The Best Fancy Jam Is Finally Back In Season
Grab a jar of Little Scarlet before Queen Elizabeth II buys it all up.
As a person who enjoys scones, toast, baguettes, and other manner of delicious bread stuffs, I also have a lot of feelings about jam. The best jams usually can't be found commercially—you pick them up at a farmer's market, or your dear aunt makes it for you. I have tasted many fancy strawberry jams in the course of my job, and far and away my favorite is Tiptree's Little Scarlet, a jam made from rare, tiny strawberries that grow in the English countryside.
Those strawberries may be small, but they impart that is the platonic ideal of strawberry jam. It tastes like the first day when strawberries arrive at the farmer's market, sweet and floral and full of the promises of spring. It taste more like wild strawberries than those available in clamshells in the grocery store. There's a reason that there's practically a cult around this jam. Writer Philip Roth was a big fan of Little Scarlet, so much so that he wrote about it in Sabbath's Theater. James Bond eats it in From Russia With Love. And perhaps the biggest accolade of all: it's the jam that Queen Elizabeth II prefers when the homemade preserves she usually uses aren't available. This is the Queen's jam, and you can order it on Amazon.
You can find a jar at other times of year, for sure, but right now, this instant, is when you can nab a jar for $12 instead of the $19 to $25 it goes for other times of year, because the stocks have recently been replenished from last year's harvest. Supplies tend to dwindle the longer the year goes on, and by December, finding a jar of the stuff might require a wild internet scourge.
Yes, $12 is absolutely a lot of money for a jar of jam. I am not saying it is a necessary pantry staple, or anywhere close to it. LIttle Scarlet is a luxury, like fancy butter, that will make your morning toast feel celebratory instead of perfunctory. But if you love jam, and you have the extra cash to invest in preserves, Little Scarlet is worth the gamble.