At Pear Blossom Farms, we believe that what comes out of our jars can only be as good as what we put into them. The following description of ingredients details a lot about the source of quality of our products.
Fresh Squeezed Juice:
Most of our products contain citrus juice, which is used for acidity as well as flavor enhancement. Powdered citric acid works fine for acidity, but citrus juice tastes much better. And the best taste of all (as usual) comes from fresh fruit. So, we squeeze the limes and lemons right here in our own kitchen.
We think that spices sold off the shelves in big discount stores are of lesser quality, so we buy nearly all of our spices from Rocky Mountain Spice, a local Colorado company that sells nothing but spices, which they process in their own facility.
Pure Sea Salt:
There are few flavor components more important than salt, and nothing matches the natural salt of the sea. We use a product that is truly pure with no additives. It has no iodine, no anti-caking agents like potassium chloride, or anything else . . . just pure sea salt made on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.
We use only pure cane sugar in all of our products – no corn syrups or artificial sweeteners.
We use apple cider vinegar for its superior taste, and we purchase it from a company in the Midwest that sells raw, unfiltered, 60 grain apple cider vinegar with the mother. Its flavor is so good that you could drink it as a beverage, once again demonstrating the superiority of small-company products over those found in the giant box stores.
There are many different kinds of oil we could have chosen for our delicious vinaigrette salad dressings, but few of them have a health and flavor profile as good as what comes from the olive. We use only 100% certified pure olive oil.
Our Peach Salsas include pickled jalapenos because they are more consistent in heat and flavor than fresh ones. And we make our own from local peppers, which we pickle in unfiltered 60 grain, not-from-concentrate apple cider vinegar.
The most important ingredients in all of our products are the fresh fruits and vegetables upon which they are based. With nearly all fruits and vegetables, there are literally dozens of varieties, each with different qualities. The differences are very important: from variations in size, flavor, color and texture, to shelf life and the suitability for processing. The largest variety of jalapeno pepper that offers the best yield for example, may not be the same one that makes the best hot sauce. With peaches, the best variety for making preserves may differ from the one that is best for syrup. Our expertise in food production comes from knowledge handed down through generations in our family about the varieties of fruits and vegetables that work best, and how to preserve their finest qualities. The secret of quality in a Pear Blossom Farms product cannot be found in the recipe; it is based entirely on the quality of what we put in the jar.
The truth about ripe fruits and vegetables: “Tree Ripe” and “Vine Ripe” are terms that are used in the food industry to impress consumers that items labeled as such are of very high quality. Since all fruits and vegetables at least begin the stages of ripening on the tree or the vine, all produce is technically tree or vine ripened. The claim is similar to the “farm fresh” label. Though at least technically true, these labels are somewhat misleading because all commercial produce is raised on a “farm” and, unless it is canned or frozen, is by definition “fresh”. Most places use these labels because they trade in produce harvested and shipped well before the best stage of ripeness is achieved. This is why better quality is typically obtained from the local farmer. With no shipping and no warehousing, there is no need for clever labeling.
It is somewhat ironic that a huge part of what separates the finest qualities of produce (flavor, color and texture) from the average, is how ripe the produce was at harvest, and how it was ripened after harvest. The irony is that the optimal, is not always achieved on the tree or the vine. Pears for example, will begin to rot in the center if allowed to fully ripen on the tree. Peaches allowed to ripen fully on the tree are still good, but are slightly past their peak of flavor. Referred to as over-ripes, they are often sold at a discount to small operations who can quickly process them into things like jam or jelly. Conversely, large producers require produce that is picked very early in the ripening process, to allow for massive quantities being stored without spoiling, and because fully ripened fruits would never stand up to the eventual handling and processing done by the machines they use to prepare them for the canning jar.
The simple keys to making the finest products from fruits and vegetables, are harvesting the right varieties at the right time, and then processing them at the peek of flavor, color, and texture. These are the simple keys that distinguish Pear Blossom Farms products from all others, making them unique and superior to both small and large producers.
Any description of ingredients we use would be incomplete without at least a mention of the things that we don’t use. Among the most common preservatives used in food production today are BHA, BHT and TBHQ. They are all derived from petroleum and are used as antioxidants to retain color and freshness. The colors and visual appeal of our products are very important to us, but we are utterly opposed to the use of such toxic chemicals. Instead, we rely almost entirely on the use of fresh produce, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), good old-fashioned vinegar, and the advice that our products be kept in a cool dark place. The only preservative we use, is an absolute minimal amount of Sodium Benzoate, which we use only in our acidified foods (Dad’s Jalapeno Sauces) to help keep them safe.
Sodium Benzoate, which is found naturally in fruits like prunes, plums and apples, is used to prevent foods from molding or fermenting. It has been used since the early 1900’s, and was among the first preservatives approved by the FDA for use in food. It has been the subject of extensive testing, both longitudinal and short-term, through decades of intense scrutiny. According to that research, there is no scientific basis for claims that sodium benzoate is unhealthful. It is classified as a substance that is natural to the body's own metabolism, and in this respect is no different in its function as a preservative than vinegar (acetic acid).