In a Classic PB&J or Glaze for a Ham, Fogwood Farm’s Balsamic Grape Hull Jam Is Compulsively Edible | Food Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

In a Classic PB&J or Glaze for a Ham, Fogwood Farm’s Balsamic Grape Hull Jam Is Compulsively Edible 

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS
  • Illustration by Christopher Williams

As an avowed jelly junky, I know there are as many jewel-toned jars of sweetness as there are tweens at a Justin Bieber concert. There are plenty of imaginative spreads for the carb of your choosing and even more that nobody in their right mind should ever spread on anything. It can be both confusing and intimidating.

But fear not. There's actually one versatile local jam that makes the best peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich ever. It comes from a farm in Reidsville called Fogwood. It's grape, but Welch's never sold a grape like this. They call it Balsamic Grape Hull Jam. It contains the eponymous balsamic and grape hulls as well as cinnamon, clove, salt and pepper, and Fogwood-grown ginger.  It's sold in the produce section of local Lowes Foods and at the Bulldega Urban Market.

This alchemical concoction is sweet but not crazy sweet. It's spicy but not Scoville spicy. It's more Carmen Miranda spicy. With a stellar supporting cast, it takes a humble PB&J right out of the lunchbox and into the realm of lunchtime legend. Goober Grape on Wonder Bread, when eaten by a responsible adult, seems less charmingly childlike than drunk-frat-bro, but everyone needs a good PB&J sometimes. This elevated version is the answer.

So, we have our jam.  Next is really good bread, not just a vehicle to transport filling to mouth. We need a rustic loaf, hearty and handmade by a master baker like La Farm's Lionel Vatinet. His seasonal buckwheat is perfect: chewy yet tender, spicy but slightly sweet.

Then comes the PB. Big Spoon Roasters, a Durham company that won a 2017 Southern Living Food Award, is a terrific choice. They produce tons of flavors with the finest ingredients, creativity, and a wicked Bull City sense of humor. You don't even need your spread to be solely of the peanut variety—dealer's choice. But the peanut-pecan is pretty darn dreamy. Just saying.

But Fogwood's Balsamic Grape Hull Jam is more versatile than that. If you feel like rolling up your sleeves, well, every holiday, I make a big ham for our family. It's the culinary centerpiece. I've made hundreds of them, which means I have some thoughts on preparing and flavoring what should be a bona fide porcine showstopper.

Chinese five-spice powder should be a legally mandated part of every ham glaze.  The zippy seasoning is made of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns. It's ubiquitous in Chinese cuisine but also pairs perfectly with the salty complexity of ham. The spices in the jam share many of the same notes. And that makes it the perfect sweet element in a glaze.

Holiday Ham with Fogwood Jam

Equipment: Roasting pan, kitchen towel, knife, tongs, pastry brush. Takes approximately 5-8 hours.

Glaze:

3 cups Fogwood Balsamic Grape Hull Jam, warmed then strained

2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

3 bay leaves

1 ¼ teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Pinch of salt

4 cups chopped, toasted walnuts

½ city ham, shank or butt end

Preparation:

For glaze, whisk together all ingredients except walnuts and ham. Simmer on low until it's reduced to a syrup.  Cool, then refrigerate. 

Preheat oven to 250.

Line roasting pan bottom with towel. Pat ham dry. Cut through skin and fat in diamond pattern. Place ham in pan, cut side down. Insert probe thermometer set to 120 into ham center, away from bone. Cover tightly with foil and bake until temperature is reached.

Remove from oven, discard foil. Turn oven to 325. Remove and discard skin and thicker pieces of fat.

Firmly brush on glaze. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to set. Press even layer of nuts over ham. Turn probe to 140 and return to oven.

At 140 degrees, remove from oven, and place on platter. Rest, lightly covered, for 30 minutes.

Serve hot or cold.

The jam also makes an easy dressing that works on almost any salad. Just throw a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon each of Dijon and Fogwood jam, salt and pepper, and a shallot into blender.  While blending, slowly drizzle in three-quarters of a cup of olive oil. Check for seasoning and use immediately.

Even just a tablespoon or two stirred into food imparts a lightly sweet, complex depth of flavor. It superbly enhances dishes like chili, slow-cooked spaghetti sauce, gumbos, and even Brunswick stew.

Fogwood's Balsamic Grape Hull Jam is gloriously versatile. It's delicious by itself, but also works and plays well with others.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Food Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

Don't waste your $$ here. Horrible service, mediocre food. From what we heard - kitchen turnover is the issue due …

by Ibaguru on Piedmont Restaurant (Durham County)

I don't want to give this place any stars. We were just there this past weekend and the service was …

by Ibaguru on Piedmont Restaurant (Durham County)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

The people of Cleveland have a different version of a steamer.

by Shocka Kahn on Kaffeinate’s Iced Okinawan Steamer Is Summer’s Answer to Pumpkin Spice (Food Feature)

From Paragraph 3. Quote " It has long filled its labor pools with migrant workers willing to do the dirty, …

by Timothy Oswald on The Immigrants Packing Your Butterball Turkey Are under Threat (Food Feature)

"Might we suggest the next time the author visits a Tiki bar, she could perhaps ask the Bartender to add …

by Jacob Crim on The Triangle's Tropical Drinks Are Mighty Tasty, but Their History Is Harder to Swallow (Food Feature)

If memory serves, the whole lawn culture thing was started by medieval British & French aristocrats, in order to a] …

by Jon Howell on Urban Agriculture Could Potentially Produce a Tenth of the World's Food. Is Grass Really the Best Use for Your Yard? (Food Feature)

Embarrassingly low quality journalism. The author would do well to properly investigate some of the studies that were mentioned and …

by Matthew Christopher on In Carrboro's first kava bar, Krave, getting kozy is hard (Food Feature)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation