⟨ Misc ⟩

The seasonal sweetness

Mitsukoji Original Hand Made Jam

texts / Ron Lam
translation / Iris Heung

食欲之秋,超級市場的入口處就排列出各種圓潤飽滿的水果,無花果、桃子、梨⋯⋯早一陣子相當搶眼的布冧及西梅已漸漸退場了,而秋天過去,一入冬,便會來到大家滿心期待的草莓季。水果是季節捎來的禮物,而果醬師小島友見(Tomomi Kojima)便把禮物抱滿懷,塞滿了大鍋子,煮出各式各樣的甜美來。

小島友見製作的果醬風味有時非常獨特——梅子與橙、布冧與橙混蘭姆酒、金柑與焦糖,有時則非常純粹,只用單種材料,來凸顯素材原有的味道——像新潟縣產的「越後姬」(Echigohime)草莓,還有不同品種桃子製成的果醬,品種不同,風味也各異。她的創意、對水果原來味道的尊重等,讓她的果醬於2016年於英國舉行的Marmalade Awards之中,一舉取得了金銀銅奬。

「由跟果農了解水果的收成期,至包裝及果醬製作等,都親自完成。用當季的新鮮水果,對農家心懷著感激,親手製作。」小島友見在自家果醬品牌Mitsukoji的網站上寫道。而她的感激並非只在言語,她也到各個有意生產果醬的農場,教導他們果醬製作的秘訣,期望他們來以季節捎來的甜美,創造出自己的味道來。

Appetite grows as weather gets colder. A wide range of fruits, like figs, peach and pear, are giving a warm welcome to the customers at the entrance of the supermarket. The season is already over for the plums and prunes, and in turn, people are getting excited about the strawberry season. Different seasons bring different fruits, the jam artisan Tomomi Kojima puts these seasonal gifts into a big pot and cooks them into various sweetness.

Instead of the typical jam flavors, Kojima has her own distinctive recipes — like a blend of Japanese plum and orange, plum and orange with a hint of rum, or caramelized citrus. Of course, she also makes single-flavor jam when she has ingredients that have a very strong character, for instance, Echigohime strawberry from Niigata and a variety of peach. Her creativity and respect for the fruits’ original flavor earned her the gold, silver and bronze medals together in the Marmalade Awards 2016 in England.

Kojima writes on the website of her jam brand “From making jam with fresh fruits in season to designing the package myself, I start the process by talking with the fruit farmers. When preparing the handmade jam with the fresh seasonal fruits, I am alway thankful to the farmers.” This is not a mere statement. Hoping to introduce more people to the world of creating their own version of seasonal sweetness, she personally visits farms that are interested in making their own jam to demonstrate her jam making technique.