Jamming With Camilla Wynne
- By Daniel Melnyk
“On our rider, it was Jameson. Always.”
It’s hard to imagine Camilla Wynne as a young musician. Touring with the art-rock band Sunset Rubdown in the mid-2000s, the tools of her trade included the melodica, glockenspiel, and digital autoharp. Now, as a writer—she’s set to publish her second cookbook, Jam Bake, in the spring of 2021—, pastry chef, and certified master preserver, Wynne’s instruments of choice are stainless steel pots, wooden spoons, and rolling pins.
Wynne is a master jam artist in both the musical and culinary realms. Her tastes, however, have evolved. The former Jameson drinker now has a liquor cabinet flush with a wide range of whiskeys, gins, liqueurs, and bitters, and her company, Preservation Society, is known in part for compelling cocktail-inspired preserves like a Cherry Negroni Jam that incorporates gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.
Preservation Society opens up a whole new world of flavor for jam lovers. Typically, jams hit on one, monotonous, painfully sweet note. Like a song with too many major chords. But Wynne’s preserves are bright, nuanced, complex.
“There needs to be some acidity,” Wynne says. “When you cook a fruit, it will lose a lot of its acidity, or at least the bright acidity it has when it's fresh. I like the flavor of cooked fruit, but when you’re trying to recreate a cocktail where they use fresh citrus juice, you want that punchy fresh acidic quality.”
That’s why Wynne likes to add a healthy dose of acid to her jams. Sometimes lemon juice, sometimes vinegar, often citric acid. The acid enhances jam the same way salt seasons food. It complements and brightens the underlying fruit flavors, creating a jam that surprises and enchants.
Like a song with just the right tinge of glockenspiel.
A small assortment of preserves and ferments Wynne has in her apartment.
A version of this article originally appeared in Acid League Magazine Volume 1.