8021 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63117
Ph: 314-862-COOK (2665)
Store Hours
Mon-Sat 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
Sun 12 to 5 pm

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People who are passionate about food, often called foodies, are a thrill to meet. Today, I was fortunate to meet Justin Rashid, the founder of American Spoon, who produces a stunning variety of fruit-based condiments. He took us on a tour of his production facility in Petoskey, Michigan.

American Spoon uses all kinds of fruits to make wonderful jams, jellies, salsas, mustards, fruit butters, and other condiments. Some fruits, like elderberry, thimbleberry, and gooseberry, are picked wild in northern Michigan. The jams are made in small batches in copper kettles so that the water in the fruit evaporates and thus less pectin and sugar are needed to jell the jam. I have always put a pat of butter in the jam pot to keep the foam down while the jam is boiling, but he recommends rapidly whisking the mixture to evaporate the foam on the surface.

I also learned that the taste of fresh fruits in a jar dissipates over time, so the jam tastes best if the fruit is frozen fresh, then the jam made, canned, and eaten within a four-month period. There go my dusty and well-aged home canning projects still lingering in the basement!

Justin Rashid said, “I’m not making efficient jam like Smuckers, I am making pleasure. I’m interested in quality of life.” Indeed the cherry-red floors and intricate bottling machinery of his plant seemed very compact and efficient, but he gets of luxury of producing food that he likes to eat. What a pleasure! The American Spoon store in Petoskey is worth a visit — if only to see his charming and movie-star-handsome son.

Besides toast, the next best way to enjoy jam is this old-fashioned cake:

Jelly Roll Cake

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup fruit jam

Whisk the yolks with 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and vanilla until very pale and thick. Whip the egg whites until stiff, then add the 1/4 cup of sugar and whip for another minute until glossy. Sift the flour onto the top of the egg whites. Pour in the egg yolks. Very gently, fold, by hand, all three mixtures together. Spread on a lined half-sheet pan or jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until the top gently springs back. Meanwhile, melt the jam. Immediately when the cake comes out of the oven, spread the top of the cake with the jam. Very tightly roll up the cake. Let cool. Trim the edges and sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.