I feel like you haven't had the full "kitchen experience" until you've tried making your own jam at least once. It's more craft than cooking, and homemade versions gifted from grandma's and friendly neighbors are somehow magical and awe inspiring. Emz Jamz not only serves up delicious combinations of jams and chutneys, she gives them playful names that are guaranteed to add a giggle to a grateful smile and happy tastebuds. We're happy to introduce her to Feliz this year - and planning on including her colorful jamz to our holiday cheese plates.
Name: Emily Burgess
Business: Emz Jamz
Product: seasonal jam and chutney
Location: Austin, Texas
Astrological sign: Pisces, you know, the dreamers…
What you had for breakfast: Biscuits and jam, of course! And maybe some bacon on the side.
We have to ask how y'all come up with the names for the different jams. We're sure you hear it all the time, but they're awesome. What comes first, name or jam?
Well, thank you. It really starts with the quality of fruit or vegetable, local sources/farms, seasonality, and experimenting with flavors to create nostalgic tastes and surprising pairings. I definitely aim to bring a balance of sweet and savory to each jam and consider how each of the ingredients play off the other.
All that said, I have a rather long artillery list of names ready for most any fruit or vegetable. So, they really work hand in hand. The nonsense behind creating the names is a fun escape from everyday life, and I hope brings a little grin or chuckle to the faces who encounter them. There’s a lot of unfortunate stuff happening in the world which can get you down. I’m certainly not suggesting these jamz will save us, but I hope they can at least bring a few more smiles.
Also, I love my friends and family for humoring the pun part of this creation process. They help to keep this drum beating.
Besides jams, do you enjoy pickling or preserving anything that doesn't make it into your product list?
I love cooking and jam-making is a special process which I enjoy most of all. The act of chopping, dicing, blanching, and mushing is one of pure joy and truly, very satisfying.
Aside from jamming, I’d not be a born and bred Texan if I didn’t enjoy making homemade dill pickles. So, yes, pickling is a fun process as well.
How long have you guys been in Austin? How do you find inspiration in Texas cuisine?
Formally, Emz Jamz has been in Austin since August 2015(just barely 3 months!) but informally we’ve been testing, tasting and creating for about a year. It’s an idea I had while living in London, so I’d say it began there coupled with my younger years spent canning with my grandma in the Hill Country.
As far as Texas cuisine, it’s a bounty. In any given season, you can pick the sweetest tomatoes and pluck the juiciest peaches from your backyard (or your neighbors, if you sneak!). The richness of food in this state ranging from buttermilk biscuits and gravy to a local angus beef burger is wide and varied. I think these flavors make me consider what’s next: peaches on pork, spiced tomato chutney on poached eggs, strawberry in local cider, and so on…
Though, back to my earlier reference, spending many years in London was a real inspiring time for me – in life and in the jamz. Having the chance to visit the most gorgeous country sides from Somerset to the Brecon Beacons inspired me to enjoy the quintessential British rituals of high tea and witty banter. Luckily that translates in Texas, too.
How are y'all planning your shopping/gift giving this holiday season?
I always find the simplest gifts are the best, the most important: a handwritten card, a photograph, a painting. So, I think we’ll stick to that, and special time spent with friends and family.
Which jam do you think makes the best gift for the ultimate foodie in our life?
Well, do you begin with the music fan or or the jam fan? My personal favorite for the season would be Jelly Nelson, an apple-habanero jam. Sourced from Sonlight Apple orchard in Mason, Texas, this jam is one part crisp and sweet with seasonal with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger coupled with habanero pepper. It’s just the right amount of heat, (we promise!) and hope it will keep you warm and cozy on those wintery days ahead.
1 - Knoxy
2, 5, 6 - Emily Burgess
3, 4 - Katrina Jane Perry