Food for Thought

Goodlifer: Food for Thought

I understand that many people don’t want to consume sugar these days, even if it’s organic and/or unrefined. If you’re looking for an alternative to sugar in fruit preserves, well, there are plenty of fruit-juice-sweetened candidates out there. The shame of it is that I almost never find preserves sweetened with fruit juice that taste as good as those containing added sugar. Usually, those preserves taste like the white grape juice concentrate or pear juice concentrate with which they’re sweetened, and there’s little flavor of the fruit that’s supposed to play the starring role.

In fact, I’ve only tasted one brand whose fruit-juice-sweetened preserves are truly exceptional (I mean, good enough to give as gifts). Food for Thought is a Michigan-based maker of organic preserves. They produce some fine preserves with sugar (try the Cherry Raspberry, a great pairing), but their fruit-juice-sweetened items amaze me, because you’d never know they don’t contain added sugar. For instance, the Apple tastes like an apple pie filling minus the spices; similarly, the Tart Cherry is reminiscent of a good cherry pie filling.

The Organic Fruit Juice Sweetened Apple Preserve & the apples from which it was made.

The Organic Fruit Juice Sweetened Apple Preserve & the apples from which it was made.

An intern working the field at Food for Thought.

An intern working the field at Food for Thought.

Another aspect of Food for Thought worthy of anyone’s admiration is the fact that they don’t just pay lip service to a green lifestyle. Their products are certified organic; their sugar is both organic and Fairtrade. A percentage of their earnings are given to non-profit groups that work to protect the environment. Employees here are given paid days to volunteer for non-profit organizations.

Founder Timothy Young and family.

Founder Timothy Young and family.

The President of the company, Timothy Young, built his house from recycled materials and wood taken from the building site. Even the so-called factory, built largely from recycled materials and wood indigenous to the area, meets American Lung Association standards for maximizing indoor air quality and sustainability. This is no big corporate ploy to go with the hot trend in public awareness; the company does these things because Young, who has a most interesting background, believes this is the way his company should be run.

Organic Pickled Wild Leeks & the freshly picked leeks that went into the jar.

Organic Pickled Wild Leeks & the freshly picked leeks that went into the jar.

If you absolutely can’t stand the thought of eating any more fruit preserves now (and really, if you do feel that way, just what have you been doing lately?), you’ll find some help here. In addition to their preserves and organic dried fruit, Food for Thought offers Organic Pickled Wild Leeks (one of their wildcrafted line) and Righteous Chipotle Hot Sauce (also organic).

Organic Dried Apples, Organic Righteous Chipotle Hot Sauce & Dried Wild Mushrooms.

Organic Dried Apples, Organic Righteous Chipotle Hot Sauce & Dried Wild Mushrooms.

Salsa, honey, maple cream — you’ll find them all. Gift selections, too, of course. For all the (juicy) details or to order, visit the website. Oh, and if you’re interested, you can find more of my comments about their fruit-juice-sweetened preserves under their Testimonials section, one of very few such statements I’ve ever sent anyone about their products. It’s just that good.

About author
Stephanie Zonis was born with a spoon in her mouth — a tasting spoon, that is. She began cooking (especially baking) at a very early age, and for a short time even ran a highly illegal baking business from her long-suffering parents’ house when she was in high school. After acquiring a Master’s Degree in Foods, she eventually discovered the Internet in 1997. She’s been writing about food and developing recipes, especially where chocolate is involved, ever since. During those few moments when she’s not cooking or writing or thinking about food, Stephanie enjoys reading, walking, political discussions, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary. She has been a member of a medieval re-creation group for longer than she’ll admit and loves absurdist humor.
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