Fruit and vegetables from the field to your table
The fruit and vegetable variety of the province of Malaga is seen not only in its fields but also in the wide range of Malaga preserves and jams currently in the market. Dozens of flavour preserves are produced today traditionally to be marketed both inside and outside the province. Currently, there are three major companies dedicated to this sector, two in the Serrania de Ronda, which are cooperatives located in the towns of Benalauría and Montejaque, respectively. Some co-ops make these preserves from other towns like Fuengirola or Frigiliana, among others. What they all have in common is a careful selection of raw materials and use the most artisanal processes possible. In the case of Benalauría it started as a workers co-op in the early nineties. Since then its members have stuck to their principles.
To this end they acquire fruits and vegetables grown preferably from their own environment, or of supplier companies that offer recognized quality guarantees. Currently, they are specialized in canned chestnuts (“marron glacé”, fruit in syrup, jam, creams, truffles or chocolates, etc.) Caramelized onions, roasted peppers, olives, pates or cherry tomatoes in oil are other options in their repertoire. They also make jams with vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, peppers, oranges, tangerines or figs, among others. As innovations in recent years they have launched jams of red wine from Ronda, Pedro Ximén or even gin and tonic. For its part, the co-op of Montejaque, aside from packaging assorted jams (strawberry, orange, tangerine, zucchini with vanilla, etc.) they also package creams made of pumpkin, quince and sweet potatoes. We must add to these the ‘Steviladas’, jams where sugar is replaced by stevia, a natural sweetener with fewer calories and more properties than sugar.
This range expands with more preserves such as tomato sauce, Pisto (ratatouille), roasted peppers, gazpacho or even ketchup. Both the co-ops of Al-Jaque and La Molienda Verde are also characterized by a significant production of some of its ecological Malaga preserves and jams. There is a wide range of jams and the highlights are: olive (green and black), lemon, kiwi, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, orange and chocolate, strawberry and banana, pineapple and mango or caramelized onions jams. We should also add to this list many which are made with tropical fruits or sweet potato.
The Serrania de Ronda, a unique ecological environment in Andalusia, is the location of two of the most important companies currently engaged in the Malaga preserves and jams sector. Both in the co-ops of Benalauría and Montejaque they have managed to maintain their philosophy of a traditional production of these products intact.
Montejaque and Benalauría were both founded as co-op enterprises in the last decade of the 90’s. Specifically, Montejaque was created in 1997 in order to give employment to women in rural areas that had few job opportunities. For its part, Benalauría was created in 1991 with the main objective to work with local and guaranteed products, i.e., by keeping control of the product since it is grown in the field until it reaches the final consumer.
There are other companies that have specialized in recent years in tropical and other typical products of the Axarquía. Some make fruits jams of mango, papaya, grapefruit, kumquat, wild strawberry and orange, among others. Others investing in loquat jam or a very unique preserve, sweet potatoes cooked in syrup. Thus, they market deeply rooted recipe in the village of Frigiliana.