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Summer Vegetable Braise with Roasted Garlic Roma Tomato Sauce

This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.

Yesterday, I showed you how to make the Roasted Garlic Roma Tomato Sauce from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products. This thick, flavorful sauce is a winner, because it’s both easy to make (the roasting/grilling step makes the tomatoes so easy to peel) and because it’s so versatile once in the jar.

It could easily replace the jars of store bought sauce we all keep around for nights when we can’t manage much, but it also can be used as a component in a longer cooking dish as well. That’s what I’ve done here. I’ve taken this tasty sauce and have combined it with some of the summer veg that’s so abundant right now. The result? A hearty, meatless braise that is simple to make but nice enough to serve to company.

You start the way so many of these things start. But warming a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a roomy pot and adding a chopping onion. Once that onion begins to color, you add a cubed eggplant (no need to salt or drain) and stir it well into the onions, so that it will also start to brown a bit. Then you add the zucchini and a couple crushed garlic cloves and work them in.

Once all the veg has had a chance to brown and soften a little, you add a quart of the Roasted Garlic Roma Tomato Sauce. Pour a cup of water into the jar and swirl it around well (so as not to leave behind even a bit of that flavor) and pour it into the pot as well. Give everything a good stir, reduce the heat to medium-low so that you maintain a very slow, lazy simmer, put a lid on the pot, and cook for about an hour. You want to stir occasionally to ensure that the bottom of the pot doesn’t burn, but otherwise it’s very hands off.

When the hour is up, remove the lid from the pot, turn the heat up to medium, and simmer a little more vigorously to cook off any water the braising process brought to the surface of the stew. Once it is as thick as you’d like it, taste to ensure that the seasoning levels are good. Finally, you are ready to serve.

I like to ladle this braise over a puddle of freshly cooked polenta (simmer 1 part coarse cornmeal with 4 parts salted water, until creamy and quite thick). If I don’t have the time to cook polenta, I’ll toss it with cooked penne or gemelli. Topped with a pinch of grated parmesan cheese, it makes a lovely late summer meal.

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Roasted Garlic Roma Tomato Sauce from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products

This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.

So far this summer, I’ve written three pairs of posts in partnership with my friends at Ball®Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands. In May, it was all about their Mixed Berry Jam and the Jammy Baked Oatmeal I made with it. In June, we focused in on Honey Cinnamon Pears and the Honey Cinnamon Pear Sorbet I turned them into. Last month, the starter recipe was Kosher Dill Pickle Spears (so crisp and tangy!) and the transformation was a batch of Pasta and Kosher Dill Pickle Salad.

This month, we’re talking tomatoes. In my area, they are finally starting to show up at farmers markets with heady abundance. I am buying them 10 or 25 pounds at a time in order to put up enough various tomato products to get me through the year (my goal is to do enough tomato puree, whole peeled, and salsa to get me through to next August).

I am also going to make room for several more batches of this Roasted Garlic Roma Tomato Sauce from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products because it is super flavorful. This recipe uses a peeling technique that I’d heard about but never tried before. Instead of blanching the tomatoes in a large pot of water, you broil them (I cut mine in half prior to broiling so that I didn’t have to turn them)! It worked so well. The recipe says you can also do it on the grill, which would be a great way to keep all that heat out of the house.

Once the tomatoes are peeled, you squeeze out the seeds, chop them roughly and heap them in a pot (the tomatoes you see pictured above were just the peeled halves. I seeded and chopped after this).

Once the tomatoes are prepped, you add some chopped onion, three heads of roasted garlic, fresh basil and oregano, and a little salt. Heat to a low simmer and cook until thoroughly warmed through (I confess, I reduced mine a little as the tomatoes put off a good bit of water).

While the sauce heats, prepare a boiling water bath canner and three quart jars.

Once you judge that the sauce is done, remove one jar from the canner. Add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (you could also use 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice if you prefer), and funnel in some of the sauce, filling to 1/2 inch headspace. Stir with a wooden or plastic chopstick to remove any trapped air bubbles. Wipe the rim, apply a lid and ring, and place the jar back in the canner. Repeat with the remaining jars and sauce.

These jars are processed for 40 minutes at a full rolling boil (remember, if you live at elevation, you need to adjust your processing time accordingly). When the time is up, remove the lid, turn off the heat, and let the jars cool slowly in the canner. Once that time is up, remove the jars from the canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel. Once the jars are entirely cool, check them to ensure that the jars have sealed fully and completely.

This sauce is a great pantry builder, because it can be heated and served over pasta, polenta, or sauteed greens. I like to use it in combination with zucchini and eggplant, for a tasty summer vegetable braise. Check back for that recipe tomorrow!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Newell Brands as part of a compensated partnership. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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Pasta and Kosher Dill Pickle Salad

This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.

Yesterday, I showed you how to make the Kosher Dill Pickle Spears from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products. These spears are my ideal pickle in both form and flavor. They are brightly flavored, have a hint of sweetness, and thanks to the addition of Ball® Pickle Crisp, hold on to their texture nicely.

These pickles are good for so much. They are obviously perfection alongside a sandwich. You can nestle one into the bun with a hot dog or grilled sausage. And they make a really delicious addition to all manner of summer salads.

This version of pasta salad takes some elements from classic macaroni salad, but tweaks it so that it’s less sweet and more vegetable-forward than the versions you get at your local deli.

I use just 8 ounces of pasta with 1 1/2 cups of pickles, along with chopped celery, red onion, hard boiled egg, chopped parsley, and a dressing made from mayo and pickle juice. It can be served warm or chilled and is the perfect thing to make ahead and keep in the fridge for a week of easy meals.

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Kosher Dill Pickle Spears from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products

This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.

Last month, I teamed up with my friends at Ball®Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands to share their recipe for Honey Cinnamon Pears and the Honey Cinnamon Pear Sorbet I made with it. (Back in May, I did their Mixed Berry Jam and made Jammy Baked Oatmeal.) This month, we’re talking pickles.

Kosher Dill Pickle Spears, to be precise. These pickles are the exact image my brain conjures when I think of a classic kosher dill and they live up to their name in both form and flavor.

This style of pickle is one of the most versatile in the homemade pantry. They are great with sandwiches, tucked Chicago-style into hot dogs, or diced and stirred into dressings and relishes.

It’s an incredibly easy pickle to make. You start (as with most canning projects) by placing your jars in a canning pot, filling it about two-thirds full of water, and bringing it to a low simmer. While the canner heats, grab a few pounds of pickling cucumbers, trim the ends (make sure to remove the blossom end!), and cut them into spears.

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once the canning pot has come to a simmer and the jars are hot, remove one jar. Working quickly, place dill, garlic, Pickle Crisp®, and spices into the bottom of the jar. Pack the cucumber spears into the jar, fill it with the hot brine to 1/2 inch headspace, and wiggle out the air bubbles (top with more brine if the level has dropped below 1/2 inch).

Wipe the rim, apply the lid and ring, and return the jar to the canner. Repeat the process with the remaining jars. Once all the jars are filled, process them in the boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. When the time is up, turn off the heat, remove the lid and let the jars stand in the hot water for an additional five minutes

Once the jars have finished cooling in the water, remove them from the canning pot and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. These pickles like to have at least a week in the jar to allow the flavor to infuse before you open them up. Check in tomorrow for a recipe that will show you how to use them in a most delicious way.

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Honey Cinnamon Pears from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products

This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.

Last month, I teamed up with my friends at Ball®Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands to share their recipe for Mixed Berry Jam and the Jammy Baked Oatmeal that I made with it. This month, we’re talking pears.

Honey Cinnamon Pears, to be precise. In this recipe, quartered pears are briefly simmered in a syrup made from apple juice and honey before being packed into Ball® Pint Jars with a cinnamon stick, topped with the syrup, and processed in a boiling water bath. It’s a really easy and approachable recipe (no peeling!) that produces perfectly sweet pears kissed with a hint of cinnamon.

To make these pears, start by getting your jars warming in the canning pot (for this project, I used the Ball® Sharing Jars). Fit your canning pot with a rack, place the jars on top and fill both the jars and the pot halfway with water. Bring it to a simmer over low heat and keep it around 180F until you are ready to fill the jars. Wash lids and rings in hot, soapy water and set them aside.

Once your canning gear is all set, you turn your attention to the pears. Wash them well (make sure to remove any stickers!), cut them into quarters, and cut away the cores.

As you work, place the cut pears into a bowl of acidulated water (that’s a fancy word for water spiked with either lemon juice or Fruit Fresh) to prevent the pears from browning.

Once the pears are prepped, make the syrup. Combine water, apple juice, and honey in a large saucepan (you want to use something large enough to eventually hold all the pears.

When the syrup comes to a simmer, add the pears to the pot and let them stay in the syrup just until they’re heated through (too much time in the syrup will lead them to overcook and fall apart, so stay attentive).

As soon as the pears are warm, it’s time to fill the jars. Remove a single jar from the canning pot and place it on a folded towel or cutting board. Place a cinnamon stick in the bottom of the jar and funnel the warm pear quarters into the jars. Use a chopstick to help settle them into place (I found that I could get 6-7 pear quarters into each jar).

Top the pears with the syrup and remove any trapped air bubbles, taking care to maintain a headspace of 1/2 inch. Wipe the rim of the jar, place a lid on top, secure it with a ring (finger tip tight, please), get that jar in the canner, and repeat with the next jar.

These pears are good to eat with yogurt or cottage cheese. You can warm them and serve them over pancakes or waffles. Or you could turn them into sorbet. Check back tomorrow to learn how to do just that!

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New Amber Jars from Ball Canning + Discount Code from Fillmore Container

Curious about the new amber Ball jars? Use the code “BALL5%OFF” on Fillmore Container to get 5% off all Ball jars.

Spring is here! The birds are chirping. Daffodils are blooming. New-born lambs are gamboling. And this year’s line-up of specialty mason jars from Ball Canning are now available.

This year, these specialty jars come in three sizes (pint, quart, and half gallon) and are made of sturdy amber glass. Unlike previous colored jars, these amber ones are designed to block 99% of harmful UV rays, which can help maintain quality, color, and fragrance in preserves, dried herbs, and tinctures.

One thing I like about these jars is that they glass is so opaque that it doesn’t appear to discolor the contents of the jar, it simply conceals (unlike previous generations of colored jars, which left your preserves looking a little sickly).

I also appreciate how thick and sturdy the glass feels (while I haven’t pulled out a measuring device, I believe that the walls might be a bit thicker than in other Ball jars). The only downside to their opacity is that if you use them for canning, you really need to label the jars well, because you’re not going to be able to intuit the contents without opening the jar.

This week, I’ve teamed up with Fillmore Container, to show you how these jars perform in a canning situation and offer a discount code (read on!), in case you want to get some of your own. I cooked up a batch of this strawberry ginger jam and processed two of the three pints the recipe made in these new amber jars.

The reason I chose to use these jars for strawberry jam is that it’s a preserve that is notorious for its tendency to discolor, particularly if made with lower amounts of sugar. My hope is that six months from now, these jars will still be vividly bright.

Now, you might be wondering why I’ve teamed up with Fillmore Container to tell you about these new jars, rather than with Ball Canning. The reason is this. Ball isn’t selling jars or appliances directly to consumers anymore. If you’ve been over to Fresh Preserving lately, you might have noticed this.

However, Fillmore Container has one of the largest selections of Ball jars available online (and they are a family-owned company based right here in Pennsylvania), making it easy for you guys to get your hands on these jars.

This week, you can use the code “BALL5%OFF” to get 5% off all the Ball Jars that Fillmore Container sells. This coupon is valid April 23, 2018 through April 30, 2018. You do need to be logged into a user account on the Fillmore Container site for the coupon code to work (an account is free to set up) and the discount does not apply to shipping.

I definitely feel like these amber jars have a place in my kitchen and pantry and I’m happy to have them as an option. What are your thoughts?

Disclosure: Fillmore Container is a Food in Jars sponsor and provided the jars pictured in this post at no cost to me. 

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