Flavored with spices, spirits and more, winter jams can require—and reward—creativity. But even the simplest kinds are surprising.
It's no knock on summer jam to say that the winter kind can be more inventive. After all, when you’re working with August fruit at its sweet and drippy peak, the less you do to it the better. But in winter, confronted with yet another box of pears pulled from the dark depths of cold storage, the best jam makers feel compelled to use all their creativity. They’re even excited about it. As Laena McCarthy of Brooklyn’s Anarchy in a Jar puts it, “Winter is the time to play.” For her, playing means combining grapefruit with smoked salt; for Liz Cowan of Portland, Oregon’s Three Little Figs, it means simmering apples with coffee and stout. Cowan, for her part, points out one more advantage of preserving in winter instead of summer: “The kitchen’s not 120 degrees!”