently from Sue