Giveaway: Paperback Edition of Stir by Jessica Fechtor

Stir Paperback Cover - Food in Jars

One of my favorite books of 2015 was Jessica Fechtor’s Stir. It is memoir-with-recipes that tells of her brain aneurism at the age of 28, and her grueling but successful recuperation. An avid cook and joyful eater prior to the aneurism, the book is the story of her recovery and the ways in which food brought her back to herself as her wounded brain and body healed.

Stir Paperback Back - Food in Jars

I read the book in just a day and half last summer, and mentioned it briefly on the blog last fall. Today, the paperback version of Stir came out (complete with a pretty new cover featuring the author!) and when I was offered a chance to give away a copy of that edition, I said yes immediately. After all, I’m always delighted to have a chance to shine a light on work that I love.

Stir Paperback Spine - Food in Jars

I have one copy of this wonderful book to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me something you’ve read recently that you loved.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, April 9, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, April 10, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States only (so sorry!). Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Avery (the publisher) sent me the copy of the paperback you see here in the hopes that I might post about it and they’re providing the giveaway unit. No additional compensation was provided. 

April Sponsors: Fillmore Container, Harvest Right, Mrs. Wages, Mason Jar Lifestyle

Mrs. Wages pectin

We’re at the start of a new month and so it’s time to thank the people who help support this blog through sponsorship! Please do show them your love if you have a chance.

First up are the lovely people at Fillmore Container. They are a family-owned business based in Lancaster, PA that sells all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear. Make sure to check out all the new fermentation gear they’re carrying!

New to the sponsorship family is Harvest Right. They make freeze dryers for home use, which is kind of amazing. Previously, it could cost as much as $30,000 to get freeze dryer, but the ones that Harvest Right sells are are 1/10 of that price. I don’t have space for one in my home, but I so wish that I did!

Our friends at Mrs. Wages are back for another season. 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 mixSign up for their newsletter for monthly installments of canning goodness.

Mason Jar Lifestyle is a one-stop shopping site for all the jar lovers out there! They’ve got silicone drink lids, fruit infusers, silicone jar seals (great for those times when you want to ensure that your jars aren’t going to leak), copper regular mouth lids (fun for gifts!), and even pin cushion toppers. The season for iced drinks is coming, so perhaps a new extra long stainless steel straw is in order (they’re designed to be the perfect size for quart jars).

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!

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Cookbooks: The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How

Kitchen Know-How Cover - Food in Jars

I have been a fan of Andrea Chesman’s work for a very, very long time. The author of more than 20 book, her Pickles & Relishes was one of the first canning books I bought when I started down this path nearly a decade ago and I consider The Pickled Pantry one of the best volumes on home pickling out there.

Kitchen Know-How Contents - Food in Jars

I had the good fortune to meet Andrea last year at the IACP annual conference and I was delighted when she told me that she had another book in the works. Called The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How, it is an incredibly comprehensive guide to cooking, canning, home dairy, freezing, curing, fermenting, dehydrating, and more.

Kitchen Know-How Equipment - Food in Jars

The book is divided into three large chunks of information. The first is called Getting the Most from Fresh Food and contains information about setting up your kitchen (including Andrea’s recommendations for the sturdiest and most durable equipment), how to harvest, handle, and cook fresh produce, how to store grains and beans, what to do with eggs, tips on butchering poultry and rabbits, how to make the most of fresh milk, and how to label, store, and use goat, lamb, pork, and beef.

Kitchen Know-How Freezing - Food in Jars

The second part of the book is called simple Food Preservation, and it offers detail on cold storage, freezing, canning (both boiling water and pressure), drying, pickling, the making of fruit preserves, culturing milk, and curing meats and sausages. I particularly like her essay on pages 227 and 228 entitled, “Strong Opinions about Pectin.” I have similarly strong opinions on the topic.

Kitchen Know-How Homestead Cooking - Food in Jars

Part three is called Homestead Cooking and is a treasury of recipes, preparations, and suggestions for how to cook, bake, simmer, and stew the fruits of your homestead into appealing meals and treats. What I most like about this section is that Andrea repeatedly encourages her readers to use these recipes as nothing more than a starting place and that they are there to be adapted and personalized depending on the ingredients you have.

Kitchen Know-How Back - Food in Jars

Andrea has poured her years of culinary experience into this book. It’s one that any home cook looking to stretch seasonal produce and make the most of the food coming forth from their homestead, garden, or farmers market will value. I highly recommend it!

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Giveaway: Canning Ladle and Paring Knives from Villagers

Villagers Giveaway Set - Food in Jars

Two years ago, during the book tour for Preserving by the Pint, I spent just over a day in Asheville, NC (I so wish it could have been longer!). While there, I had the good fortune to do a canning demo and book signing at a urban homestead supply shop called Villagers.

jars at Villagers

This wonderful business, founded by former Philadelphian Natalie Pollard, is a terrific resource for anyone looking to get both tools and knowledge necessary to can, ferment, garden, keep chickens, and more. I knew immediately that if I lived in Asheville, I’d be a regular customer.

Opinel Paring Knives - Food in Jars

Recently, a member of Natalie’s staff got in touch, asking if I might like to feature one or two tools from the shop on the blog as part of a giveaway. I said yes immediately, because I believe that more people should know about the goodness that is Villagers (truly, I meant to write a post two years ago to tell you about this magical space).

Villagers Ladle - Food in Jars

Soon after, I received a carefully wrapped package that contained a pair of sturdy Opinel paring knives and the best canning ladle I’ve ever held (it fills a half pint jar perfectly). These little knives have already gone into heavy rotation and the ladle is now the favorite tool in my kitchen for scooping soups and filling jars.

One lucky winner will get the same pairing of knives and ladle. Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Links: Beyond Canning, Compound Butters, and Winners

Happy Easter, friends! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. We’ve had a busy one, cleaning out Scott’s mom’s apartment and making space in our little apartment for some of her things. It’s also my last weekend at home before I hit the road for my west coast book tour, so I’ve been trying to squeeze in some errands before I leave. It’s been busy! Now, links!

Three Round Jam Jars Fillmore - Food in Jars

The winners in last week’s Jam Jar giveaway (sponsored by Fillmore Container) are #247/Nickolina, #301/Kathy, and #506/Katie Cleveland. I’ll be in touch with the winners soon!

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Meyer Lemon Lavender Jam

Meyer Lemon Jam Tower - Food in Jars

Oh friends. I meant to post this recipe weeks ago, but with the intensity and chaos of life lately, it got lost in the shuffle. We’re getting late in the season for Meyer lemons, but if you’re motivated, you should be able to find a few for this jam. If you’re in Philly, know that Sue’s Produce has them (for $4 a pound, but still).

Trimmed Lemons in Pot - Food in Jars

I made my first whole fruit citrus jam a few years ago, and continue to love it as an alternative to marmalade. You get all the zippy tang and flavor, without the hours of chopping and mincing (though if you love marmalade for it’s texture, this is no substitute).

Meyer Lemon Jam Jars - Food in Jars

To prep, you wash and trim the fruit. Layer it in a pot large enough to hold the fruit in a single layer and run enough water in to just cover the fruit. Set the pot on the stove, put a lid on it, and simmer the fruit for about 20 minutes, until the lemons are tender, but not falling apart.

Once they’re cool, you cut the fruit in half, scoop out the seeds over a sieve, puree the fruit, and cook it down with sugar and flavorings. In this case, I infused the fruit with some dried lavender, but I’ve been pondering a batch spiked with chiles.

Dozen Meyer Lemon Jam - Food in Jars

The applications for a jam like this vary. I’ve had great success pairing it with fresh, creamy cheeses like ricotta or farmers. If you leave it a little bit runny, a drizzle into a bowl of yogurt, fruit, and granola is terrific. It can also be used to lend acid and sweetness to stir-fried chicken or shrimp. Heck, if you left the lavender out, I can see it being a delicious dipping sauce for homemade chicken fingers.

On the beverage side, you could stir a spoonful into a mug of hot water when your throat is scratchy. Or use some in a hot toddy in place of honey. There are just so many options.

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