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Pickled Cranberries for Ball’s 25 Days of Making and Giving

pickled cranberries pint

I am a devoted to the belief that when it comes to holiday giving, a homemade gift (preferably edible), is best. I come by this attitude honestly, as my parents have a tradition of pairing my mother’s homemade jams with quart jars of my dad’s famous pancake mix to share with their friends, family, and neighbors.

I’ve been filling little flat rate boxes to send off some of my favorite far-flung people, and when my local family gathers on Saturday for our annual Hanukkah party, I’ll be carrying a sturdy crate full of jams and pickles so that everyone can pick their favorite.

pickled cranberries pint horizontal

This year, I’ve teamed up with Ball Canning to share a seasonal recipe as part of their 25 Days of Making and Giving campaign. All across the internet, bloggers have been posting their favorite gift in a jar creation to help inspire your handmade holiday. For my part, I’ve decided to share an updated and improved version of my pickled cranberries.

I initially wrote a recipe for pickled cranberries back in the days when I was writing about pickles for Serious Eats. However, I’ve found that the yield wasn’t perfectly consistent and readers sometimes struggled to find some of the ingredients I called for. This new and improved version makes exactly 4 pints of preserves (which you can either can in pint jars, or spread across half pints, for an increased gifting yield) and uses things you should be able to get at the grocery store or local spice shop.

pickled cranberries

The finished pickle is a lovely thing to serve alongside roast meat or with a cheese plate, and if you’re going to pack it up in a box to ship across country, I highly suggest that you include a note telling the recipient to stir the liquid into sparkling water or a gin and tonic.

Win Canning Supplies during Ball Canning’s 25 Days of Making and Giving

This recipe is part of Ball Canning’s 25 Days of Making and Giving—each day throughout December, Ball will be sharing a new gift-in-a-jar recipe or tutorial designed for holiday giving Make sure to check back each day throughout the month for a new, fun way to handcraft your holiday gifts. You can also follow Ball Canning on Facebook or Pinterest to stay on top of the daily posts!

During the 25 Days of Making and Giving, Ball is giving away daily prizes to those who enter on the contest website (you can enter every day)! Each daily entry is also included in the grand prize drawing for a FreshTech Automatic Canning System.

Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Ball Canning. However, all the thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely mine.

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Big Cyber Monday Sale at Cuppow

cuppow sale!

Attention canning jar fans, do I have a sale for you! The folks at Cuppow have put their entire stock on sale. If you want to pick up some lids, BNTO adapters, CoffeeSocks, Mason Taps, or any thing else jar-related (the price on the Mason Shaker is pretty darn great), do it now while everything is 25% off. You don’t need a coupon code, prices are automatically adjusted to reflect the lower prices.

The sale started yesterday and runs through Tuesday, December 2.

Make sure to check out the gift pack options as well, because they’ve got some good ones, like the Perk Me Up! (a full pour over coffee set-up for your favorite caffeine addict). Oh, and they still have a few signed copies of Preserving by the Pint. I hear those make excellent gifts.

Finally, do remember that Cuppow gives 5% of all profits to charity, so the more you buy, the more they give to organizations like Cradles to Crayons and Team Rubicon.

(Disclosure: Cuppow is a loyal Food in Jars sponsor. However, I’m writing this blog post because I think they make an awesome product and I wanted to make sure that you guys didn’t miss out on this deal.)

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Sponsored Post: Vegetable Gardening Class Giveaway from Craftsy

vegetable gardening title card

This post is the next installment in my sponsored content partnership with Craftsy. This time, I took Doug Green’s Vegetable Gardening class. It has left me determined to find a community garden plot next year! Read on for more!

Though backyard gardens all across the country are still pumping out tomatoes and zucchini, a smart gardener knows that now is actually the best time to spend a few minutes evaluating this summer’s gardening effort and begin thinking about next year (of course, I’m one to speak. I have no gardening space whatsoever).

One way to help prepare for next year’s abundance is to take a class to help you sharpen your skills. Craftsy’s Vegetable Gardening is one such class (and can be taken right from your own computer!).

Click here to enter for a chance to win Vegetable Gardening!

veg gardening potting plant

Taught by long time gardener Doug Green, this course starts with information about how to build raised beds (or improve the ones you’ve already got). Once your foundation is set, he walks you through the sets of starting seeds, transplanting those seeds, and the fine art of keeping those seedlings alive and kicking.

He also touches on various composting systems, soil improvements, sowing seeds, methods to keep your plants protected, crop rotation, ways to plant multiple varieties together for best results, and even tips for keeping the pests away.

This class is a valuable resource for both new gardeners and those with a handful of seasons under their belt.

plastic wrapped tomato cage

Because they want to help spread the word about this most excellent gardening class, the folks at Craftsy are offering up one registration for giveaway to a Food in Jars reader. Just click the link below to enter (it will take you over to Craftsy, where you’ll create an account with them in order to toss your hat in the ring).

Click here to enter for a chance to win Vegetable Gardening!

All photos in this post are printed here courtesy of Craftsy.

For more about this series of sponsored posts and my year-long partnership with Craftsy, please visit this post.

Official disclosure statement: This is sponsored post from Craftsy. I was compensated for this post. However, all opinions remain my own.

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Sponsored Post: Craftsy’s Free Class Creative Ways with Whole Grains

quinoa and kale salad

This post is the next installment in my sponsored content partnership with Craftsy. This time, I took Anna Bullett’s Creative Ways with Whole Grains. It was an entertaining and highly useful class that reminded me of how wonderful and easy whole grain cooking can be. Read on for more!

I believe that every home cook should have at least one hearty grain salad in his or her culinary repertoire. They keep well, are customizable to nearly every food allergy and preference, travel well, and they make really excellent leftovers.

barley, cucumber and feta salad

Back in the days when I was working in an office full time, I would often make a big batch of barley, cucumber, red onion, parsley, and feta salad, and eat it for lunch all week. In addition to being a tasty and simple way to eat a good lunch, those bowls of grain salad really helped keep my grocery budget in check.

The only trouble I have with my beloved grain salads and side dishes is that I easily fall into a rut and make the same three dishes on repeat. To combat my tendency to combine the same flavors over and over again, my eyes are always peeled for fresh grain inspiration.

brown jasmine rice

A few days ago, while on the road and far away from my kitchen, I took Craftsy’s free class, Creative Ways with Whole Grains. It offered up a wealth of fresh ideas and had me itching to get back home and into the kitchen to try some of Anna Bullett’s recipes.

She starts the class with an introduction to a variety of whole grains, offers tips on how to cook them, and then makes a wheatberry salad with goat cheese that looks positively delicious. Later, she shows how to make a wild rice pilaf that would work wonderfully on a potluck or holiday table, cooks up quinoa porridge for breakfast, and turns onions, mushrooms, and farro into a creamy risotto.

quinoa in a jar

As we head into autumn (deny it all you want, it is coming), consider adding a couple of warm grain dishes to your regular rotation to help keep bellies full and satisfied.

If you want to take the Creative Ways with Whole Grains class, click here to register!

For more on my year-long partnership with Craftsy, head over to the first post in the series, all about my experience taking their free Knife Skills course.

Official disclosure statement: This post was sponsored by Craftsy. I was compensated for my time. However, all opinions remain entirely my own.

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Plum Cardamom Jam and a Anolon Advanced 11-Piece Cookware Set Giveaway [sponsored]

finished plum cardamom jam

The first homemade jam I ever tasted was made with homegrown plums. I was just four or five years old and the trees in our backyard were having a bumper year. My mom picked enough to fill her yellow enamel colander, gave them a good rinse under the tap, and turned them in sweet, slightly drippy preserves. We ate those plums over pancakes and with oatmeal every chance we got.

syrupy plums

Though I will often tell people that blueberries are my foundational fruit (and they were the star in my very first solo batch of jam), there is something about the flavor of plum jam that makes my brain go, “ah yes, THIS is what homemade jam should taste like.”

finished plum jam

I recently made my first batch of plum jam for this season (I was asked by Anolon gourmet cookware to develop this particular recipe), from the same kind of sturdy black plums that used to grow in our southern California yard. I added a little ground cardamom for extra depth and I cooked the whole thing in the 7.5 quart wide stock pot from the Anolon Advanced line. Though I don’t normally gravitate towards non-stick cookware for jam making, the width and low walls of the pan made it irresistible.

Get the recipe for Plum Cardamom Jam! 

Currently, Macy’s is offering 20% off all open stock of Anolon Advanced cookware through the month of August, so if the idea of a low, wide, large, non-stick stockpot floats your boat, make sure to check it out!

I also have one Anolon Advanced 11-Piece Cookware Set to give away to one Food in Jars reader. Anolon is hosting a number of giveaways this month, so make sure to follow them on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest) to stay in the know. Here’s how to enter my giveaway.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite piece of cookware. Skillet? Dutch oven? Stock pot? Random fish pan you got at a garage sale?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, August 16, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, August 17, 2014.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post (hopefully that was clear before you got to this disclosure statement). Anolon has compensated me for the creation of the plum jam recipe. They sent me the stockpot in which I made the jam (I did really like it, though), and they’re providing the cookware set for the giveaway. The thoughts and words are still all entire mine. 

 

Sponsored Post: Marcella Hazan’s Butter, Tomato, and Onion Pasta Sauce Recipe from Craftsy

tomatoes for craftsy post

As a canner, the next three or four weeks are the pinnacle of my preserving year. While it’s true that there are good things to can all year round, there is nothing better than the moment when local tomatoes are in season, available from local farmers, and sold by the 25 pound box. And that moment is now.

Over the years, I’ve developed a tomato strategy. Sometime in August, I get my hands on about 100 pounds of sturdy paste, roma, or plum tomatoes. I lay a tarp out on my dining room table and I arrange the tomatoes on top. The ripest tomatoes are positioned closest to the kitchen and the least ripe ones get a few days to redden up on the far end.

I then proceed to make somewhere between five and seven different preserves. Whole peeled tomatoes take up the lion’s share of my work, with about 40 pounds going into jars after being cored and peeled. The rest are divided between basic sauce, roasted corn salsa, pizza sauce, tomato jam, and a few precious jars of oven roasted tomato paste.

The reason that so many of my tomatoes go into jars whole and peeled is that they are my most versatile pantry ingredient. I add them to stews, I turn them creamy soups, and I make Marcella Hazan’s Butter, Tomato, and Onion Pasta Sauce.

If you’ve never cooked down tomatoes with butter and a bit of onion, you are in for an absolute treat. The onion is cut in half, so it expresses its flavor into the sauce without overpowering the earthy marriage of tomato and butter. The resulting sauce is magic with pasta, but my favorite way to serve it is with braised kale and these chicken ricotta meatballs.

While I wish I could can the finished buttery sauce and have it ready to go at a moment’s notice, dairy products don’t do well in the canning pot. However, having my own home canned tomatoes on the shelf means that the finished sauce is never more than 45 minutes away.

Get the recipe for Marcella Hazan’s Butter, Tomato & Onion Pasta Sauce Recipe here!

This weekend, Craftsy is also having a sale and all Food and Cooking classes are up to 50% off. If there’s a class you’ve been wanting to take, now’s the time!

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