A Dark Matter

Try tea, jelly and jam made with wine-like aronia berries

We take pride in an organized kitchen.

But open the correct two doors and you'll be faced with the packed-in, overflowing proof of dual obsessions: jam and tea.

To our cabinets' chagrin, but palate's pleasure, we found an addition to each bounty during a recent trip to the Sunny Lane Aronia stand at the Evanston farmers' market.

There, Theresa Santiago sells jam, jelly and tea made from organic, antioxidant-packed aronia berries.

The jam ($8), a thick spread made with pulverized whole berries, has a flavor reminiscent of blueberries and dried cherries, a wine-like tannic bite, and a grainy texture that we prefer mixed with another ingredient (peanut butter works nicely). Santiago's jelly ($8) is smoother, made from the berries' juice and pulp, and needs only a piece of toast to shine.

The leftover skins and pulp are dried, crushed and packed into tea bags ($4) with organic hibiscus and orange peel to create a lushly fruity brew that's especially excellent iced. For the cheese board, there's hot pepper jelly, made with aronia juice and more than 10 kinds of peppers from Santiago's farm.

Birds ravaged this summer's harvest, but Santiago is stocked with tea and preserves, and will bring a batch of smoothie-ready frozen berries to the market in about a month, once the weather cools.

Find Sunny Lane Aronia products at the Downtown Evanston farmers' market, City ProvisionsIrv & Shelly's Fresh Picks and, on Wednesday, 9/21, only, at the Green City Market.