Anarchy in a Jar

"the revolution starts in you"

Anarchy in a Jar's vision for herb-based products reflect a desire to reconnect with simple, pure, chemical-free ingredients. They only use the highest quality ingredients in everything they make and have an obsession with the healing power of herbs and plants.


The Idea

Founder and CEO Laena McCarthy grew up making preserves with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley,

An international career in science support and academia ignited Laena's interest in plants, spices, and food as medicine. She learned simple recipes from people she met around the world for preserved foods that were both tasty and healing - tinctures, liver tonics, healing ointments, and cleansing teas.  Laena landed back in NYC and decided to make her passion for preservation and plants into a business.

Laena launched Anarchy in a Jar in 2009, embracing a revived demand for fresh, local, creative food. With help from her team of tasters, fellow food makers and fans, she grew the business into a plant-based food and skincare powerhouse, where she stirs her eclectic experience and passion for plants into elixirs of the jar.

Laena is continually learning and growing her knowledge of plants, nutrition, and the human body. A passion for natural living, eating, and using herbs and whole foods inspired her to start her own herbal wellness practice specializing in women's reproductive health, pregnancy, and postpartum recovery. 

The revolution starts in you.

Founder and CEO Laena McCarthy

Laena McCarthy-Founder and CEO

Style & Quality

Anarchy in a Jar's Mantra: plant-based, unique flavors with a genuine dedication to craft, flavor and authenticity, using small-batch techniques and ethical sourcing of ingredients.


100% Handcrafted

All products are crafted by hand using expertly sourced ingredients, thoroughly researched for safety. They are cruelty-free, sls-free, paraben-free, and free of chemical additives and preservatives.

All products are cooked by hand and all natural, made primarily with plants from local and small farms in Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley. They combine pure plant-based fruit, seeds, or oil with botanical herbs + spices.

That's it, no junk. Their methods combine old world techniques with modern finesse, bringing innovation to the tradition of preservation and herbalism. Get your plants on. 


Q: What's the difference between jam, jelly, preserves, marmalade and conserves?

A: Jelly is fruit juice + sugar (no chunks), jam is crushed or ground fruit pulp + sugar, preserves are whole or chunks of fruit floating in a loose jelly, marmalade is a citrus based jelly with pieces of fruit suspended in it (usually citrus peel and juice, but other fruits can be added), and conserves are jams made with a mixture of fruit and nuts (often includes citrus, nuts, and dried fruit) or "more than four fruits". 

Q: What's pectin?

A: Pectin is a naturally occurring substance contained in the primary cell walls of terrestrial plants (a structural heteropolysaccharide, to be exact). It is produced commercially as a white to light brown powder, mainly extracted from citrus fruits, and is used in food as a gelling agent, particularly in jams and jellies. It is also used in fillings, medicines, sweets, as a stabilizer in fruit juices and milk drinks, and as a source of dietary fiber. Did you know most commercial yogurt contains added pectin? 

All fruit has some naturally occurring pectin, but the levels vary. Anarchy in a Jar often adds an all natural, sugar-free, low-methoxyl citrus pecti to their jams to regulate the texture and gel.

Q: What's an "heirloom"?

A: An heirloom plant or heirloom variety  is a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but which is not used in modern large-scale, industrial agriculture.

Before agriculture became industrialized, a much wider variety of plants were grown for human consumption. In modern agriculture in the industrialized world, most food crops are now grown in huge, monocultural plots. In order to maximize consistency, value and proprietary dominance (by evil agribusiness warlords such as Cargill and Monsanto), only a few varieties of each type of crop are grown, developed and hybridized to maximize control. These varieties are often selected for their productivity, ability to withstand mechanical picking and cross-country shipping, and tolerance to drought, frost, or pesticides (genetic engineering helps this and creates even less variety).

Heirloom and organic farming is a reaction in defiance of this trend, encouraging diversity, which many see as vital to ecological longevity.

Wait, what makes something heirloom?  "Old" is a pretty vague term. Some believe the cultivar must be over 100 years old, some say 50 years, and others prefer the date of 1945 which marks the end of World War II and the beginning of widespread hybrid use by growers, seed companies, and industrial agriculture. Often 1951 is the cut-off date, being the latest year a plant can have originated and still be called an heirloom, since that year marked the widespread introduction of the first hybrid varieties. Widespread adoption of hybrid seeds in the commercial seed trade took place in the 1970s. Of course, some heirloom plants are much older, a few varieties are even pre-historic in origin!

The trend of growing heirloom plants in farms and gardens has been growing in popularity in the United States and Europe over the last decade. Anarchy in a Jar believes in freedom from food tyranny and are big fans -- bring back those oldies but goodies!

Q: How long does a jar of jam last on the shelf?

A:  Unopened, a jar will officially last about 2 years on the shelf. Unofficially, they often last much longer. Store in a dark, cool place for maximum longevity. As long as the button on top of the lid is concave and not popped, you should be fine. Seriously, Anarchy in a Jar taste-tested jam that was more than 5 years old, unopened, and it tasted fine. But unlike a fine wine, the fresher the jam, the better it tastes.  

Once opened, refrigerate your jam. Because Anarchy in a Jar products are made without preservatives, they'll last in the fridge for a few months to a year -- you'll know they're not good to eat anymore because they'll start to mold just like fresh fruit does.

Moral of this story: eat more jam.

Q: Can jam kill you?

A: The short answer: probably not.

Here's the long answer, for geeks who want to know why:

(Quoting the USDA) The high concentration of sugar (in fruit preserves) and the high concentration of sugar and salt (e.g. in pickles) serves as a dehydrating medium that makes it difficult for certain bacteria to survive.  Canning preserves food by using heat to destroy the microorganisms that cause spoilage. Heat forces air out of the jar. As the jar cools, a seal (vacuum) forms.

If not canned properly, or once the jar is opened in the fridge, mold will form. This is gross, but it won't kill you.

Q: Can you make jam without sugar?

Yes. However, at Anarchy in a Jar, they use some sugar in all their jam. If you want sugar-free jam, they suggest you make it yourself!

Sugar is an essential aspect of preserving fruit. If you choose to go sugar-free, most likely you will be making what is called “freezer jam”.

Without the sugar, jam will quickly begin to mold on the shelf. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, but any jam you want to keep longer than that should be stored in the freezer.