Upcoming Events: Chicago!

jars at GHE

Attention mid-west canners! I am heading out to see you next week! I’ll be in and around the Chicago area and here is where you can find me!

August 11 – Highwood, IL
I’m teaming up with the nice folks from the Canning with Kids program to teach a canning with kids pickle making workshop at the Highwood Bocce Courts, 2:30-4 pm. Find your favorite kid and click here to sign up! It’s never to early to impart a love of canning!

August 12 – Gurnee, IL
I’ll be at the Warren-Newport Public Library from 7-8:30 pm to demonstrate how to make one of the small batches of jam from Preserving by the Pint. Afterwards, there will be tastes of jam and books for sale and signature. Click here to sign up!

August 13 – Glen Ellyn, IL
I’ll be at Marcel’s Culinary Experience from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. I’ll be making jam and pickles and will be signing books. I promise, a good time will be had by all. Click here to sign up!

August 14 – Lake Forest, IL
I’ll be teaching a hands on canning class at Sunset Foods from 6:30 – 9 pm. We’ll make tomato jam and dilly beans and everyone will go home with jars of each. Click here to sign up!

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Preserves in Action: Potato Salad with Pickles

potato salad angle

Back in May, my dad was in town for about a week. While he was visiting, we took a quick trip down to the Jersey shore to have dinner with my cousin Liz and her family. As is so often the case with my family, the plan was to potluck. Liz and her boyfriend Scott took care of steaks, clams, and a big green salad. I brought a pickle-heavy potato salad and a barely sweetened apple crisp.

dinner plate

I have been meaning to tell you about this salad since that night. It’s actually a dish I’ve been making for nearly a decade now, though I never make it exactly the same way. You quarter enough small red or yukon gold potatoes to feed your particular crowd. Boil them until tender. Drain the potatoes and return them immediately to the pan. Put the pan back on the stove, turn the heat to low, and pour in about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. The heat makes it vaporize and the flavor steams right into the potatoes.

boats and weathered wood

Once all the visible vinegar has evaporated, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil and toss the potatoes to coat. Remove the pan from the heat and add generous amounts of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add torn parsley, minced celery, diced red onion, and some chopped pickles (most of the time, I use cucumber pickles, but dilly beans and pickled peppers also work nicely). Don’t be stingy with the pickles, really heap them in there.

Toss it all to combine, give it a taste, and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Sometimes you might need more vinegar or olive oil. For best results, eat in the open air, in the company of friends and family.

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Tomorrow (Friday, August 8) in Lancaster County

so many peppers

I’m headed to Lancaster County bright and early tomorrow morning for a day of events! If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you at one of these classes or demos! I’ve heard that the demo at Fillmore Container is practically sold out, but there is plenty of availability at Lemon Street Market. As added incentive, everyone who comes out will get a Food in Jars sticker!

August 8 – Lancaster, PA
10-11:30 am – Canning class at Fillmore Container. Click here to sign up!
1-3 pm – Demo and signing at the Le Creuset Outlet. No registration required!
5:30 – 7:30 pm – Canning class and signing at Lemon Street MarketClick here to sign up.

Additionally, Fillmore Container is hosting a giveaway of Orchard Road products in conjunction with my visit out to their place. Check out this blog post for more details and to enter!

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Giveaway: Orchard Road Mason Jars

stack of Orchard Road jars

In the five and a half years that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve been asked nearly every canning-related question in the book. One that comes my way a lot is people wondering if there are options beyond traditional Ball jars.

Orchard Road jar line up

Sometimes they want a more affordable option. Other times they’re interested in jars that will give their preserves a different look from everything else out there. And once in a while, they just want a jar that will take a label nicely.

Orchard Road quarts

Happily, there’s a new player in the jar marketplace that can address these wants and needs. Called Orchard Road, they are selling lovely, simple mason jars in three sizes. The quarts and pints come in both regular and wide mouth versions, and the half pint jars come in just the regular mouth variety.

Orchard Road pint jars

All the Orchard Road jars are sold in packs of six and come in sturdy boxes that fully contain the jars. For those of you who like to store your finished jars in a box that will keep the jars out of the light, these boxes will be a godsend for you.

Orchard Road half pint

One thing to note is that Orchard Road sells their jars without lids or rings. For those of us that have giant bags full of rings and a stash of lids, this is a great blessing. If you don’t have an equally hefty collection, you can buy the lids and rings together in boxes of six.

Orchard Road lids

I’ve done a good bit of canning in Orchard Road’s jars now and really like them. The flexibility of the lids is slightly different from those made by Ball, so they don’t make the same satisfying ping noise as they seal. However, they make up for it by having a ton of open real estate so that you can scrawl the contents of the jar across the top with a Sharpie. As long as a jar has that, I’m happy.

Orchard Road used lid

Currently, Orchard Road jars have limited availability. I spotted them at the Goods Store out in Lancaster a couple weeks ago and I know that Fillmore Container has them in stock (and, they’ll be giving some away at my demo out there on Friday!).

Additionally, the nice folks at Orchard Road are sponsoring a giveaway. They’ve offered up three cases of jars and a set of matching lids. Winners get to choose the size jar. Many will enter, three will win.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your most recent canning project.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Sunday, August 10, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Monday, August 11, 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: Orchard Road sent me some jars and lids for testing and photography purposes for free. They are also are providing the jars for the giveaway winners at no cost to me. Still, all opinions expressed are mine alone. 

Other People’s Preserves: Sauerkraut Seth

sauerkraut seth kimchee

For the longest time, I’ve had it in my head to occasionally feature jams, pickles, and other lovely small batch products made by other people here on this site. I’ve tried to get it happening a couple of times in the past, but I just wasn’t able to sustain it over the long term.

However, recently a few delicious jars have fallen into my lap that are just too good not to share. So occasionally, I’ll be running a feature I’m calling “Other People’s Preserves” so that if you spot these products in the wild, you’ll scoop up a jar or two.

For this inaugural feature, I want to tell you about Sauerkraut Seth. Made by musician and lacto-fermentation expert Seth Travins, this line of sauerkraut and kimchee is totally raw, satisfyingly spiced, and generally quite delicious.

raw kimchee

I discovered Sauerkraut Seth back in May, when Scott and I were staying friends up in Western Massachusetts. One night during our visit, we went to see a band called The Wiyos in an old church that had been transformed into a performing arts space.

I was charmed by the band (I’m a sucker for story songs with a folksy, roots feel), pretty darn delighted when they sang a song dedicated to lacto-fermentation, and then ready to be a groupie when Seth announced that during intermission, he’d be out in the lobby selling jars of his ferments.

Here’s where you can get Sauerkraut Seth. Or just go to a Wiyos concert and pick up a jar.

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Giveaway: Mrs. Wages Pickling Spices and Starters

Mrs. Wages Pickle Pack giveaway

I’ve been doing a bit of work with the nice folks from Mrs. Wages for at least four summers now. One element of our annual partnership is that they always offer up one or two awesome baskets of their mixes, spices, and starters for me to give away to my equally awesome Food in Jars readers. This summer is no exception!

This week, I am giving away a massive basket of Mrs. Wages pickle spices, mixes, and starters, as well as copy of Mrs. Wages Canning Cookbook. Here’s how to enter!

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your current favorite pickle. Whether it’s one you make, one your mom always has in her fridge, or just your favorite local brand, I want to hear about it.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, August 2, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, August 3, 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: Mrs. Wages is providing the basket for the giveaway. They are also a Food in Jars sponsor and so do help contribute to the running of this site.