Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Musings by Knitwits - Jam On by Laena McCarthy

This months selection is for the cooks in the audience.  Ever wanted to try your hand at making Jam:

Published: August 2012
Publisher: Studio
Pages: 272
Copy: Publisher and Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads

In Jam On, New York’s “Jam Queen” Laena McCarthy shares her love of making inventive handmade jam with delicious recipes and canning techniques. Her down-to-earth approach and unique, easy method allows even the novice cook to make fresh and exciting jam. The recipes in Jam On use less sugar, making the jams not only healthier, but more intensely flavorful than your average fruit concoction. With step-by-step instructions and four-color photographs throughout, McCarthy guides readers through the canning process and offers inventive herb and spice combinations for a range of signature jams.

Recipes include:
• Grapefruit & Smoked Salt Marmalade
• Strawberry Balsamic Jam
• Easy Like Sunday Morning Blueberry Preserves
• Tiny Strawberry Preserves with Thai Basil
• Rhubarb Hibiscus Jam
• Spiced Beer Jelly
• Hot Fireman’s Pear Jam
• Lime & Pandan Marmalade
• and much more

Last year I spent a fair bit of time making jam.  160 jars of it in fact, that we used as favours at my daughter's wedding.  Thankfully we had extremely good feedback on it and actually had several people ask for seconds.  I wasn't too adventurous, just making strawberry, raspberry, strawberry peach and a mixed berry.  How I wish I'd had Laena McCarthy's Jam On by my side when I had been slaving away.

This book is absolutely wonderful.  The colour photographs alone are enough to get your taste buds humming.  And there is so much selection. Just look at the names above in the blurb. Each recipe does not make a huge quantity, about four jars each.  Enough to get a good taste, but not so much that it's a waste if, however unlikely, you don't like the results. 

There are general how-to directions at the beginning and then full instructions for each individual jam, jelly, preserve, marmalade, chutney, butter or more.  How about Watermelon and Lemongrass Jelly; Brooklyn Green Tomato Chutney: Elevenses Peach Jam (sugar-free); Blackberry and Lavender Jam; Sun-Gold Tomato Jam; Big Apple Butter, or even Pickled Strawberries.  There are just so many delicious alternatives that it would be almost impossible to choose.

Jam On is an amazingly informative book that  makes no assumptions as to your ability and offers many alternatives for just about every fruit you can think of.  This book would be perfect for both beginners and expert jam makers alike.  I'm certainly going to add this one to my cook book collection tout suite. Now, I'm going to try out a couple of the pear altrnatives. My daugter has two pear trees in her yard that are just dripping with fruit. Hot Fireman's Grilled Cheese anyone, using the Hot Fireman's Pear Jam? Sounds good to me.

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