Laena McCarthy teaches us to make jam

McCarthy

It happens about this time every year. Confronted with a bounty of fresh fruit we think, “This is the year I make my own jam.” But we never do. Whether it’s fear of contamination or lack of kitchen space, something always stops us short of, ahem, sealing the deal.

To help quell our fears, we turned to Brooklyn-based jammer Laena McCarthy, founder of Anarchy in a Jar (www.anarchyinajar.com) and author of the new book, “Jam On: The Craft of Canning Fruit.”

“I teach a lot of classes, and almost everybody who attends are totally smart, fully capable cooks, but they’re terrified that they’re going to kill someone if they make jam,” she tells us.

“Essentially,” she continues, “You cannot kill someone. The pH in fruit is low enough that things like botulism can’t grow in that environment.”

McCarthy had the advantage of watching her mother make jam from local produce and garden herbs in upstate New York. Her personal technique, she says, is a blend of traditional American and European styles that reduces cooking time as well as the amount of added sugar, “slowly but surely letting the fruit do the work.” The result is a fresher-tasting jam that lends itself to both sweet and savory applications, including meat glazes and even cocktails — her grapefruit and smoked salt jam is excellent stirred into a little gin and soda water.

“Jam On” guides first-time canners through the process of preserving, from choosing raw fruits to creating complex, whiskey-spiked jellies, jams, butters and chutneys.

Ready to jam? McCarthy recommends starting out with her book’s “3′s Company Triple Berry Jam” recipe.

“It’s pretty foolproof,” she says. “the berries only cook for a short amount of time, so the whole process is very quick.  … It’s pretty hard to screw up.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…