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Canning Class with the Swarthmore Co-op

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It has been a very quiet January around these parts, but I’m slowly starting to come out of my hibernation to teach a few classes. I have one next week that I thought you Philly-area folks might like to know about!

On Thursday, February 4, from 7-8:30 pm, I’ll be teaching a demonstration-style class at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church. The class is being put on by the nice folks at the Swarthmore Co-op and costs $25. I’ll show everyone who attends how make a batch of honey-sweetened pear vanilla jam using Pomona’s Pectin. We’ll go through the canning process and I’ll answer every question that I can.

At the end of the class we’ll dig into the warm jam, and I’ll have some copies of my first two books for sale and signature. Registration information at the bottom of this page.

Speaking of classes and events! I’m starting to put my book tour schedule together for the spring and summer. I’m trying to keep things a bit saner than last time (I did more than 110 events with Preserving by the Pint, which was too much). That said, I am still taking suggestions for cities and venues to potentially add to my tour. Please let me know if you have good ideas for me for book stores, kitchenwares stores, libraries or other venues that you think would be good for me to consider as I plan out my travel.

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Food in Jars and Fillmore Container at the Pennsylvania Farm Show

Farm Show Picture

Here in Pennsylvania, we don’t have a summertime state fair. We have the PA Farm Show, which sets up each January in the the sprawling PA Farm Show Complex and Expo Center (and if you think about it, it makes sense. Farmers, growers, and preservers don’t have time for a fair during the height of the season. Doing it in winter is far smarter).

For the last two years now, I’ve spent a couple of days at the Farm Show, hanging out with my friends from Fillmore Container, offering a series of canning demos, and sampling the many treats that the farm show has to offer. This year, I’ll be there on Monday, January 11 and Tuesday, January 12, to demonstration and hopefully sell a few books.

Here’s the schedule:

Monday, January 11
1:30 pm Pear Ginger Conserve from Food in Jars
3:00 pm Winter Fruit Mostarda from Preserving by the Pint
6:00 pm Honey Sweetened Pear Vanilla Jam from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars

Tuesday, January 12
10:00 am Winter Fruit Mostarda from Preserving by the Pint
1:00 pm Honey Sweetened Pear Vanilla Jam from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars @ Family Living Stage
3:00 pm Spicy Pickled Cauliflower from Preserving by the Pint
6:30 pm Caramelized Red Onion Relish from Food in Jars

In celebration of the Farm Show, Fillmore Container is currently offering up a giveaway of some of my favorite canning gear. The pack includes a signed copy of Food in Jars, a blossom trivet, a case of my beloved wide mouth half pint jars, and other good stuff. Click here to enter.

Fillmore Container will also be hosting Amanda Feifer (author of the fabulous Ferment Your Vegetables) and Richard Kralj from the Penn State Cooperative during the show. Amanda will be there on Wednesday, January 13 and Thursday, January 14, talking about fermentation. Richard will be there to offer up a pressure canning demo the morning of Wednesday, January 13.

They’re also currently hosting a giveaway of some of Amanda’s favorite fermenting gear. Make sure to enter that one here.

For more about the preserving events and activities taking place at the Fillmore Container booth at the PA Farm Show, check out this post. You’ll find us on the Main Floor of the complex, in the Family Living area.

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CSA Cooking: On Using a Giant Head of Curly Endive

escarole

Time for another installment of CSA Cooking, where I write about how I’ve used, prepped, eaten, or preserved items from my monthly Philly Foodworks rolling farm share. Use the code FOODINJARS to get $10 off your first Philly Foodworks order.

I didn’t manage to take a group picture of all that came in my share this month. However, the box was a season-spanning collection of fruits and vegetables. I got sweet potatoes, garlic, a hefty eggplant, a small of kale, a big red bell pepper, a quart of plums, and a giant head of curly endive.

chicken soup

Heating soup leftovers on the second night. The original batch was far larger.

There was so much of the curly endive that it made an appearance in two different dishes. The first was a pot of chicken soup that stretched across four days, two dinners, a breakfast, and a lunch (when it’s available, I do love a warm bowl of soup for breakfast).

The soup was made using my standard technique. I pulled the meat off leftover chicken, piled the bones in a pot, added vegetables, and made stock (this time, I used a pressure cooker, which was amazingly speedy). I sauteed chopped onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, and garlic in some olive oil, added the roughly chopped greens, poured the hot stock over the top, and stirred in the leftover chicken.

Seasoned with salt, pepper, a little Better than Bouillon (to round out the chicken-y flavor), a couple tablespoons of vinegar, and a splash of soy sauce for depth, it was done when the carrots were tender. As with all soups, it was good the first night, but far better the second and third days.

beans and greens

The second curly endive dish was based on one I ate while in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago. My friend Cindy lives near an Italian place called Legends of the North Shore that is particularly well-known for their beans and greens (they also sell them out of a food truck). We ordered a small spread from Legends the first night I was in town, and I so loved that dish that I dug around online until I found a recipe that the chef had shared with their local CBS affiliate.

What’s so interesting about this dish is that it doesn’t actually depend on traditional cooking greens they way you might think. Instead, it uses spring mix, chopped romaine, and spinach. Adapting it to my needs, I made my version with the other half of the curly endive, one romaine heart, and the very end of a bag of baby arugula. This is going to be my approach from now on when I have an abundance of salad greens that need to be used, because it is fantastic.

Essentially, you heat a bit more olive oil than feels reasonable and heap your greens into the pan. While they wilt, you mince/press/grate several cloves of garlic, rinse off some white beans (I used a jar of these), and measure out a little grated parmesan or pecorino. Once the greens have wilted, you add the garlic, beans, cheese, and a splash of water or broth. With just a couple stirs, the cheese melts and the liquid in the pan magically transforms into a lush, creamy sauce. Salt and pepper to taste and you’re done.

We ate our beans and greens alongside some scallops, but you could easily turn this into the main event by tossing in some pasta or a bit of cooked and crumbled sausage. I can already tell, this is a dish that is going to be in heavy rotation this winter.

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Upcoming Classes: Morris Arboretum! Mullica Hill, NJ!

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Happy Monday morning, friends! I’ve got both a class and a demo happening over the course of the next week and hope I’ll see some of you there. Oh, and I’ll have copies of both books with me at these events for sale and to sign (they make an excellent holiday gift).

This coming Saturday, October 17, I’ll be teaching a jam making and canning basics class at the Morris Arboretum (in Philadelphia, PA), using a batch of pear vanilla jam. I’ll talk about best canning practices and will make sure that everyone goes home with the knowledge and empowerment necessary to tackle a wide array of preserves. It’s a good class for both first time canners and those who want to refresh their rusty skills. All attendees will leave with an introductory canning guide and a small jar of jam made in class. The class is from 10 am – 12 noon. Registration information.

Then, on Monday, October 19, I’ll be at Gloucester County (New Jersey) Library’s Mullica Hill Branch for a free apple cranberry compote demo. We’ll start promptly at 6:30 pm and will be finished no later than 8:00 pm. I’ll talk about preserving for the holidays, will offer lots of safe canning tricks and tips, and will have books to sell and sign.

And, if you’re too far flung to attend one of my classes, don’t forget about my Brit + Co online class. It’s just $9.99 and is a great way to learn jam making and canning from me!

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Live Online Class on Tuesday, September 22!

plums in a colander

A quick note to say that I’ll be teaching my last live online class of the season on Tuesday, September 22. We’ll start things off at 8 pm eastern time and will go for about an hour.

I’ll make a batch of low sugar plum jam and will talk about how to reduce sugar without compromising set, how to use Pomona’s Pectin (my low sugar pectin of choice), and ways to ensure good flavor when you’re reducing the sweetener.

The recipe I’ll be making is below the jump, just in case you want to can along or have something to reference while I cook.

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Brit + Co Online Jam Making and Canning Class

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Back in late July, I spent a couple fast-paced days in San Francisco, filming a jam making and canning how-to video with a collection of delightful folks from Brit + Co. Their goal is to spark and inspire creativity and they offer an extraordinarily wide range of how-to videos, tutorials, and products designed to do just that.

The canning class we filmed is now available for purchase! In it, I’ll walk you through the steps of prepping a canning pot, choosing fruit, cooking the jam (we used plum jam as an example, but the skills apply to any fruit), filling up the jars, and processing it into shelf stable deliciousness. If you’ve ever wanted to take a class with me but haven’t been able to, now’s your chance to do it, no matter where you are.

Buy Marisa’s Canning Class!

Once you buy the class (it costs a very affordable $9.99), you can watch it again and again (which is great, because it means you can always go back for clarification).  I’ll also be checking in and answering any questions that pop up.

For those of you who buy it, I’d love to know what you think once you’ve taken the class!

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