Preserving the old ways… Jam maker Jennifer Williams,


Chef, Environmentalist, Forager, Campaigner, Teacher, Mum, and wonderful story-teller, Jennifer Williams is a hard-core foodie who loves sharing her recipes and flavours with the rest of us thanks to the incredible ‘Naked Jam’ she makes in her New Forest kitchens.

Already rated by the BBC Good Food Magazine and Observer Food Monthly, plus some of the most demanding head chefs in some of the smartest UK restaurants, Jennifer is also a ‘Disciple of Escoffier’, so while she may be making jams and preserves for some of the most well-known hotels and restaurants in the UK (including the Chewton Glen and The Pig Hotels), she is also running cooking courses from her kitchen in Hordle for those of us that never want to run out of our favourite preserves.


Launched in 2011, Jennifer’s Naked Jam likes to make some big claims on the website… “THIS is what jam should taste like” being one of them. And as 2018’s International Jam Champion, who are we to argue with a woman who took three suitcases of Blackberry & Elderflower jam on a 10hr taxi ride through the mountains of Azerbaijan? “I had found this recipe from 1826 that had slipped into my mum’s Mrs Beeton book, so I just had to do it”.

And whilst I grew up on my own mother’s delicious homemade jams (so already have finely tuned tastebuds) and usually look award wins with scepticism, I can say, without any doubt, that Jennifer is right… this really is what jam should taste like. (Sorry Mum!).

Having grown up in a family of foodies and inspired by her mother’s devotion to “getting the most out of our food,” you’d think that Jennifer’s route to this profession was pre-destined. But far from it. Jennifer was deaf as a child and when her hearing was enabled as a teenager, she was so enthralled with sound that she threw herself into every type of music, going to any concert she could get to. “I wanted to be the person who moved the spotlight,” she says, so it was a sensible step for her to become a stage manager and eventually ended up at the Convent Garden Opera House.

Next up was a Maritime Environmental Science degree and as a lifelong dedicated environmentalist who grew up foraging in the Welsh countryside, this was an obvious step to take. But it was while she was working in environmental travel that life took a different path: “I was about to do the Around the World Yacht Race and realised I was pregnant, so I did the fifth leg from New Zealand to Cape Town, then came home and set up a gardening business, growing to eat in high rises in for the elderly.”

And just in case you’re thinking, ‘cool lady’, there’s more…

With her sister undergoing chemotherapy, she asked Jennifer if she could make her some jam as the treatment she was undergoing meant she couldn’t taste the flavours in commercially made jams. So, Jennifer set to it and made it the best of the best: only fresh, local and/or foraged, organic ingredients plus local sugars and certainly additive-free.

And so Naked Jam was born.

Before long she was supplying The Pig Hotel, The Corinthia Hotel in London, Chewton Glen, and all the local lovely farm shops across Hampshire. In 2019, Jennifer crowd-funded for a cookery school at her kitchen in Hordle here in the New Forest, and now hosts hugely popular sessions with jam lovers from across the UK.

Leaving Jennifer’s kitchens stocked with a marmalade, a couple of jams and a salad dressing, I felt like I was stacked with jarred gold, and more than a little smug. How lucky am I that tasting seriously good food is part of my job… etc etc! So I merrily drove back to the office, made the girls a cuppa, displayed the jams and got out some teaspoons for a tasting…

After much ooohing and aaahhing from the team, a little verbal jostling and jam negotiation, the prizes were shared out and whispered away into handbags ‘for more testing at home’. Which meant I eventually went home with nothing and had to order 30 jars of my favourite Rhubarb & May Chang to ensure I wasn’t running out anytime soon.

Naked Jam is owned and run by ebullient and entrepreneurial Jennifer Williams. All her jams, preserves, marmalades and dressings are made with much love from locally sourced ingredients.

Her kitchen in Hordle is a happy place, full of stories, banter and smiles, so do join one of her cooking courses. All the ingredients are seasonal so check and book in early.