Freshly picked fruits and vegetables make this the most exciting (and delicious) time of year…
Executive Chef, Marcel Kauer, began making Hastings House jam and jellies when he joined our culinary team more than 27 years ago. Garnering their own small fame, they have been a staple of our country estate ever since.
Being a former homestead grants us many unique and wonderful features, one of which are our beautiful heritage fruit trees and our generous berry bushes. Much as the Hastings themselves likely did when they farmed this property, our gardeners take special care to harvest the fruit. When it’s at its a peak – ripe, sweet, and beautiful – they take it to our chefs to prepare for our delectable breakfasts and dinners. What can’t be used fresh, Chef Marcel elevates to an art – creating delicious, all-natural, organically grown jams and jellies that consistently leave our guests wanting more.
What makes them all so good? Each jam is made in a small batch and Chef Marcel is adamant about not adding any water. With just three ingredients, including a limited amount of sugar, the true fruit flavours shine. This is the delicacy that jam was historically known to be.
Our 2019 Collection
Brought to Salt Spring Island by settlers, blackberries easily thrived in our mild climate and now grow here wildly in abundance. Although they have been deemed an invasive species, we say: when life hands you berries, make jam. Their simple and sweet flavor goes well with scones during our favourite pastime – afternoon tea in the Manor House.
Our long raspberry growing season means that, year after year, it’s one of our most bountiful jams. With four everbearing varieties producing fruit in both our greenhouse and outside, our chefs have the pleasure of using this soft and subtly tart berry for nearly six months of the year. Consistently loved by our staff, this is not to be missed.
You’ve never tasted strawberries like this before. We mean it – our coastal varieties can’t be bought commercially. Luckily, our gardens produce hundreds of pounds of fruit each year in an area over 300 meters long. It’s hard to say what we like more, the fresh berries’ sweet and balanced flavour or the jam’s dessert-like exquisiteness.
Though it looks like a bright golden-yellow pear, the quince is an ancient fruit of the rosaceae family that’s quite unlike anything else. Considered inedible when raw, the tangy sweetness and floral aromas are brought out when boiled into our delicate, fragrant jelly. Perhaps best of all, our quinces come from one large, beautiful tree in the flower garden that is more than 50 years old.
Crab Apple Jam
The first fruit of the season, crab apples are underrated in more ways than one. Despite often being regarded as impractical, the small, sour apples are planted to help pollinate other fruit and were historically used in many English recipes. In tribute to our 80+ year old tree, Chef’s newest addition, crab apple jam, has a sweet and tangy combination you won’t soon forget.
Although not grown onsite, Marcel’s Marmalade is a recipe born of his own desire to do something different. The not-so-secret ingredient, grapefruit, gives this traditional British conserve the strong, sophisticated taste our guests come back for again and again. Literally. Some take home a case, some take home two, and others have been known to have it shipped across the country.
As any guest of Hastings House knows, our jams and jellies are as much a part of our old-world charm as our elegant rooms and renowned dining. Experience the enchantment, book your stay today!