Read on as food and drinks editor Tim Tebeau sources sweet and savory Northern Michigan preserves that will prep your pantry for the cold weather cooking ahead. The Northern Michigan food feature on sublime embellishments was originally published in the November 2015 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.

November brings roaring hearths, brittle hoarfrost and a beginning to the holiday feasting season. Lucky for us, a delicious requiem for the North’s summer harvest lives on in the pickles and preserves handcrafted by local artisan farmers and small food entrepreneurs. Spanning the flavor arc from sweet to savory, jars of peach salsa, mushroom relish and thistle honey cream serve as instantly sublime embellishments to seared salmon, goat cheese tarts and lemon scones. Homegrown consolidators like Cherry Capital Foods facilitate the flow of seasonal jarred goodness from farmhouse kitchens to the shelves of specialty retailers in nearly every town along the Lake Michigan coast.


The North’s orchards, aviaries and sugar bushes conspire to create sweet delights for every course of the holiday meal.

Droscha Farms Sugarbush Vanilla Cinnamon Infused Maple Syrup

An obvious drizzle for pain perdu, this infused syrup also makes a perfect glaze for sweet potatoes or smoked ham.

Brownwood Farms Apple Butter

This silky apple reduction is best baked into spice cakes or served with soft-ripened cheeses.

Sleeping Bear Farms Star Thistle Honey Cream

Served with salty, aged bleus and sliced apple or spread on lemon scones.

Food for Thought Wild Blueberry Merlot Preserves

This marriage of wine and Yooper fruit is best over breakfast pastries or in a demi-glace destined for duck breast or venison loin.

American Spoon Brandied Balaton Cherries

Our iconic orchard fruit swimming in a syrup spiked with brandy, vanilla and spice. Spoon over ice cream or into old fashioneds.


Earthy mushrooms, brined cabbage and bright vinegars make ace accoutrements in the winter kitchen. 

Pressmeister Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil

Drizzle over roasted parsnips or add nutty dimension to sage, sausage and wild rice stuffing.

The Brinery Galaxy Rose Sauerkraut

The tang of this quality kraut suits old-school Alsatian choucroute or accents smoked pork chops with späetzle.

Pond Hill Farm Hot Garlic Pepper Jelly

Pour over cream cheese for a vintage dip, or use it as piquant glaze for chicken thighs or jumbo shrimp.

Esch Road Peach Salsa

Channel the bright flavors of August over a piece of grilled salmon, or serve alongside pork tenderloin with Caribbean spice rub.

Northern Naturals Pickled Asparagus

Garnish Bloody Marys or use as a cocktail gnosh alongside deviled eggs, dry salumi and marcona almonds.

American Spoon Portobello Mushroom Relish

An easy, earthy answer when added to goat cheese tarts or whisked into airy frittatas.

More Northern Michigan Food & Drink

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Photo(s) by Dave Weidner