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So Easy to Preserve Winners

Thanks to all of you who left comments sharing your hopes and excitements for the coming season! You all are ready for your gardens to bloom, for ripe strawberries and for sun-ripened tomatoes (in my opinion, there is nothing better). I’ve consulted the randomizer and it selected numbers 83 (Kat) and 170 (Sharon). Congratulations ladies, I’ll be in touch shortly to get your contact information.

For those of you who did not win, I do still highly recommend So Easy to Preserve, particularly if you’re planning on branching out and doing more canning this summer!

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Classes, Folk Music + Giveaway

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All over the country, farmers’ markets are opening, gardens are growing and edible abundance is pouring forth. Preserving season is here and what better way to get yourself on board to capture some of the summer season than to take a class with me! Classes will be held at Indy Hall, which is located at 20 N. 3rd Street, 2nd floor (sadly, Foster’s Homewares has shuttered, leaving a giant hole in the Philadelphia retail scene).

My classes are good both for people just starting out canning as well as those who have been doing it for awhile. I always hit the fundamentals of boiling water canning and also share the many tricks I’ve developed while standing over a steamy stove. Each class offers multiple opportunities to ask questions, so that each student can get the information they need from the experience.

For the complete schedule of classes, click here. There are still five spots available in my Rhubarb Chutney class this Saturday, May 15th. Each student who attends that class will receive a print-out of the recipe and a jar of the chutney we make in class. I still have a jar of this chutney that I made last year (I’ve been saving it just for this occasion), so we’ll also have a little snack of goat cheese, baguette and chutney to nibble while we work. Classes cost $39. Please email me at foodinjarsATgmail.com if you’d like to sign up.

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lovely raina

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have picked up the fact that my sister Raina is a musician. She’s been playing guitar since she was 9 years old and has been making her living (such as it is) as a performer for more than five years. Music is all she’s ever wanted to do.

She is currently a top contender in a contest held by The Recording Conservatory of Austin, but desperately needs more votes. Winning this contest would be an enormous boon to her career, so much so that I’m interrupting my endless stream of food chatter to ask you all to consider supporting her. It’s just what big sisters do.

Voting is easy.  CLICK HERE and vote for the Raina Rose Trio, which is Raina and her backup band. Right now she has a good chance of winning but it is competitive and every vote is important. Only one vote from each email address is allowed. There is nothing to join and you won’t be subscribed to a new mailing list.

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Now the giveaway. My birthday is Friday (wow, 31. How did that happen?) and I am hip deep in celebrations. Last night, my husband took me out for the most elegant (and expensive) meal of my life. Tomorrow, I’m having a cluster of friends and family over for a potluck (because I like nothing more than honoring a special moment over delicious food that has been made with love).

In order to share some of the joy with you, I’m giving away two copies of my very favorite canning book. Called So Easy to Preserve, this is the most referenced book on this site. It’s not a glossy book filled with pictures, it actually looks more like a community cookbook than anything else. However, whenever I want to try something new, this is the book that I look to first. The instructions are easy to follow and the explanations are written in a way that inspires confidence in the reader. If you are someone who takes your canning seriously, you must have a copy of this book on your shelf.

To enter yourself in this giveaway, leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’re most looking forward to about  summer foods. Whether it’s making your annual batch of peach butter, eating fresh raw peas or attending your neighborhood’s annual tomato festival, I want to read about it. Entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 16th. The winners will be posted Monday morning (I promise).

Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It Winner!

Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It

We’ve got a winner in the Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It giveaway! The lucky recipient of the book will be commenter #328, Avalee. She writes a luscious blog called The Wooden Spoon that features some lovely, light-filled photos and a variety of appealing-sounding recipes.

Thanks to all who entered the giveaway. I loved reading all your stories and am delighted by how many of you are diving into making things from scratch. Thanks also to Snubbr, for sponsoring this giveaway.

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Winner of the Non-Hybrid Seeds

Wow. Thank you all for all the gardening memories you shared. I loved how often the themes of discovery, sharing, multi-generational cooperation and delicious, fresh food came up as you all recounted your stories. I really wish that I had seeds for each and every one of you (and oh, how I wish I could see all the gardens you’ll be growing this summer).

But, as is the way with these giveaways, many will enter but only one will win. And today, our winner (thanks to random.org and their randomizer is the blogger behind Jimmy Cracked Corn (I’ll be in touch to get your contact info!). For all of you who didn’t win, but are still intrigued by these seeds, you can get them for $39.99 at Hometown Seeds.

Happy gardening!

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Summer Gardening + Seed Giveaway

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For the last eight years, I’ve lived in a two-bedroom apartment on the 20th floor of an apartment in the middle of Center City Philadelphia. I realize that some might see this as an enviable position, and really, I do recognize the many perks to my home (the block and a half commute to work is a particular joy).

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Nonetheless, I itch for outdoor space. For a deck on which to drink coffee in the summer and to feel the gentle heft of early morning sun, while still in my pajamas. For the ability to use the outdoors as extra refrigerator space in the winter. And for a little patch of dirt in which to grow my own tomatoes, cucumbers and climbing pole beans.

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Last summer, I chatted my way into a plot in a community garden (truly, I was at a happy hour and, over specialty cocktails, managed to mention to the the very right person how I yearned for growing space). It was about a mile and a half from my apartment and yet, it was heaven to have a bit of dirt to call my own. You see, I come from people who habitually plant edible things and so existing in a state of no backyard vegetable garden has been an unfamiliar and awkward position for me, even after all those years without.

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Happily, I’ll be returning to my twin bed-sized plot again this year and I couldn’t more delighted (even the profusion of mosquitoes can’t keep me away). This year I’m going to keep it simple, just tomatoes, kale and a number of herbs (last year, those damned vine borers destroyed my promising zucchini and cucumber plants. I can’t deal with that kind of disappointment again, so I’m skipping those plants for ones I know can survive the space).

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I realize that lots of you have started to plan your gardens (and your canning) and may have already placed your seed orders for the year. For those of you who haven’t, I’ve got a giveaway for you. I’ve have one set of Survival Seeds* from Hometown Seeds to send off to a lucky gardener. These are non-hybrid seeds, which means that you can save the seeds from your harvest and plant them again next season. They come packaged in a sealed mylar bag and are designed to keep for years (so even if you can’t use them this year, you can pop them into a cool, dark place and plant them next spring).

For a chance to win these seeds, leave a comment sharing a memory of a garden. I’ll select a random winner on Friday, March 19, 2010 at 11:59 p.m.

*For the record, I want to say that I do not preserve food or garden out of fear or a sense of impending doom. I know that there are lots of people out there who are motivated to acquire these skills because they believe some sort of global cataclysmic is imminent. Not me. I believe in hope and the ability of love to to triumph over fear and hate. I grown food because I appreciate the sense of renewal that it offers. And I preserve because it brings me joy (sun-ripened tomatoes in January!).

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Marmalade Winner

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Hooray for Erin of Erin Cooks, Yummery and the owner of two of my husband’s favorite internet cats. She is the winner (lucky number #33) of the Three-Citrus Marmalade.

Thanks to all of your for your comments! I’m so delighted to have helped demystify the process of making marmalade for so many of you.

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