The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook

Rachel Saunders of Oakland, California’s Blue Chair Fruit is a jam obsessive. In fact, she reminds me of one of my other favorite obsessives, Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. Both are perfectionists and tinkered for years until they felt they had something perfect. Yet they never tire of creating new flavors or combinations, so what they sell is always fresh and inventive. (I should also mention that both artisans are featured in F&W in December, with a mini essay from Jeni and a recipe from Rachel).

I love Rachel's new book because it’s super comprehensive: She not only explains how the bubbles on a high sugar jam look small and shiny when the jam is done or very close, she shows you what that stage looks like in photographs, too. And while she includes 120 or so of her own jam recipes, she gives you enough information in the first few chapters to improvise and create jams of your own.

To tell the truth, I’m not much of a jam maker but Sara Remington’s photographs throughout the book make me wish I were. This is a great book for real homesteaders or those who just like to pretend.