Jessica McCarthy and the Creativity Behind Jam On It

In People in the Neighborhood by lratzlaffLeave a Comment

Jessica McCarthy is the creative genius behind Jam On It. Jam On It may be in its infancy, but it’s about to take the Portland jam world by storm. Jessica is cooking up the most flavor-packed sweet and savory jams I’ve seen in awhile. She’s got a jam for just about everyone. And everyone will be coming back for more.

Jam Envy: I first met Jessica at the pop-up market I hosted in June. Immediately entranced by her engaging personality, I quickly broke down and tried some of her jam. It was amazing. I used to make some pretty good jam myself, but Jessica’s jams are unique, very tasty and better than just about any jam I had made or tasted. I got a bit of jam envy.

The Intimidating Jam: Jessica’s journey into the world of jam started about three years ago. Jessica laughed and almost proudly proclaimed she was a little scared to make jam at first. Jessica was already an accomplished chef and personal caterer. She was not afraid of the kitchen. But there was just something about jam that made her hesitate.

Pepper Jelly: Jessica started her jam adventure with pepper jelly because it’s one of her favorite things. She loves to eat pepper jelly on top of cream cheese sitting on a water cracker. In fact, pepper jelly is kind of her signature jam. Jessica made her first batch of pepper jelly using a food processor. It failed. She hadn’t counted on all the extra water from mincing up the peppers in the food processor. So Jessica tried again, this time adding just a bit more sugar. It worked.

Experimental Jam: Jessica talked about the jam book she had at the very beginning. She would look in the book and see interesting recipes, and then she’d just experiment. She’d make up recipes. She’d open her pantry and look in her freezer and experiment. She still works this way. I’ve got a jar of the lovely Nectarine-Bourbon jam and Basil-Melon jam at home. Jessica says she’s got at least 15 flavors of jam in her repertoire. I’m sure there will be more.

Cooking up Jam

Photo source: Jessica McCarth

Local Jam: Jessica is also very particular about her ingredients. She sources her berries locally. She says her freezer is full of local fruit just waiting to become jam. In fact, Jessica wants to know where all her food comes from, and I can sense she’s got a busy kitchen.

Where Have All the Pickles Gone? Besides making jams, Jessica pickles. She enjoys canning – a practice that was common a few generations ago but now seems to be a lost art. She pickles all types of vegetables, including zucchini!

Jammin’ in Portland: Although relatively new to the Portland area, Jessica has embraced Portland’s spirit. She was attracted to Portland because of its character and spirit, and now she’s one of those artisans adding to it. She enjoys stepping off her front porch and being able to walk to shops and restaurants. She loves the food scene. She just seems such a natural fit for this city, with her infectious personality and courage to embrace who she is and those around her.

Beyond Jam: Jessica is also one of those people who is talented at many things. Besides making jam, she’s also a personal chef and runs Everyday Gourmet. She cooks delicious, fresh meals for families who don’t have time to cook for themselves (or perhaps the inclination) and packages the meals up for easy heat-up at home. She’ll chef for any type of diet and accommodate your dietary restrictions. But Jessica doesn’t stop there. She’s also a part-time nanny. Wow!

Yummy Pickled Veggies

Photo source: Jessica McCarthy

Jam On It: I don’t think Jessica thought making jam would turn into a business for her at first. But after a few successful pop-up markets this year, she decided to launch Jam On It. Named after lyrics in a song she and her husband were dancing to in the kitchen one evening, Jam On It is just getting started. The Facebook Page has launched, and I bet you’ll start seeing her jams at farmer’s markets soon. Make sure to stop by and say hi if you see her. You’ll get some great jam and make a wonderful new friend.



Find Jam On It On Face Book Page and follow along:


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