Top Pick Of The Week

August 11, 2009

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Savory Preserves

Four of the must-try items from Paumanok Preserves. From top clockwise: Tangy Tomato Chutney, Gracious Garlic Gelée, Incredible Onion Conserve and Pindar Merlot Jelly. All photography by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Small batch artisan condiments: chutneys, conserves, jams, salsas and more.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Made from fresh seasonal produce grown on Long Island and in the greater New York area.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Some incredible products are done to perfection (see photo above).

Paumanok Preserves: The Fine Art Of Preserving

As food lovers, we regret that Joan Bernstein retired in 2010 and is no longer producing these wonderful products. However, she will accept special orders of a larger enough minimum size. And we send Joan our best wishes.


CAPSULE REPORT: Joan Bernstein’s family has been farming on Long Island—the native word is Paumanok—for more than 100 years. Working with the fruits of the land is in her DNA. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, goes the adage. If they were Meyer lemons—or blood oranges, or bing cherries—Joan would make marmalade. Her jams, jellies and preserves take at least two days of preparation, including cooking over low heat, stirring nearly continuously (with time off to sleep) as the fruit cooks down to lush, dense preserved fruit. (What’s the difference between marmalade and preserves? We’re glad you asked.)

There are jams of every description: blackcurrant, blackberry, black raspberry, boysenberry, gooseberry, Damson plum, fig, pluot, red currant, sour cherry, strawberry rhubarb, white peach...and if that doesn’t keep you busy, there are many more.

But it is the savories that are so spectacular, you’ll want to lay them in by the case. Gracious Garlic Gelée, Haughty Horseradish Gelée, Incredible Onion Conserve; the chutneys, the salsas...and as a nod to the sweet side, the Pindar Merlot Wine Jelly, a grape jelly from Bacchus, is worthy of all the gods on Mount Olympus.

Fortunately, these memories don’t need to be preserved. You can order as much as you want online, with the caveat that when seasonal fruits sell out, they’re gone until next year. But, think of Carly Simon singing “Anticipation,” and your wishes will be fulfilled soon enough. Read more about these treasures in the full review.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.


Ideas To Conserve

Colorado Wine Jelly Colorado Wine Jelly & Bread Robert Lambert Marmade
Colorado Mountain Wine Jelly. Paumanok makes a couple of wine jellies, but Colorado Mountain Jams & Jellies makes 10 different varieties, all worth taking a look at. Jam & Jelly Glossary. What’s the difference between a preserve and a conserve? A curd and a fruit butter? All is spread out for you in our Jam & Jelly Glossary. Robert Lambert Citrus Marmalade. The marmalade king of California works magic with every kind of citrus imaginable. Discover the different varieties.

Paumanok Preserves: The Fine Art Of Preserving


This is Page 1 of a three-page article. Click on the black links to visit other pages.


Introduction To Paumanok Preserves

As a member of a farming family, Joan Bernstein has always been a practicing locavore. Her craft is creating jams, jellies and related products—fruit butters, chutneys, compotes, conserves, marmalades, salsas and sauces—from the freshest locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs, harvested at the height of perfection and delivered from farm to kitchen.

Working seasonally and “a pot at a time,” Joan’s is truly a community affair. Family and friends pitch in during peak season to help process the ripe Long Island and regional produce into the goodness that fills her signature Paumanok Preserves hexagonal jars (that whale-shaped image on the jars is Long Island, the lower right of which houses The Hamptons of celebu-wealth fame).

Joan’s recipes have been handed down from family members, adapted as necessary and augmented by her collection of pre-World War II cookbooks. Paumanok Preserves are pure produce seasoned with herbs and spices (often plucked from the garden) and pure cane or brown sugar. Products that require thickening use natural fruit pectin.


Paumanok Jellies
When was the last time you saw a gooseberry jelly? Here it is, alongside the must-try Pindar Merlot Wine Jelly, using the acclaimed Merlot of local Pindar Vineyards.

While Hamptons celebrities buy Paumanok Preserves at farmers markets and local shops, almost no one outside the area has heard of them. But the job of THE NIBBLE is to seek out great artisans, and having found Paumanok, here’s our proclamation:

If you are an enthusiast of fine food, you must buy these products: Gracious Garlic Gelée, Incredible Onion Conserve, Pindar Merlot Wine Jelly and Tangy Tomato Chutney. We strongly advise a jar (or several) of the Farmhouse Salsa, made with the sweetest yellow grape tomatoes. It can be eaten with chips, but also spooned over the finest fish fillet—or consumed directly from the jar. You’ll notice we haven’t mentioned any particular fruit preserves. It depends on what’s in season, and your personal preference for Damson Plum over White Peach or the unusual Gooseberry. If you ordered no fruit preserves the first time out, we’d be O.K. with that—just be sure you try the five products we think will transform your concept of condiments. We’ll discuss them in detail on the next page.

We’ve also solved your gift-giving problem in perpetuity, because anyone would be thrilled to get jars of these—and more jars, and more jars. Taste along with us on the next page and see why these artisan products are a must buy now.

—Karen Hochman

Continue To Page 2: Preserved In Heaven

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