Kitchn Love Letters

The $5 Pantry Staple I Buy at T.J. Maxx Whenever It’s in Stock

published Jun 7, 2022
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TJ Maxx storefront
Credit: Shutterstock/Helen89

T.J. Maxx probably isn’t the first store you think of when it comes to groceries, but it always surprises me that its food section doesn’t get more love. Belgian Boy chocolate-covered cookie bars! Tazo tea! The ubiquitous Peppa Pig chocolate sandwich cookies! I can count on seeing these gems and more every time I’m in the food section. I also always find something new and interesting on each trip — and I’ve loved nearly every item I’ve tried. But! There is one grocery that stands out above the rest. And I buy it every time I’m lucky enough to find it.

Credit: Bridget Gutish

Melinda’s Mango Preserves, $4.99 for 15.5 ounces

The irony is that fruit preserves are far from the top of my list of favorite foods. I usually prefer my toast with salted butter, avocado, or runny eggs. However, I’m a big fan of mango, so when I first saw this jar of mango preserves, I knew I had to give it a try. I snagged one and headed home to see if a spoonful would exceed my expectations.

Spoiler: It did! Upon first bite, I was amazed by the incredible flavor. The preserves have a lovely texture that’s more firm than mushy, with large chunks of mango sprinkled throughout. It’s sweet, but has a slight tartness and the flavor of the mango shines through delightfully well. (I’ve also seen a Mango Habanero flavor for those who prefer a little more heat.)

The flavors stand so beautifully alone that I could eat them straight out of the pot, but they also do incredibly well paired with a variety of other flavors. I love mixing it into my homemade (very tangy) Greek yogurt; the juxtaposition of the sweet-tart mango and the creamy-tangy yogurt will have you swooning with every bite, especially when topped with some granola and fresh mint. Equally delicious is a few butter crackers topped with Neufchâtel cheese or a warm biscuit spread with garlic and herb goat cheese, each topped with a dollop of preserves, of course. It’s become a staple on the standard charcuterie board as well. In fact, toast is about the only thing I don’t put it on.

Is there a grocery you always pick up at T.J. Maxx? Tell us in the comments below.