Jam On | Laena McCarthy


“Happiness is like jam, you can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself” – Unknown


TITLE: Jam On: The Craft of Canning Fruit
AUTHOR: Laena McCarthy
PUBLISHER: Viking Studio (Penguin)
CUISINE: Canning/Preserving

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Featured Ingredient: Blood Orange or ClementineBy Eric Hill from Boston, MA, USA (Blood Orange) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The blood orange is a variety of orange (Citrus sinensis) with crimson, almost-blood-colored flesh. The fruit is smaller than an average orange; its skin is usually pitted, but can be smooth. The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits. The flesh develops its characteristic maroon color when the fruit develops with low temperatures during the night.Sometimes there is dark coloring on the exterior of the rind as well, depending on the variety of blood orange. The skin can also be more tough and harder to peel than other oranges. [Wikipedia]

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First Impressions
If you’re interested in making some homemade jam but know nothing about it, you’re in luck. This is a great beginner cookbook. The images are by Michael Harlan Turkell. There aren’t tons of them. But, the ones that are included are nice. Laena McCarthy is the Founder of Anarchy in a Jar. A great name! Easy step by step instructions that almost anyone could master. It will give you a good base of knowledge to really do your own thing. The topic seems hard. But, it is made easy by Laena.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Laena’s Story
The Basics
Get Your Jam on: The Step-By-Step Guide
Jam and Jelly
Preserves, Marmalade and Chutney
Sugar-Free Jam and Fruit Butter
Pickled Fruit, Syrups and Shrubs
Laena’s Library
Laena’s Favorite Fruit Farms
Seasons of Fruit in the Northeast
Conversion Charts (more than one!)

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I hope you like jammin’, too…

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The Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Really Rosie Jam Wild Blueberry Jam
Clementine Marmalade Mango and Lime Chutney
Peachy Keen Preserves Apricot Butter
Sun-Gold Tomato Jam Moroccan Preserved Lemons
Homemade Ricotta Cheese Grilled Rainbow Trout


I’ll admit it jam isn’t really my thing. But, there were a lot of recipes that had me thinking “hhmmm, I could really like that”. One of those was the Spiced Beer Jelly (p.76). It has beer in the title. That’s a good jam starting point for me.

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Jam On: The Craft of Canning FruitSpecial Features
There is a super useful paring chart (p.84). It’s Laena’s Jam & Cheese Party. Cheeses paired with preserved fruit, meat, crackers, toast, nuts and fresh vegetables. This chart will take most of the guesswork out what to serve with your delicious jam. That is an area in which I would certainly be at a loss. There are two conversion charts. I guess for this topic I’ll let it slide. It seems to work out just fine.

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Jam On can take you from novice to knowledged pretty quickly. I like that the recipes can easily be modified to suit your taste and personality. This would actually be great to do with your son/daughter to get them interested in the process. It would also make for a pretty fun party activity for all of the jam lovers on your friends list. If you have any interest in this topic at all, Jam On should be the first building block in your jammy library.

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Culinary Expertise 5.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Jam On: The Craft of Canning Fruit

Resources, Links and Press
Anarchy in a Jar Website
Tasting Table Post – Anarchy in a Jar
Anarchy in a Jar Facebook Page
Listen To Laena on Let’s Eat In 

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