Elizabeth Madden’s big “Aha!” came three years ago when, midstream in her studies at Chicago’s French Pastry School, she fell in love with making jams. “I just knew that one day I was going to do this,” says Madden, 39, the owner of Rare Bird Preserves in Oak Park. The idea: Update the classic French methods (copper pots, natural pectin) with novel flavor combinations—for example, a vibrant peach lavender, one of our favorites from her lineup this past summer. Next up: plum cardamom and fig/Earl Grey preserves. Ten dollars a jar at Trotter’s To Go (1337 W. Fullerton Ave.; 773-868-6510); see rarebirdpreserves.com for more places to buy.
Photograph: Anna Knott