Staten Island Jam Maker Serves Up Bacon Flavored Preserve
WESTERLEIGH — For people who can't eat enough bacon, the rashers now come in a jar.
Staten Island-based jam maker Heidi Werner has recently added a bacon flavor to her repertoire — and the meaty spread is a hit.
The jam — one of more than 30 made by Werner's firm Heidi’s Homemade — mixes the pork with espresso, maple syrup, onions and garlic. It is used in place of the meat on sandwiches and burgers, Werner said.
“You can put the bacon jam on anything you can put bacon on,” she said.
“It’s phenomenal, and it goes great with beer."
To make the jam, Werner, who lives in Westerleigh, fries two pounds of bacon, drains it and adds the other ingredients. She then slow cooks it down to a jam consistency.
She puts it in a food processor, then jars it.
The whole process usually takes four hours to make about 12 jars. She sells it at fairs and festivals around Staten Island and New Jersey.
The creation has left even bacon lovers confused.
“Even some people who love bacon are still like 'bacon jam, what is that?’” said Werner's husband, Chris.
“You see guys that will put half-a-pound of bacon on their burger, but you tell them to put bacon jam on their burger and they look at you with four eyes.”
Along with bacon, Heidi's Homemade jars everything from traditional fruit preserves to jams made with peppers that have a spicy kick.
“Staten Island had no clue what pepper jelly was before I put it out,” she said. “They still look at me like I have two heads.
"Mostly I get ‘ew,’ but then once they try it, they like it.”
The most popular flavor is her pineapple mango habanero jam. The most recent addition to her line is a tomato jam. She typically sells three jars for $20.
Aside from jam, she also makes apple butter, pie fillings and salsa.
Werner, who is originally from Lake George, started making jam nearly three years ago when a neighbor gave her a pile of fresh nectarines. She remembered her grandmother, who used to can and jam fruits she grew in her backyard.
“It reminds me of her when I do it here,” she said.
“I found a true passion in it,” she said. “I do it every day."