Finding Equipment: Greensgrow Farms in Philadelphia

greensgrow canning cabinet

I was recently out at Greensgrow, an urban farm in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood and got a chance to take a peek at their canning cabinet. They have just about everything a home canner could want (and at competitive prices, too).

Greensgrow
2501 E. Cumberland Street
Philadelphia, PA 19125

If you have a local shop or market with a good selection of preserving tools and equipment, take a picture and send it over along with the store’s information and I’ll feature it here!

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Giveaway: The Fresh Girl’s Guide to Easy Canning and Preserving

Easy Canning and Preserving

I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve had two copies of this book in a pile on my desk for nearly a year and a half. I’m not sure what kept me from looking at it more closely, but those two copies got shuffled to the very bottom of a large stack and there they stayed. It wasn’t until Scott and I decided to do a bit of cleaning out recently that I finally sat down and took a look at The Fresh Girl’s Guide to Easy Canning and Preserving by Ana Micka.

Easy Canning and Preserving

Once I sat down with it, I was annoyed. With myself. I’d had this terrific book sitting around my apartment since September 2010 and hadn’t made anything from it or shared it with you guys.

Easy Canning and Preserving

The primary reason I’m so delighted to have this book in my canning library is for its pressure canning section. There are a number of books out there that will help you invent delicious jams, jellies, pickles, chutneys and other high acid preserves. These are useful books and I reference a great number of them regularly. However, the thing so many canning books seem to leave out is an in-depth section on pressure canning.

Easy Canning and Preserving

This book is different. It includes a substantial pressure canning section. You’ll find recipes for things like roasted tomato sauce, chicken and corn stew, borscht, minestrone and even ropa vieja. If you want to start filling your pantry with pressure canned, shelf stable soups, stews and sauces, this is a book you should check out.

It also comes with a DVD, should you be the type who learns best by watching. I’ve not viewed it myself, but I’m sure it might be helpful to some.

Easy Canning and Preserving

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that I had two copies of this book. That’s because I was sent one to keep and one to give away to a Food in Jars reader. So let’s do that. Here’s what to do for a chance to win.

  1. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and share your favorite wintertime meal. Whether you cook breakfast for dinner, pull homemade soup from the freezer or have the wherewithal to make a meat sauce from scratch on a Wednesday, I want to hear about it.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Friday, February 3, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted to the blog on Saturday, February 4, 2012.
  3. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents.
  4. One entry/comment per person, please.
Disclosure: As stated before, I was sent two copies of this book, one to review and one to give away. All opinions remain my own. 

Small Batch Blood Orange Marmalade

blood oranges

When I first started making marmalade, I thought it was the same as any other preserve. Chop the fruit, combine it with sugar and cook until set. I didn’t realize that citrus needed a more specialized treatment. You either need to cut away the tough, white pith or treat it in some way so that it tenderizes and loses its chewy bitterness.

blood orange marm cut one

This recipe uses an overnight soak to help break down the pith, providing a far superior product to the old blood orange marmalade recipe you’ll find on this site. The fruit becomes tender and it fully suspended in a ruby-hued jelly. Here’s how you do it.

Take 1 pound of blood oranges (approximately 4-5 tennis ball-sized oranges) and wash them well. Trim away both ends and slice the oranges in half.

blood orange marm cut two

Using a very sharp knife, trim away the core of the oranges and pluck out any seeds that you find. Set the cores and the seeds aside. Not all blood oranges have seeds, so don’t stress if you don’t find any.

blood orange marm cut three

Cut the orange halves into thin slices. Go as thin as you can manage (I recommend sharping your knife before starting this project).

blood orange marm cut four

Finally, cut each sliced half in half again, so that you have a number of thin blood orange quarters.

seeds and membranes

Bundle up all those seeds and pithy cores in a length of cheesecloth and tie it tightly so that nothing can escape.

soaking blood oranges

Put chopped oranges in a medium bowl and cover with 3 cups water. Tuck the cheesecloth bundle into the bowl and cover the whole thing with a length of plastic wrap or a plate. Refrigerate it overnight.

blood orange marm cooking

When you’re ready to cook your marmalade, remove the cheesecloth bundle. Combine the soaked fruit and water with 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar. If you happen to have a copper preserving pan like the one you see pictured above, make sure to fully dissolve the sugar into the fruit before pouring it into the pan.

three half pints

Bring the marmalade to a simmer and cook until it is reduced by more than half, reads 220 degrees F on a thermometer and passes the plate/sauce/wrinkle test. When it is finished cooking, pour marmalade into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

blood orange marm

When all is done, you should have three half pints of the most vivid red blood orange marmalade. I’m extraordinarily fond of this particular preserve on peanut butter toast, as you can see above. It’s also good on scones, stirred into yogurt or with crumbly homemade shortbread.

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Cuppow Winner

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Cuppow giveaway and share your morning beverage ritual. I loved hearing about all the different ways that you all start your mornings!

The winner of the Cuppow is commenter #917, also know as Annie S., who said, “I have only recently fell in love with Mason Jars. I now use them for anything I can think of. Storing leftovers, esp! Kids now drink from them-they think the small jelly jars are made just for them :) Drinking coffee in one would be a dream come true! Great work on the Cuppow people for serving a need!”

Congratulations Annie! You’ve been notified by email.

For the rest of you, I’ll have another giveaway on Monday, so stay tuned!

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Classes at The Pantry at Delancey in Seattle and an Event at the Book Larder

rhubarb/sugar/rosemary
Every time I announce my class schedule, I hear from bunches of you that you wish I could come and teach a class in your town. This summer, I’m going to be doing a bunch of traveling and teaching as a way to help promote my book and hopefully, I’ll be able to make a few of your wishes come true.

The first firmed up, official book-type dates I have to announce are those in Seattle in early June. On Sunday, June 10 at 11 am, I’ll be at the Book Larder, doing a canning demo and book signing.

Then, on Monday, June 11 and Tuesday, June 12, I’ll be at The Pantry at Delancey, teaching a pair of identical classes that will feature four recipes/canning skills. We’ll be making gingered pickled sugar snap peas, slightly spicy pickled asparagus, rosemary rhubarb jelly (you can see the jam version of that recipe above) and strawberry vanilla jam. Those classes are filling up fast, so make sure to reserve your spot soon.

For those of you who don’t live in Seattle, I’m also currently working on events in Portland, Eugene, San Francisco, LA, Austin, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC.

If your city isn’t on the list and you want me to come to your town, let me know. Because I’m funding this tour entirely on my own, what I’m trying to do is schedule pairs of paid classes and free events everywhere I go so as to help cover costs. If you can help me find ways to make that work, I’d love to hear from you.

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Cuppow Review and Giveaway

cuppow front

When I worked in an office, mason jars were a regular part of my commuter food world. I layered oats and yogurt into wide mouth pints for breakfast and I toted coffee in those discontinued pint and a half jars freezer jars that I love so much.

There’s one very large issue with drinking coffee from mason jar (particularly the taller ones that I like so much). The very significant risk of spillage. More than once, I nearly knocked over an open jar. A dangerous things when your work machine is a vulnerable laptop.

cuppow back

Though I work from home now, I still find myself reaching for an empty mason jar when it comes time for morning coffee or tea. Because of this habit, as well as the fact that I’m generally crazy for any new jar-related item (all in the interest of research), I ordered the Cuppow approximately 12 seconds after hearing about it.

For those of you out there who are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, here’s the scoop. Cuppow is a reusable (BPA free) plastic lid, designed to fit on a wide mouth mason jar. You use a standard ring to fasten it into place. It works equally well with wide mouth models of pint, pint and a half (if you can find them) and quart jars.

cuppow

So far, I love everything about this product, from the eye-pleasing, letter press packaging to the heft and feel of the Cuppow itself. I spent the morning using mine to drink my milky tea (coffee and I are on a break right now) and it performs exactly as I hoped it would.

It offers a similar drinking experience to that which you have with a disposal Starbucks cup, down to the slight whistle from the vent hole on the opposite side. No leaking, no mess and far less risk of spilling all over my workspace.

cuppow jar cozies

There is one issue when you use a mason jar for hot liquids. That is the inevitable heat transfer to your hand. Because I’ve been using jars for coffee and tea for years now, I have a small stash of hand knit and crocheted cozies from a few of my readers to slip around my jars. However, you don’t have to get something so fancy. A clean, orphaned sock would also do the job nicely.

cuppow on full jar

Because I asked nicely, the guys at Cuppow have given me one (1) of these mason jar lids to give away to a Food in Jars reader. Here’s what to do for a chance to win.

  1. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and tell us about your morning beverage ritual. Do you drink coffee or tea? Hot or cold? Or you like my husband, who prefers his caffeine cold and carbonated?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Friday, January 27, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted to the blog on Saturday, January 28, 2012.
  3. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents (so sorry, Canadians. I’m not controlling the shipping on this one).
  4. One entry/comment per person, please.
Disclosure: Cuppow is providing the giveaway unit. I bought and paid for my unit with my own money. All opinions expressed remain entirely my own.