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preserves

Preserves so chock full of ripe fruit, we enjoyed spooning the fruit from the jar and enjoying it as a fruit relish.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE. She estimates she has tasted 100 brands of jam.

 

 

September 2005
Updated August 2008

 

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Jams, Jellies & Nut Butters

 

The Great San Saba River Pecan Company Pecan Preserves

Not To Be Preserved, But Eaten Immediately

 

CAPSULE REPORT: These preserves, made in small batches with high-quality fruit and pecans, are a delight. You’ll love them for yourself and for small gifts, including house gifts, teacher gifts and stocking stuffers.

Overview

San Saba, a town of less than 3,000 folks, is located in the pretty hill country of Texas, far from the hustle and bustle of big-city life. The town boasts the title of “Pecan Capital of the World.” Its calendar of events includes the annual Rodeo Parade and Rodeo Dance, fish fries and chili feasts; and the first Saturday of the month is Country Peddlers Day on the Square.

Amid this quieter, gentler Americana sits The Great San Saba River Pecan Company*, also of another era—the time where mail order companies sent colorful catalogs with pretty pictures of wondrous treats, and customers ordered with great anticipation of fabulous food from far-off places. Sometimes, that anticipation paid off, as it surely has for every customer of the San Saba River Pecan Company, a company that knows how to make everything well. (Look elsewhere on this website for our reviews of their Poppin Pecan popcorn snack, their Pecan Pie Filling, and other delights.)

  *
There’s another pecan company called San Saba Pecan in Las Cruces, NM (SanSabaPecan.com), that is NOT related to this company, which is the The Great San Saba River Pecan Company in San Saba, TX (GreatPecans.com). We don’t know the New Mexico people, but they are not very gracious if you call them by accident thinking they are the Texas company.

About Preserves

This review focuses on San Saba River Pecan Company’s handmade preserves—plucked from the surrounding orchards and cooked up fresh by people who really want you to enjoy them. We have tasted this line several times now, each a few months apart, and each time we’ve enjoyed it as much as the last.

Preserves are a dicey category in the specialty food world. Although you’d think they’re Blueberry Sconethe simplest product to make—just fruit, sugar, pectin, and depending on the flavor, some lemon juice, amaretto, jalapeño, or other addition—it’s confounding how wide the variation in quality is. Just line up 5 jars of strawberry preserves (or the fruit of your choice) and see for yourself.
Photo of blueberry scone and muffin courtesy of U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

Where do many brands go wrong? Often in not buying the best, ripest fruit and compensating by adding more sugar. That produces exactly the cloying types of jam we avoid. San Saba does get the best fruit and doesn’t mess with it, letting “God make the preserves,” to paraphrase fine winemakers. They add only enough sugar to bring out the fruit’s best qualities. Each flavor of preserves has—is it a surprise?—tasty pieces of pecans in addition to large chunks of fruit, which makes this line especially tasty, charming and different.

Serving Suggestions

We like all the flavors, especially Peach Pecan & Amaretto and Raspberry Pecan. But we hesitate to call out any flavors because everyone has his or her own preferences. We can tell you that among the scores of jam lines we tasted this year, this is the one of the few we will write about. You wouldn’t want the San Saba folks to spend a nickel on package re-design if it meant taking any fruit out of these fruit-packed jars. You’ll continue to be happy spreading their preserves on toast, atop cheesecake, pound cake, as a garnish on a fresh fruit plate, or even use them as a condiment with meat (we wanted to put the Raspberry Pecan on a turkey sandwich). Seven of the preserves are also made into pourable toppings for pancakes, waffles, cake, and sundaes.

Another special feature of The Great San Saba River Pecan Company is that their representatives are so gracious—it is actually nice to interact with them by phone instead of by keystroke. We are thrilled that they make such a lovely line, and urge you to try it.

 

THE GREAT SAN SABA RIVER PECAN COMPANY PRESERVES
Apple Pecan, Apricot Pecan, Blackberry Pecan, Cherry Pecan, Jalapeño Pecan, Fudge Pecan, Orange Pecan Marmalade, Peach Pecan & Amaretto, Raspberry Pecan

  • Any 3 8-Ounce Jars, $17.95
  • Any 3 11-Ounce Jars, $20.95
  • Preserves are sold in multiples of three, so you can buy any combination of 6, 12, or 24 jars
  • Our tip: buy one of every 8-ounce size to start with, and you’ll shortly return to buy large jars of your favorites

San Saba Preserves
So good, you could eat a whole jar as if it were dessert.

Purchase online* at GreatPecans.com

Or Telephone 1.800.621-8121

*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional. These items are offered by a third party and THE NIBBLE has no relationship with them. This link to purchase is provided as a reader convenience.

 

© Copyright 2005- 2014 Lifestyle Direct, Inc.  All rights reserved. Images are the copyright of their respective owners.

 



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