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Preserving Zucchini + Giveaway

shredding zucchini
Had it not been for the destructive maws of the squash vine borer, my fridge would be bursting with zucchini at the moment. Sadly, all of my squash plants (zucchini and patty pan) succumbed to the evil ministrations of that pesky bug, so my entire summer yield was just a single, 12-inch zucchini. However for those of you who are currently awash in squash, let’s talk a bit about how to preserve that which you can’t possibly eat right now.

This might shock you, but my favorite way to “put up” squash does not include a jar or a trip through a boiling water canner. Nope, when it comes to the summer squashes, I turn to a sturdy grater, zip top bags and my freezer. I roughly grate the zucchini, press out a bit of its liquid and measure it out into two and four cup portions. Packed into bags and labeled, that squash then becomes part of quick breads, soups, pasta sauces and even zucchini fritters all throughout the year.

I’ve always relied on a basic box grater for this type of task, but recently, the nice folks at Microplane got in touch to say that they were making a new Ultra Coarse Grater and did I want to try it out. I said yes, as I’ve been enamored of Microplane products since I first tried their basic rasp about six years ago. They make the best graters and zesters I’ve used.

Almost immediately upon arrival in my kitchen, this new coarse grater became my favorite tool for squash shredding (it also works nicely on potatoes, harder cheeses, carrots and apples). It’s easy to use (a rubber strip keeps it stable on the cutting board), it’s super-sharp and its flat design makes it so much simpler to clean than the box grater. I am in grater love.

Happily, I have one of these Ultra Coarse Graters to give away. Leave a comment by Friday, August 21st at 11:59 pm to enter. I’d love to hear your zucchini recipes and preservation tips if you’ve got ’em!

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Fresh Preserving Kit Winner

fresh preserving kit Okay kids, we have a winner in the Fresh Preserving Kit giveaway! At 11:59 p.m. last night, the random.org reached deep down into it’s bag of digits and came back with the number 5. That means that the lucky gal who will get her very own canning kit and Ball Blue Book of Preserving is Meryl.

Oddly enough, Meryl was just blogging about canning tomatoes on her site, My Bit of Earth, so while the kit may not reach her in time for this batch of tomatoes, here’s hoping it will get there in time for her next big round of preserving. Congratulations Meryl!

If you didn’t win my giveaway, make sure to head over to Canning Across America, they still have a few copies of the Ball Blue Book to give out to people who are hosting canning gatherings on the weekend of August 29th and 30th.

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Blueberry Jam Winner

blueberry jam winner

We’ve got a blueberry jam winner! The randomizer selected #20, which corresponds with the comment left by Rebecca. Congratulations Rebecca (I’ll be in touch via email soon)!

Don’t forget that you’ve got until Monday at 11:59 p.m. to enter the Fresh Preserving Kit giveaway!

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Peach Jam Winner + Some Q & A

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As is my norm, I’m a bit last posting the latest giveaway winner. But better late than never, right?

The lucky winner of this half pint of peach jam is commenter #8, Adrienne Bruno. Congrats Adrienne, I’ll be in touch soon to get your mailing address.

When I first started writing this blog, I was really good about replying to each and every comment you all left. However, since then, life has gotten a little more complicated (wedding planning will do that to a girl) and I’ve gotten a little lax when it comes to replies. You’ve all been asking some really question though, so I wanted to call a few of them out.

Tenaya asked: Why do garlic cloves turn blue in pickling solution? This happened when I made some pickled asparagus based on one of your recipes. It didn’t turn completely blue, but certainly blue-ish. It happened after I heated the garlic in the hot pickling solution, if I remember correctly.

Garlic has a tendency to turn blue when combined with an acid, particularly if it’s very fresh and heat is involved. For more about this, here are a couple of threads on Chowhound that go into bluing garlic. One thing I do in an attempt to avoid bluing garlic is to not include the garlic in the hot brine solution, but instead poke a couple of cloves in among the packed veggies, so that they don’t spend to much time in solo contact with the acid solution. Good news is that though it might not be particularly nice looking, blue garlic is perfectly safe to eat.

More questions/answers after the jump…

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Winners + Linkage

blue book picture

Wow. There were a lot of you who wanted this book. Unfortunately, I have but two copies to pass along (I calculated it out, and it would have cost more than $500 to send each one of you a copy. Until I become independently wealthy, that’s just not in the budget). I turned to the very handy Randomizer to pick the winners and it spit out numbers 9 and 43. That means that the lucky recipients are Pat and Meghan. I’ll be in touch with the two of you posthaste.

In other news, have you heard about the Can-volution? A bunch of us jar-crazy folk are putting together a coast-to-coast canstravaganza for the weekend of August 29th and 30th. The goal is for people to get together in groups and do a whole bunch of puttin’ up. I’m actually going to be heading out to Seattle that weekend, to attend a canning party with a few of my favorite bloggers and hopefully teach a canning class. Leave a comment if you’re interested in participating and I’ll do my best to hook you up with other canners in your area.

Also, I did an interview with Jen A. Miller (aka Jersey Shore Jen) recently in which we talk about canning, preserving and fresh produce. She posted it to NJ Monthly earlier this week and you can find it here if you’re inclined. .

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Sour Cherry Winner, Classes + More

sour cherries

Once again, I’m a bit later in announcing the giveaway winner than I had intended. However, I’ve had a lovely weekend, in which I taught a peach jam class (I’ll be posting the recipe tomorrow), spent some quality time with my fiance, finally got the mess of the apartment under control and ate some delicious summer produce (I think the highlight was the purple potato salad with sweet onions and homemade mayo), so I just don’t feel bad about my tardiness.

This little jar of sour cherry jam goes to Heather, commenter #14. Congratulations Heather (I’ll be emailing you shortly). I do wish I had enough to share with all of you, as this was a particularly delicious batch, but sadly, my supplies are quite limited. I do have good news for those of you in the Philly area, though. I was down at the Headhouse Square Farmers Market this morning, and I spotted sour cherries at Three Springs Fruit Farm, so there are still some to be had if you want to make your own jam.

In other news, I’ve got a new class to announce. I’m going to be leading a community canning workshop at Philly Kitchen Share on Saturday, July 25th, from 2-6 p.m. The reason for the extended block of time is that this a hands-on session in which we’ll peel and process 120 pounds of tomatoes. The workshop is limited to ten people, and all participants will be taking home 4 quarts of tomatoes. There are still a few spots left, so click here if you want to sign up. Cost is $30 per person.

And now, some links!

Veggicurious has been making savory jellies. They look gorgeous.

Culinate’s Caroline Cummins remembers her father-in-law and the jams he made.

Canning is so hot right now that it’s getting a mention in the Washington Post.

Minimally Invasive made a rosemary-thyme syrup that sounds totally divine.

Rich in peaches? Check out Doris and Jilly’s post on how to have homemade peach sherbet in January.

The Kitchn makes Blenheim apricot jam and discusses the differences between jams, jellies, conserves and more.

And pickles! Pickled mustard greens. Pickled shallots. Tarragon-garlic pickles.

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