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Giveaway: Fabric Labels from Emily Press

emily-press-labels-packaging

I will confess right now that I’m something of a imperfect jar labeler. I am meticulous about getting labels on to my jars the moment they are cool and clean, but those labels often consist of a scrawl across the lid of the jar with a Sharpie. In my more careful moments, I cut lengths of green painters and scribble the name and date on the preserve.

These labels serve my purpose well enough, but they’re not nearly nice enough for those times when I want to share my preserves with neighbors or tuck a few jars into gift baskets or boxes.

emily-press-labels-food-in-jars

Recently, the nice folks from Emily Press Labels reached out to see if I might like to try their fabric canning labels on my mason jars. These beautifully printed, sturdy labels are exactly what I need to elevate my packaging game.

These sweet oval labels come in a variety of colors and designs. Each set comes with 36 labels and you can have them made so that they all the same thing, or you can designate two different names and styles.

emily-press-label-on-jar

I opted to have mine made so that they displayed the names of two my favorite preserves for gift giving. Thought I’m still out on the road right now, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get a few more tomatoes when I get home, so that I can make up some more tomato jam and put these labels to work.

Thanks to the folks at Emily Press, three of my blog readers will get a chance to try out some labels as well. I’m giving away three $30 vouchers, good for anything on the Emily Press website (though I think you all should make sure to check out the fabric canning labels!). Use the widget below to enter!

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Giveaway: Kefirko and Rocky Mountain Water Kefir Grains from Masontops

Looking to get started making your own fizzy, probiotic beverages at home? Try starting with water kefir, using the Kefirko and grains from Rocky Mountain Kefir. They make super easy!

rocky-mountain-kefir-grains

I was first introduced to water kefir three or four years ago, at one of our Philly Food Swaps. One of my fellow swappers included several sets of grains in their collection of swappable goods. She told me they were easy to use and produced a fizzy, pro-biotic beverage that she liked better than kombucha. At the end of the night, one of those jars of water kefir grains went home with me.

top-of-kefirko

I’d like to tell you that I still have grains from that food swap, but sadly, that would be false. I did end up making my own water kefir for a period of months after that initial introduction and liked it very much. Sadly, they ended up getting shoved to the back of the fridge and then thrown out during a no-holds-barred cleaning spree.

side-of-kefirko

Happily, thanks to my friends at Masontops, I’m back making my own water kefir and am delighted with it once again. Several weeks ago, they sent me a set of their Rocky Mountain Water Kefir grains. Using my trusty Kefirko (Masontops sells this useful devise, though I bought mine during the Kefirko Kickstarter nearly two years ago), it is incredibly easy to hydrate dried water kefir grains and then keep them happy and productive.

supplies-for-starting-water-kefir-in-kefirko

In order to start making water kefir, you need a set of grains, four cups of filtered water, 1/4 cup of sugar, and a vessel like a Kefirko in which to combine them all (if you don’t have a Kefirko, a quart-sized mason jar will also work).

dry-rocky-mountain-kefir-grains

First, you dissolve the sugar into the water. You can do this by heating it and then bringing it back down to room temperature. Or a couple hours before you want to start your kefir, add the sugar to the water and stir it vigorously. Come back and give it a good stir every half hour or so. The sugar will eventually dissolve into the water.

soaking-rocky-mountain-kefir-grains

Put the dried water kefir grains into the bottom of your vessel and add the sugar water. If you’re using a Kefirko, screw the lid down loosely, so that there’s still a bit of air flow. If you’re using a mason jar, put a small kitchen towel, paper towel, or coffee filter on top of the jar and use a rubber band to keep it in place.

Let the grains spend three or four days rehydrating before you try to use them.

rocky-mountain-kefir-grains-in-kefirko

Once the grains are nice and plump, they are ready to use. Drain off the initial liquid (this is super easy using a Kefirko. If you don’t have one, make sure to use a nylon mesh strainer rather than a metal one, as the grains aren’t fans of metal). Then mix up another batch of sugar water and add it to the grains.

draining-rocky-mountain-kefir-grains

I typically let my batches of water kefir ferment for two days (though I let it go for a little less during really hot weather) before straining the grains and starting another batch. Sometimes I drink it plain and chilled for a light, fizzy pro-biotic drink (and despite what you might think, it’s not super sweet. The sugar serves as a food source for the grains that is transformed into the bright, tangy element in the water).

Other times, I do a second ferment, in which I combine the water kefir with chopped fruit, or even a bit of plain fruit juice. Either way, it’s refreshing and good for the gut!

plump-drained-grains

This week, thanks to my friends at Masontops, I’m giving away a Kefirko Home Kefir Making Kit along with a set of Rocky Mountain Kefir Water Kefir Grains. Use the widget below to enter!

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Links: Fridge Pickles, Muscadine Jam, and a Winner

measuring-cup-of-tomato-jam

It’s been something of a rough week over here at Food in Jars HQ (plus, there’s the general heaviness of today’s date). I got home from Nashville on Wednesday afternoon, just barely recovered from food poisoning and promptly came down with a cold. I think my non-stop summer is starting to catch up with me. I’ve got just one last trip to get through (California! I’m headed your way later this week!), and then things will quiet down a bit. As much as I love the teaching, demonstrations, and book signings, I’m ready for a break!

labeled jars of tomato soup concentrate

The winner of the Fillmore Container giveaway is Jessica A. Stay tuned, another giveaway coming up tomorrow!

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Links: Peach Butter, Pickled Okra, and Winners

five jars of tomato jam

I think I’m finally coming to accept that I can’t do everything all the time. I’ve been away from home for the last week and a half, and while I had grand plans to post in this space every day, I just couldn’t make it happen. There have been canning demos, time with my sister and her family, more travel, more demos, and then a wicked 24 hour bout of food poisoning keeping me away.

I’m currently in Atlanta, recuperating under the watchful eye of Lyn from Preserving Now. Tomorrow, I’m headed to Nashville for a class at the Green Door Gourmet (I will be completely recovered by then).

running HarvestPro

I never officially announced the winner of the freshTECH HarvestPro Sauce Maker from a couple weeks back. That person is Allison W. I will be in touch soon! And don’t forget, the Fillmore Container giveaway is still going on. You can enter here!

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freshTECH HarvestPro Sauce Maker Giveaway

Need a little help getting your tomatoes preserved this season? Check out the freshTECH HarvestPro Sauce Maker from Ball Canning!

freshTECH HarvestPro Sauce Maker

We are in the midst of tomato season here in the Philly area and I’ve been in something of a canning frenzy trying to get as many put up as I can before I hit the road again. I find that there is a huge flavor difference between home canned tomatoes and grocery store ones, and so I know that I’m going to be said come January if I don’t take action now.

I used to do most of my tomatoes whole and peeled, packed in water. However, these days I find that I like to do a fifty-fifty split of whole tomatoes and tomato puree. I started doing a lot more tomato puree a few years ago, in large part because an electric tomato press came into my life.

There are a few different brands of these handy machines on the market, and this year, our friends at Ball Canning added one called the HarvestPro to their freshTECH line of appliances.

running the freshTECH HarvestPro Sauce Maker

Having used a number of different tools for pressing tomatoes into sauce, this HarvestPro Sauce Maker is by far the easiest to set up, run, and clean up when you’re all done. It doesn’t splatter like my previous electric press, and the motor base plants itself solidly on your countertop. I’m a huge fan and will be making permanent space for this in my kitchen (or, more realistically, in my coat closet).

Right now, all the freshTECH appliances are 15% off on the Fresh Preserving website (I’m also a really big fan of the Electric Water Bath Canner). If you want to see it in action, I’ll be streaming on Facebook Live tomorrow night (Tuesday, August 23) at 9 pm eastern time for about a half hour to show you how it works.

I also have one of these handy machines to give away this week. Use the widget below for your chance to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Ball Canning sent me the HarvestPro you see pictured here for review purposes and they are providing the giveaway unit. What’s more, I am also a paid brand partner. However, this post is outside our paid agreement. I just really liked this particular machine and so asked if I could share it with my readers. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Links: Wild Jams, Homemade Crackers, and a Winner

tomato jam and naturally sweet

I spent the weekend in New York and Western Mass, finding a really good balance between working and relaxing (it’s not always easy to do). I taught at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett (we’re already talking about doing another class next season) on Friday afternoon, spent Saturday morning demoing at the Great Barrington Farmers Market, and taught again at Hillsdale Home Chef on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday afternoon and evening was spent hanging out with some dear friends. It was so good and was exactly what I needed to shake loose from the tension that’s been haunting me.

peach drizzle in orchard road jars

Thank you for all the enthusiastic entries into last week’s Orchard Road giveaway. I loved hearing about the things you’ve all been preserving lately. The winner of the giveaway is #500/Manda. Stay tuned, I’ll have another giveaway up shortly.

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