You’re Going to Want to Join This Jam Club
Since opening in 2011, Jessica Koslow’s Sqirl has been an emblem of seemingly effortless California-style food. Their sorrel pesto grain bowl remains one of the most beloved dishes in the city, as does their kale-cauliflower-brown rice “kabbouleh.” But nothing screams Sqirl like their jam.
“I was a pastry chef in the South, and preservation was just a part of our everyday,” Koslow told me in an email. “When I moved home to Los Angeles, I remember thinking how much I took our produce for granted, and I was determined to take what I had learned and apply it to the farmers’ market.” And so Sqirl’s jam program was born.
According to Koslow, the unique flavor combinations of her jams come from the seasonality of produce she works with. “Rose geranium and strawberries, chamomile and kumquats, Santa Rosa plums and flowering thyme—it all represents what’s happening at that exact right moment at the farmers’ market,” she said. Even with such exciting ingredient pairings, her customers still tend to prefer strawberry, raspberry, and apricot jams above all. “I think it’s just how we have been wired as Americans.”
At the restaurant, Koslow’s jams are famous for being served on thick slices of toast slathered with creamy ricotta. For at-home applications, those who live in Los Angeles are lucky enough to be able to swing by the restaurant to pick up a jar. The rest of us, however, have to get a bit more creative.
Sqirl jam is sold in a number of retail stores throughout the country (if you see a cute home goods shop or grocery store peddling handmade ceramics and heirloom spices, you’re probably on the right track). As for flavors, right now there’s cara cara with grapefruit and hibiscus, blood orange and vanilla bean, and raspberry and cardamom, among others, available for sale on Sqirl’s website. But real heads know that the best way to partake is to become a member of Sqirl’s Bimonthly Jam Club.
“I decided to launch the jam club because a lot of folks were asking me to send them new flavors throughout the year,” Koslow said. “Since Sqirl is so seasonal, every couple of months something entirely new comes into our kitchen. And we realized that people really enjoyed gifting their friends and family the gift of jam”
Jam club members get a two-pack of seasonal preserves and can sign up for four months, six months, or one year. Sure, at $60 for four months, the club is pricier than buying individual jam jars, but it includes shipping and a Sqirl tote bag, so it seems worth it to me. Plus, jam club jars are always from the most recent batches of Sqirl jam and might not make it to larger batches sold individually on the website. If that isn’t a better gift than a bottle of wine or a gift card, I’m lost.