Finding Equipment: Fishs Eddy in New York City

Canning section at Fishs Eddy in New York.

One of the joys of living in Philadelphia is that it’s possible to do things like pop up to New York for the day. Yesterday, I did just that.

I went up to spend some time at Korin, a store that sells Japanese knives and tableware, to learn a bit about those knives and the art of sharpening (more about that on Monday). While I was there, I took advantage of the unseasonably warm February weather to explore the city a bit.

During my rambling walk, I came across Fishs Eddy. I’ve known of this store for years now, but never managed to fit a visit into previous NYC visits. Happily, I had few time constraints yesterday and so was able to pop in. What did I see almost immediately upon setting foot in the store? A thoroughly stocked selection of canning jars! They carry nearly every jar in production, save my beloved wide mouth half pint.

They are a bit pricier than you’ll find in less populated areas of the country, but that’s ones of the facts of life in Manhattan. And if you’ve been hunting for those fabulous half gallon jars to hold your dry goods, you can buy a single here for less than $4. Definitely cheaper that fancy canisters and just as serviceable.

Fishs Eddy
889 Broadway at 19th Street
New York City, NY 10003

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Canning 101: On Adjusting for Altitude

Columbia River Gorge hills

One thing I rarely mention in my recipes is the necessity to adjust cooking and processing times if you live more than 1,000 feet above sea level. I don’t bring it up often because even in my 20th floor apartment, I don’t come close to being that high up (the bulk of Philadelphia is at sea level and the highest portion of the city doesn’t go more than 500 feet above sea level).

Thing is, not all of you live in my lovely city and so elevation is something you do need to keep in mind. The reason it has an impact in canning is that once you get more than 1,000 feet above sea level, the temperature at which water boils gets lower (there’s a calculator here that allows you to plug in your altitude and get your specific boiling point).

If you use a thermometer to monitor the progress of your preserves, you don’t have to do too much to adjust during cooking. Just know that when your jam comes to a boil, it could still be a few degrees shy of 212° and may still have quite a way to go before reaching its set point.

However, elevation has more of an impact on the processing of preserves because once water boils, it can’t get any hotter. This means that even if your canning pot is happily boiling away, it might not be as hot as you think. The way that the USDA and the National Center for Home Food Preservation has you compensate for this temperature differential is by increasing processing time. Here’s the guide for making these adjustments.

1,001 to 3,000 feet, add 5 minutes
3,001 to 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes
6,001 to 8,000 feet, add 15 minutes
8,001 to 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes

If you live above 1,000 feet, you also have to adjust the amount of pressure you apply during pressure canning. The rule of thumb is that you need an additional 1/2 pound of pressure for every 1,000 feet you are above sea level. If you have a weighted gauge canner, you’ll just use the 15 pounds of pressure setting for any recipe that calls for 10.

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Food in Jars Classes in the March Issue of Country Living

country living

When I was growing up, one of the few magazines that my mom subscribed to was Country Living (she also got Newsweek each week thanks to her step-father, but that one wasn’t nearly as interesting to me). She loved the spreads of rustic antiques and because I loved anything she did, I’d pour over them with her. I believe the seeds of my jar love were planted during those days.


Many months ago, an editor from Country Living sent me an email, asking for some details on my classes. I gave her all the information I could, all the while buzzing with excitement that I might just make it into the pages of this magazine that I’d spent so many hours with.

Earlier today, I heard that the March issue was on shelves and that my classes had made the cut (thanks so much for the tip, Ashley!). I raced over to my neighborhood Barnes and Noble and flipped through the pages until I found the spread. I snuck in to the corner and took a couple photos right then and there. It’s just a little mention, but still thrills me to the core. Make sure to take a peek!

Also, in other news, I’m hosting a business card giveaway over on my personal blog, Apartment 2024. If that’s something you might be interested in, please click over to enter.

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Quick Pickled Fennel with Orange Slices on Serious Eats

quick pickled fennel

Earlier this week, I devised a quick pickled fennel recipe for Serious Eats. If you like fennel, this pickle will make you very happy. It starts with a salting step that helps the fennel release some liquid and then has you toss the fennel with some freshly ground black pepper and sliced orange.

The oranges lend some sweetness and play nicely with the apple cider vinegar. I eat this one straight from the jar with my fingers, but if you have better manners than I do, I recommend drizzling a small portion with some olive oil and eating it with a fork.

If you’re ever interested in seeing all the pickle columns I’ve written for Serious Eats, I’ve added them to the bottom of my recipe index. Scroll all the way down and feast your eyes on all that pickly goodness.

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Books: The Urban Farm Handbook

The Urban Farm Handbook

It has always been a dream of mine to have a little farm. When I was four years old, adults would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I would say, “A farmer.” I imagined myself in overalls and a red plaid shirt, spending my days playing in the soil. I realize, my childhood vision of farming doesn’t actually line up with the reality of the profession.

Life took a number of turns and farming never became my path. Instead, when I became old enough to make my own choices, I moved to a city and into an apartment without even a stitch of outdoor space.

The Urban Farm Handbook

Most of the time I am entirely at peace with the way things have worked out (after all, apartment living hasn’t stopped me from canning my little heart out). However, in the springtime, I feel a yearning to plant seeds in the dirt and help them grow. Still, I dream of having a little bit of outdoor space someday, to plant a garden and maybe even have a chicken or two (my husband is firmly against the idea of livestock).

One of the way I feed this longing to plant and raise and grow is by reading stories from other folks who are doing it. At the moment, my favorite farming and homesteading book is The Urban Farm Handbook by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols. What’s so great about this volume is that for me, it is both an aspirational volume and useful hand book in the present day.

The Urban Farm Handbook

In addition to being full of all of someday useful information about chickens, backyard dairy and how to get the most food out of your city plot, it’s also bursting with recipes and techniques that I can implement in my apartment-based life. It has a lengthy food preservation section, as well as information on grinding grain at home, making butter/yogurt/cheese and even homemade soap and lotion.

There’s also a section on building food community, bartering and creating your own buying clubs. I know author Annette has done a great deal of work in building a buying club in her area of the Pacific Northwest and I’m certain that the advice and experiences she in folded into this volume will help lots of other folks do something similar in their areas.

The Urban Farm Handbook

The other thing that I love about this book is that it has a number of producer profiles. I have always found it fascinating to learn about the lives of the people who nurture the stuff we eat and this volume contains a number of them.

Finally, those of you who are looking to dig more deeply into the subject of urban farming and self-sustainability will love the resources section in the very back of the book. The authors have been incredibly generous in gathering up all the books, websites and sources for chickens, goats and grain that they’ve spent years acquiring into just a few pages.

The Urban Farm Handbook

All year, Annette is going to be hosting an Urban Farm Handbook Challenge and there’s still time to sign up. Each month as a different theme designed to help you learn how to take steps towards greater sustainability. I’m going to be helping out a bit this August during canning month and I’m looking forward to it! Click over to Sustainable Eats to learn more.

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Preserves in Action: Pickled Red Onions

open face sandwich with pickled onions

This may come as something of a shock, but sometimes, I struggle to make good use of the things I’ve canned. I’m sure that most of you assume that I’m a paragon of pantry management, I’m actually very far from it. I fall into ruts, go weeks without eating a pickle and sometimes let a jar of jam go moldy in the fridge.

I write these “Preserves in Action” posts to serve as reminders to myself to use what I’ve made as well as to provide moments of hopeful inspiration for a few of you out there.

open face sandwich with pickled onions

Today, with more than 30 items on the to-do list, lunch needed to be quick. I toasted a slice of homemade sourdough (inspired by Tea’s January Challenge) and topped it with a couple slices of turkey, some crumbly cheddar, several forkfuls of pickled red onion (same recipe, different batch) and cucumber coins.

As I took bites between typing, I was reminded at how having a pantry stocked with homemade things makes it possible to elevate simple meals and make them more.

How have you made your meals more lately?

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