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Giveaway: Maple Syrup from Tree of Life Maple Farm

This week’s giveaway comes to us from the Babiarz family at the Tree of Life Maple Farm. They are a small organic maple farm based in Northwestern Maine, just a few miles from the Canadian border. All the maple products they sell come from their sugarbush, which they tap while the trees are still frozen. This allows them to gather the cleanest and clearest sap as thaw arrives.

The Tree of Life syrup is available in three different colors. Each color has its own unique properties while retaining its essential maple qualities. The lightest syrups are generally made earlier in the season, while the darker hues typically come later.

Tree of Life Maple Farm sells their syrup in a variety of packages. They offer glass bottles in a handful of different sizes and shapes for gift giving, as well as in more conventional plastic jugs for those of us who like to cook and bake with our maple and want something a little easier to juggle in the kitchen.

They also sell some of the most gorgeous, light maple sugar I’ve tried (and I used a lot of the stuff while working on Naturally Sweet Food in Jars).

The team at Tree of Life believes that maple syrup is good for so much more than just pancakes. It’s something that is equally delicious in coffee, yogurt, baked goods, and more. And one lucky winner will get a chance to try some of their delicious syrup. This week, we’re giving away one 500 ml glass jug of Organic Golden Maple Syrup and one 500 ml glass jug of Organic Dark Maple Syrup to share. Please use the widget below to enter!

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Giveaway: Le Parfait Familia Wiss 750 mL Canning Jars

A little over a year ago, when I was traveling up the west coast promoting Naturally Sweet, I stopped in at Down to Earth in Eugene for a demo and book signing. Before we got started, I took a moment to wander through their canning section. They had all the familiar jars and tools, but they also had a massive array of Le Parfait jars.

I wanted to fill the car with an array of those graceful, sturdy jars, but sadly, I was 3,000 miles from home and driving my parents’ station wagon. I was fairly certain that they would not appreciate it if I rolled up to their house with a wayback full of French preserves jars and asked them to keep them in the garage until I could find a way to get them back to Philadelphia.

Now, Le Parfait makes several lines of jars. Most of us are familiar with the Super Jars with their rubber gaskets and locking lids (I particularly love their Super Terrines for dry goods). And you may have used or spotted their Jam Jars (they have lug lids and look much like the jars you buy Bonne Maman jam in). But it was their Familia Wiss line that most captured my attention.

The reason that I was so charmed by Familia Wiss is that they are functional canning jars that are incredibly durable and beautiful. They have really wide mouths, making packing and filling a dream. They come in a wider array of sizes than regular mason jars (200, 350, 500, 750, 1000, and 1500 mL). And I found the sealing system so smart and reasonable.

Instead of using a lid and ring like our standard two-piece system, these jars use a flat lid and a fully encapsulating lid. The metal is heavier, they’re less prone to rusting, and seal that’s produced is incredibly strong. When you open up the jar to eat the contents, you can discard the flat lid and just use the cap for storage (they also sell bright orange plastic lids that fit these jars, which are a fun option for storing pantry items).

Once you understand how the basics of how the lids work, you can approach these Familia Wiss jars the same way that you do any other mason jar. You want to use new lids for each round of canning (and they can be ordered here). They should be clean but don’t need to be boiling prior to use. And like any other jar, once the jar has cooled and the seal is achieved, you can remove the outer lid and store the jars with just their sealed flat lid.

There is one downside to the Le Parfait Familia Wiss jars and that’s their cost. They come at a higher price than we’re typically accustomed to paying for canning jars. At first I bristled at the idea of paying more for jars, but I’m starting to think that they’re worth the price.

For one thing, they’re so much stronger than the grocery store jars. I hear from people on a near-daily basis about brand new Ball jars breaking in the canner. I can’t imagine that ever happening with a Le Parfait Familia Wiss jar. They are just so darn tough. And since I know that canning is something I’m going to continue to do across my lifetime, investing in gear that will pull its weight for the long haul doesn’t bother me.

The other thing is that I believe that working with higher quality jars leads to a more thoughtful approach to food preservation. Sometimes I preserve simply because I got a good deal or I start to feel that summertime panic that everything is currently in season and I MUST. PUT. UP. However, as I strive to be more conscious and preserving with an eye towards using up (rather than stockpiling), choosing the strong, beautiful jars that happen to be a little more expensive feels like a good choice.

This week, I’m partnering with the Le Parfait folks on a promotion and a giveaway. Two lucky people will each win a set of four 750 mL Le Parfait Familia Wiss jars (use the widget below to enter). These jars hold the same volume as the pint and a half jars that so many of us find particularly useful!

If you want to try some of the Le Parfait Familia Wiss jars and don’t want to take your chances on the giveaway, you can head over to Amazon, browse the size options, and use the code FOODNJAR for 5% off your order (the code is good through the end of July).

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Giveaway: Anchor Hocking Jars from Fillmore Container

Love learning about new jars? Read on for details about the line of Anchor Hocking canning jars, available from our friends at Fillmore Container, as well as a chance to win a case to use in your own kitchen!

When it comes to gathering vessels for preserving, I have always been something of a magpie. I like to use jars of different shapes and from different makers. The result is a pantry that gives off a sense of happy, appealing chaos (of course, it’s only an appearance. I always know what’s in there, down to the very last item). It also allows for a preserves closet where you almost always have exactly the right sized jar for dinner prep, potluck preparations, or a gift basket.

Thanks to our friends at Fillmore Container, I’ve recently added a new line of jars to my kitchen and I am quite pleased to have them. Made by Anchor Hocking, these sturdy, squared off jars are an affordable, pleasing option for any home canner. If you have any vintage Anchor Hocking jars in your collection, the shape and heft of these jars will be familiar (though sadly, these are not quite as graceful as the ones our grandmothers knew and used).

These Anchor Hocking jars come in three sizes – quarts, pints, and half pints. Fillmore sells them without closures, which allows you to choose from a world of possibilities. They have regular mouth openings and so can be sealed with Ball brand lids and rings, with open stock lids and rings from Fillmore, or with one-piece lids designed to be used on jars with continuous threads (if you’re curious how to can at home using one-piece lids, check out my tutorial).

Having canned a bit in these jars over the last few weeks, I can tell you that they perform beautifully. They are true to size, strong, and seal well. I also really appreciate the fact that the slightly square shape offers up four smooth sides for labeling. If I were canning for a baby or wedding shower, I’d stock up on the half pint size, order some custom labels from CanningCrafts, and offer up the prettiest party favors this side of Pinterest.

This week, the folks at Fillmore are sponsoring our giveaway. One lucky winner will get a case of the Anchor Hocking jars (jar size is winner’s choice), a dozen lids and rings, and a $25 gift card, good on the Fillmore Container website (perhaps you’ll want to use it to get a copy of Naturally Sweet Food in Jars!). This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents. Please use the widget below to enter.

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Disclosure: Fillmore Container is a Food in Jars sponsor. Their participation my sponsorship program helps keep this website afloat. They sent the jars pictured in this post for review and photography purposes and are also contributing the prize, both at no cost to me. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed here remain entirely my own.

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Links: Strawberries, Rhubarb, Mulberries, and Winners

Every so often, I forget how to blog. I realize that that might sound like a strange statement from someone who has been writing on the internet on a near-daily basis since 2005, but it’s true. It most often happens when I go out of town, when I go through a really busy period of working on other projects, or when I stop cooking on a regular basis. Recently, it’s been a combination of all three.

But I’m home for at least a month now, the pace of my other work feels manageable, and recent trips to the farmers market have me feeling inspired to cook. My head feels clear and the words are flowing. Let’s read through some links!

Last week, I offered up a copy of Fiery Ferments for giveaway. The winner of this fabulous book is #5/Ryan G. Congratulations Ryan! And for those of you who didn’t win, check back in soon. I have a number of terrific giveaways coming up in the next few weeks.

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Giveaway: Will It Skillet by Daniel Shumski

My grandma Bunny was devoted to her cast iron skillets. They sat in a graduated stack on her stovetop, always ready to be pressed into service. She kept them seasoned through regular use and claimed that nothing was better for restoring their glossy black finish than cooking up a batch of bacon.

Bunny’s collection of cast iron remains in her hillside California home, where my aunt, uncle, and cousins now live. I’ve had to amass my own heap of skillets, and have done so through thrifting, eBay (my beloved square skillet, used almost exclusively for eggs), Kickstarter, and inheritance.

Despite having a hearty collection, I confess that I rarely do anything truly exciting with my skillets. However, thanks to Dan Shumski’s new book, Will It Skillet, that all changes now. He’s got me seeing my cast iron skillet as the ideal vessel for so much more than just eggs, bacon, burgers, flat broiled chicken, and the world’s most perfectly burnished roasted potato cubes.

There is so much in this book that speaks to me, but here are a few that are on my immediate wish list. Giant Cinnamon Bun (page 37). Spinach and Feta Dip (page 64). Mac and Cheese – you make the whole thing in the skillet! (page 106). Giant Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie (page 153). Are you hungry yet?

I have one copy of this tasty book to give away this week and we’re doing it the old fashioned way (I know that there are those among you who hate Rafflecopter, so this is for you!).

The winner of the giveaway is #196/Barb. Many thanks to all who took the time to enter! 

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite thing to make in a cast iron skillet.
  2. Comments will close at 12 noon eastern time on Sunday, May 21, 2017. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog later that day.
  3. Giveaway open to all. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Workman Press sent me two copies of this book at no cost to me. One was for review and photography purposes and the other was to give away. 

Giveaway: Jar Storage from JarBOX

When you start doing a lot of canning, one of the biggest challenges becomes how to store both your processed jars and the empties waiting for your next project. I’ve spent a goodly amount of time over the years, pondering how to best shoehorn my canning habit into the storage space available in my 1,000 square foot apartment.

I keep jars under my couch, deep in my coat closet, and under my bed (and, if we’re being entirely honest, there is also currently a tower of boxes in the corner of my bedroom. Needs must). One tool that I use to help keep these storage spots useable and organized are the trays made by JarBOX. These clear, plastic boxes come sized for both pints and quarts and are a genius solution for stashing jars safely and securely.

They’re designed to work in pairs, so that you can lock your jars into individual pods. Then, those locked trays can be stacked and locked together, to create a tower of jars that behaves as a single unit, further reducing the chance of breakage. I call on a pair of JarBOX trays any time I need to transport sealed jars to family gatherings and food swaps, because I know they’ll get my jars to their destination intact.

I use a goodly number of my JarBOX sets to store the empties I keep under our bed. I arrange them upside down (to keep the worst of the dust out) and then slide the trays in and out as canning season ramps up. It’s a far better solution than fragile cardboard boxes I’d used previously.

This month, the good folks from JarBOX are sponsoring weekly giveaways on a series of blogs. I’m kicking things off by giving away two sets of JarBOX trays (a pint and a quart). What’s more, everyone who enters the individual giveaways will also be entered to win a Grand Prize of four more JarBOX sets. To keep up to date with all the JarBOX giveaways, make sure to follow them on Facebook!

This giveaway is closed. The winner is #151 – Lei Kaniumoe. Congratulations Lei!

Disclosure: JarBOX sent me a pair of JarBOX trays for photography and review purposes. They’re also provided a second set for the giveaway. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.