On a lush tropical island like Maui, it's ironic that one of the most iconic ingredient is an imported canned meat.
But Maui residents Maleta van Loan and Anthony LaBua Kaiser are pushing local ingredients into the spotlight with Maui Preserved, their line of pickles, hot sauces, jams and syrups.
Pineapples and sweet onions, two of Maui's most prolific crops, appear in different forms. Local pineapple is made into a cocktail-ready syrup, or cut into spears and jarred in a potent solution tinged with chile pepper. The onions are slowly caramelized until they take on a jamlike consistency ($12).
But the duo is dedicated to introducing the world to lesser-known Maui ingredients.
Van Loan and Kaiser work with a small farmer who cultivates vanilla beans in the Maui jungle to create their vanilla powder ($16), which we used to rim cocktail glasses and mixed with sugar to finish cookies.
They also forage for pohole, a type of wild fiddlehead fern, then pickle it with lavender ($10).
Time to can the Spam.
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