American Lifestyle Magazine + Food in Jars

american-lifestyle-food-in-jars-cover

Back in June, I spent a couple of days filming a pair of videos with a team from American Lifestyle Magazine, to compliment a story they were writing about Naturally Sweet Food in Jars and me. The issue containing the story is now available and so I thought it was high time to share the videos we made that day. I hope you enjoy them (and that they help take your mind off the stress of Election Day, if only for a moment or two).

Comments { 8 }

Giveaway: Lids and Jar Sleeves from Intelligent Lids

Looking for storage lids that are liquid and air tight? Want a one-piece drink lid for your mason jar? In need of a cute, waste-free jar sleeves in which to wrap your jars for giving? Look no further than Intelligent Lids!

intelligent-lids-new-packaging

Back in the days when I worked in an office, I transported a lot of my food to work in mason jars. I’d pack yogurt and jam in a wide mouth half pint. I’d have my coffee in the three-cup capacity pint & half. And my lunchtime soup would be in a regular mouth pint (I always kept a bowl at my desk, into which I’d decant the soup for the microwave).

intelligent-lid-jar-sleeves-label

There were two primary challenges to all these jars. The first was that options for one-piece lids that didn’t leak were scarce. The second was that I had to carefully wrap my jars in dish towels to keep them upright and unbroken in my lunch bag (the totes from A Tiny Forest would have been so useful back then).

Colorful fabric jar sleeves from Intelligent Lids

Happily, there are so many more options for jar lids and sleeves these days. Some of the best are coming from the folks at Intelligent Lids in Seattle. They make one-piece drink and storage lids, and just recently added a line of colorful, fabric jar sleeves to their product line (they’re not up on the website yet, but should be soon!).

Drink lid from Intelligent Lids on a wide mouth pint jar

The drink lids have a slider so that you can open and close the opening. The one-piece storage lids are truly liquid and air tight. They are my preferred storage lids for things that absolutely cannot leak or get stale. Plus, they come in an array of bright colors, which I really enjoy.

The jar sleeves are designed as a fabric bag that cinches at the top, so that they’ll fit both regular and wide mouth jars. In addition serving as insulator, breakage preventer, or hand protector, you can also use them as a cute, waste-free wrapping for jars that you’re giving as a gift.

intelligent-lid-jar-sleeves

For this week’s giveaway, I have two lid and sleeve sets from the folks at Intelligent Lids to share with you guys. Each set includes a drink lid, a storage lid, and a sleeve. The winners will get to choose between regular and wide mouth lids, and pint or quart sized sleeves.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Intelligent Lids sent me the product you see pictured here. All opinions expressed remain entirely my own.

Roasted Quince Butter with Warm Winter Spices

A small batch of sugar-sweetened roasted quince butter is a tasty preserve for the fall canning kitchen.

five half pints of roasted quince butter

Back in September when I was in Portland, my mom and I drove out to Sauvie Island for a picnic and a walk. The day was crisp and sunny, and we both felt buoyant and energized by the gloriousness of the day. After we’d eaten, we went for a wander around the antique apple orchard at the old Bybee-Howell House.

A maintenance worker was there raking up the fallen apples. We asked if we could gather a few of the windfalls that were still in good shape (as we’ve been doing for years) and were told that they were headed for the compost and to help ourselves. I filled a bag with bruised but flavorful fruit and was entirely satisfied with my haul until I spotted a single quince laying on the ground amidst the apples.

The blossom end of quince for roasted quince butter

The game had gotten real. I love quince. And this year, they’ve been particularly hard to come by on the East Coast, in large part thanks to the wonky weather we had earlier in the season. So finding untended and unappreciated source for quince was a thrill. My scavenging went from casual stroll to focused searching and my determination paid off.

I finally found the single quince tree. There was a bounty of quince on the ground and I picked up every single one worth salvaging. While I was still in Portland, I made a batch of apple and roasted quince butter, using all the apples and the about half the quince (all that wouldn’t travel well). The rest of the quince? I bagged it up and brought it back to Philly with me for a batch of roasted quince butter.

five quince in a baking pan for roasted quince butter

Because quince is incredibly dense and unyielding when raw, I bake it until soft before I try do anything with it. This step doesn’t fully cook the fruit, it just softens it enough that you can cut into it without fear that the knife will bounce and slice your finger instead. It’s not the right approach if you want to make jelly with it, but it’s wonderful if you are planning to make jam, butter, paste or chutney.

Once it cools down from the oven, I cut away any remnants of the blossom, cut the quince into eighths, dump it into a saucepan, and simmer it with water until tender. Finally, I fit a food mill with its finest screen and push the cooked quince through. When that’s done, you’re left with a dense, fragrant, tart puree that is ready to be cooked, sweetened, and spiced into the preserve of your liking.

a close up of jars of roasted quince butter

For this batch, I opted to sweetened with sugar and spice with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. It is fragrant, smooth, and spreadable. I really like to spread a thin layer on a slice of craggy toasted sourdough and then top it with whispers of a well-aged farmhouse cheddar. Paired with a mug of tea, it’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up (and makes me feel like perhaps I’m traveling in time to a less complicated era).

How have you been preserving quince this season?

Continue Reading →

Comments { 6 }

Upcoming Events: Exeter Community Library, Cherry Grove Farm, Urban Farmer, and more!

stack-of-naturally-sweet

This is it. My final six events of 2016. I do so hope that you folks will mark your calendar and make a point of coming out to taste, dine, and cook with me!

Thursday, November 3 (Exeter, PA)
I’m returning to the Reading area for a autumn-themed canning demonstration at the Exeter Community Library. I’ll be making honey-sweetened Cranberry Apple Jam and will have books available for sale and signature. 6-8 pm. Free.

Saturday, November 5 (Lawrence Township, NJ)
Fellow food writer Tenaya Darlington and I will be at Cherry Grove Farm for their annual Cow Parade Festival. I’ll do a short canning demo, and Tenaya will pair some of my preserves with the cheeses they make at Cherry Grove. We’ll both also have books on hand for sale and signature. 3 pm.

Tuesday, November 15 (Philadelphia)
I’m teaming up with modern steakhouse Urban Farmer for a night designed to showcase Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. From 6-9 pm, you’ll be able to order a special three-course menu inspired by the book. The full menu is available for $50 or a la carte. It will include Salmon Crudo with parsley-fennel relish ($16), Pork Tenderloin glazed with apricot-gochujang barbecue sauce and served with daikon-carrot pickle ($32), Poached Pear Shortbread with cardamom-pear jam and vanilla ice cream ($9)

I’ll also be on hand with books available for sale and signature. It will be a really fun night of eating and I do hope that some of you come out!

Wednesday, November 16 (Glassboro, NJ)
My last library demo of the year is at the Glassboro branch of the Gloucester County Library. I’ll show you how to make a naturally sweetened autumn-themed preserve and will have books on hand for sale and signature. 7 to 8:30 pm. Free.

Thursday, December 1 (Easton, PA)
My final class of the year is at the Easton Public Market. We’ll make Maple-sweetened Cranberry Apple Jam and everyone will go home with a small jar of the preserves made in class. 7 to 9 pm. $30. Sign up here.

Sunday, December 11 (Philadelphia)
And, for my final event of the year, I’ll be doing a canning demo at the Hazon Food Festival. I’ll be there signing books in the marketplace and to offer a pickling workshop. The event runs from 10 am to 6:30 and the full day registration costs $25 for adults, $15 for students, and $10 for kids (they also have family packages on offer). Click for more information and registration details.

Comments { 1 }

November Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, EcoJarz, Luigi Bormioli, iLids, Mrs. Wages, Hobby Hill Farm, & Mason Jar Lifestyle

orange cuppow

I can’t quite believe it, but November is here and that means that it’s time to thank the people and businesses that help keep this site afloat. Tell them you appreciate their support of my work with a purchase or a social follow!

In the top spot are our friends at Cuppow. They are the creators of the original mason jar travel mug topper and the BNTO, a small plastic cup that transforms a canning jar into a snack or lunch box. Parents and kids love their EIO set, with its grippy silicone sleeve and a lid that makes for easy sipping. And make sure to check out their Cup Club, to see if using a mason jar and cuppow can earn you free coffee at a shop near you!

Lancaster, PA-based and family-owned Fillmore Container are next! They sell all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear. As always, their blog is an amazing resource for all things jar-related. Just this week, they published a round-up of recipes for the holidays and seven ways to preserve cabbage (that carrot and cabbage kimchi sounds amazing!).

After some time away, our friends over at EcoJarz are back as a sponsor. They make an array of products designed to fit on top of mason jars, and they just released a kit for fermenters to their stock. It contains a wide-mouth stainless steel ring, a wide-mouth stainless steel lid with a silicone gasket and grommet, an airlock, and a fermenting guide.

sealed-lock-eat-jars

A newcomer to sponsorship are our friends from Luigi Bormioli. They make the Lock Eat jars I wrote about last month. Lock Eat jars are the first ever designed with food preservation, storage and serving in mind. Well-made and visually appealing, they’re a terrific option for kitchens with open shelving.

iLids is a Seattle-based small business that makes both storage and drink lids in both regular and wide mouth sizes for mason jars. Their storage lids are water tight and the drink lids can accommodate a straw. Best of all, their lids come in a whole bunch of different colors, so there’s something for everyone! Check back next week, when I’ll be giving away some of their fabulous gear.

Our friends at Mrs. Wages are on the roster again this month. They make pectin, vinegar, and more canning mixes than I can count. Their website is an incredible preserving resource and I can’t say enough good things about their salsa mix. If you need a little help getting your produce into jars, remember to seek out their products!

Mason Jar Lifestyle handle sleeve - Food in Jars

Hobby Hill Farm is back with us as well. Based in Powhatan, Virginia, they sell locally made jams and preserves, homemade pretzels, candies, and cheese making kits (including the mozzarella kit I demoed here). Sharon teaches a ton of preserving, cheese making, baking, and pasta making classes, so if you’re in her neck of the woods, make sure to check out her class schedule!

Mason Jar Lifestyle is a one-stop shopping site for all the jar lovers out there. They sell all manner of mason jar accessories and adaptors. If you’re in the market for lids, straws, and cozies to transform your mason jars into travel mugs, make sure to check them out!

If your company or small business is interested in becoming a sponsor, you can find more details here. I offer discounts for multiple month purchases and am always happy to work with your budget. Leave a comment on this post or drop me a note to learn more!

Comments { 1 }

Links: Pumpkin Jam, Chai Concentrates, and Winners

cliffs-of-moher

I am back home from a magical trip to Ireland and am finally starting to get my brain back into the blogging game. Here are a few tasty links to hold you until I fully gather my thoughts! Oh, and Happy Halloween!

lagostina-pasta-pot

Now, let’s talk giveaways. For the recent ones that have utilized Rafflecopter, the winners are now displayed on the widget in those respective posts (most recently, EcoJarz and Lock Eat Jars). However, because I didn’t use Rafflecopter for the Lagostina giveaway , there’s been no announced winner. Until today. The winner of that gorgeous pot is Lisa J. Congratulations Lisa!

Oh, and just so you know, the giveaway is taking this week off, but will be back in the swing of things next week.

Comments { 0 }