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July Mastery Challenge Round-up: Hot Pack Preserving

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We closed the books on July a few days ago and so it’s time finish up another skill in our Mastery Challenge. This month, we focused on hot pack preserving and more than 130 of you reported in that you’d tried preserving something using this method.

Starring ingredients included apricots, apriums, artichokes, beets, black currants, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, carrots, cherries (both sweet and tart), corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, figs, gooseberries, green beans, jalapeños, kohlrabi, mangos, mushrooms, onions, peaches, plums, raspberries, rhubarb, shishito peppers, sour cherries, strawberries, watermelon rind, wineberries, and zucchini.

People made all sorts of products, including chutneys, fruit packed in syrup, jams, pickles, salsas, and tomato products.

According to the survey, a lot of you made more than one batch, which is always delightful. I’m happy that so many of you were inspired to dig in more deeply.

As far as satisfaction with skill goes, the results made me giggle. Most of you felt pretty friendly towards hot packed at the start of the month.

But, at the end of the month, those of you who participated were all in. Such happy, positive reactions!

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Jams, Chutneys, and Mostardas

Pickles, Relish, and Salsa

Tomatoes and Whole Fruit/Veg Preserves

And finally, a few comments from the submission form:

Lisa from Aurora, Ontario said, “Interesting to see how the hot pack played out in practice, not just theory. Peaches are a lot more work than I thought they’d be!” So true! Peaches are a beast, but so worth the work!

Ann from Vashon, Washington said, “My time was limited and produce was lagging – but the Walla Walla sweets were in so I tried the onion relish. Definitely worth while! So glad I’m learning more about hot pack. Hope to do some tomatoes soon as they are now arriving in our local markets.” Onion relish is delicious!

Tesla from Memphis, Tennessee said, “I had already done a lot of hot pack preserving, but until this month I had no idea that’s what I was doing – or the reasons why you’d use a hot pack with a particular fruit or to get a particular result. This month was an example of how the Mastery Challenges are educational for me, even when I’m not making something new!” So glad it was useful!

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Can-It Forward Day 2017

It’s August, and that means it’s time for the 7th annual #canitforward celebration with the folks at Ball Canning! Tune in tomorrow, Saturday, August 5 at 12 noon (eastern time) on the Ball Canning Facebook page for a live Can-It Forward canning demo with canning expert Jessica Piper and Kathryne Taylor of Cookie and Kate.

Then, tune in every Wednesday in August at 12 noon for the Ball Canning Preserving Summer Canning Series.  You’ll see both experienced canners and newbies join Jessica in the Ball Test Kitchen to preserve peak summer flavors to enjoy throughout the year (my video will air on August 23, so mark your calendars).

Finally, make sure to head over to the Ball Canning Facebook page tomorrow, because they’ll be launching a fabulous giveaway. All you have to do to enter is share a picture of yourself holding or interacting with one of the new jars (Spiral, Smooth, or Sharing*).

*For every package of Ball Sharing Jars purchased, Newell Brands will donate four meals to Feeding America.

And for more canning inspiration and weekly sales (check back every Sunday for a new discount), head over to FreshPreserving.com.

Disclosure: I am a paid partner for Ball Brand. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

 

 

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Sweet Cherry Ketchup

Last month, the folks from the Northwest Cherry Growers sent me 18 pounds of sweet cherries (it’s my 8th year participating in their Sweet Preservation Canbassador program). After eating a couple pounds in a single sitting, I got down to the work of preserving. I made some whole fruit preserves, cherry and Meyer lemon marmalade, a batch of cherry and black raspberry jam, some cherry ketchup, and used up the rest in a mixed fruit jam.

I managed to share the recipe for the Spiced Cherry Preserves and then totally lost my blogging mojo. So this week, I’m going to try and make up for lost time while fresh cherries can still be had. I’ll link up this post as I get the recipes published. Here’s the first one.

A few notes. The recipe calls for pitted cherries, but you can also use the technique described here if you want an easier route to getting those pits out. If you’re not sure what you would do with cherry ketchup, know that it’s delicious on burgers and with roasted sweet potatoes. And if you’ve got them, feel free to use fancy sauce bottles, as described in this post.

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Cookbooks: The Joys of Jewish Preserving

I met Emily Paster on Twitter sometime in the summer of 2010. In those days, she was a part-time law professor and full-time mom, just starting her canning and preserving journey. She would frequently reach out to ask a question or simply engage around our shared interest.

In the intervening years, our online conversations led to real-life friendship and it has been a treat to watch (and offer a little help when possible) as she has transitioned into a career as a food writer and cookbook author.

Earlier this summer, Emily published her second cookbook, called The Joys of Jewish Preserving was published (her first was last summer’s Food Swap!) and it is gorgeous, accessible, and perfect for preservers of all stripes.

This lovely book celebrates the many aspects of traditional Jewish jams, pickles, fruit butters, and spreads. From your classic fermented deli pickle to lemon curd designed to use up extra egg yolks (common around Passover!), there’s a wealth of goodness here.

The other thing Emily does really beautifully in this book is that she gives you lots of ways to use up the preserves you’ve made. I’m hoping to make her Sweet Potato Latkes (page 132), the Chocolate Babka with Jam (page 139), and her Cream Cheese Rugelach.

For those of you who have enjoyed cooking from Plenty, Jerusalem, or Zahav, you’ll find much to love in this book. Make sure to check it out before the summer ends!

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August Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, EcoJarz, Mason Jar Lifestyle, CanningCrafts, and Mrs. Wages

Happy August, dear ones! It’s the start of the month and so it is time to thank the businesses that help make this site possible. Please do show them your appreciation for their support with your time and attention!  

And if your company, shop, or family business is interested in reaching the food-loving and engaged Food in Jars audience, you can find more details here. Leave a comment on this post or drop me a note to learn more!

In the top spot are our friends at Cuppow. They are the creators of the original mason jar travel mug topper and the BNTO, a small plastic cup that transforms a canning jar into a snack or lunch box. I love pairing their straw-ready drink lid with a 24 ounce mason jar for the perfect summer iced coffee vessel.

Lancaster, PA-based and family-owned Fillmore Container are next! They sell all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear. As always, their blog is an amazing resource for all things jar-related. And have you seen their new logo? It’s so cute!

Our friends over at EcoJarz are on board again this month. They make an array of products designed to fit on top of mason jars, including cheese graterscoffee brewers, and stainless steel storage lids. Don’t miss their back-to-school sale August 7-14. Use the code SUMMER2017FIJ to get 20% off!

Mason Jar Lifestyle is a one-stop shopping site for all the jar lovers out there. They sell all manner of mason jar accessories and adaptors. If you’re in the market for lids, straws, sprouting lids, and cozies to transform your mason jars into travel mugs, make sure to check them out!

Next up is CanningCrafts. Shop owner Alison sells an array of ready made and custom mason jar labels for all your various preserves, syrups, and backyard honey. I particularly love her line of labels encouraging people to return the jar! When next you need labels for a special project, check out CanningCrafts.

Our friends at Mrs. Wages are on the roster again this month. They make pectin, vinegar, and more canning mixes than I can count. Their website is an incredible preserving resource and I can’t say enough good things about their salsa mix. If you need a little help getting your produce into jars, remember to seek out their products! They’re also sponsoring the giveaway this week, make sure to enter!

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Giveaway: Mrs. Wages Tomato Prize Pack

I look forward to tomato season all year. Because I don’t have a garden, it always starts for me when the hot house tomatoes appear at my local farmers market. Then, there comes a trickle of small tomatoes like sungold and cherry tomatoes. And then finally, the torrent. Tables heaped with heirlooms, slicers, and sturdy paste tomatoes.

Because I know that tomato season is fleeting, I make a point of canning at least 100 pounds of tomatoes each season (and sometimes more!). I can them whole, make puree, and cook pans of tomatoes down into thick, flavorful pastes. I also like to employ a little help and so occasionally turn to a package of Mrs. Wages salsa or pasta sauce. Made from spices, dehydrated herbs, citric acid, and salt, these packets are such a time saver and create a finished product that makes my home cooking delicious.

This week, I’m giving away a whole assortment of Mrs. Wages Tomato seasoning mixes. The basket will contain an assortment of mixes, including classic salsa, ketchup, and much more. If you’re interested in a chance to win this giant package of tomato canning goodness, use the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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