Jen Karetnick, Contributing Writer

Jen Karetnick

Contributing Writer


  • Expertise and experience: Dining critic and lifestyle journalist for three decades who has won numerous awards, fellowships, grants, and residencies for food-and-travel journalism, creative writing, and teaching
  • Education: Two Master of Fine Arts degrees in creative writing (one in poetry from University of California, Irvine, and one in fiction from University of Miami); Bachelor of Arts in English from Tufts University
  • Other work: Author of 21 books, including four cookbooks and four guidebooks


Jen Karetnick is an award-winning food, travel, and lifestyle freelance writer; dining critic; recipe developer; and appliance tester with three decades of experience. She is the author/coauthor of 21 books, including four cookbooks and four guidebooks. In addition to writing about food, the home, and appliances, Jen is a keen gardener. She farmed a historic backyard mango grove for two decades before moving to another historic home in a nearby bird sanctuary, where she now grows citrus and vegetables. She has been working for since summer 2021.

Best DIY Advice

Having farmed a historic mango grove for two decades, Jen knows that preserving fruit (and other foods) looks daunting, but it’s really kind of easy. When slicing up lots of fruit for jam or salsa, she uses paper towels under cutting boards to soak up errant juices. She also underfills jars slightly to avoid accidental leaks and explosions when sealing in the water. And finally, a tip she learned from her mom about how to evaluate when an item is still okay to consume: When in doubt, throw it out.

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