Hopes and Goals for Food in Jars in 2015

January 7

Next month, this blog turns six. When I first started, I had no inkling of where a little idea to write about canning, preserving, and my personal obsession with mason jars might take me. Turns out, the answer is pretty darn far (literally, in fact. I did 113 events in 2014 and put 12,000 miles on my car in the process).

Before get I swept up in the momentum of 2015, I want to take a moment to articulate some of the things I hope to do this year. A couple are tangible things to do, while others are lofty concepts.

  • Higher quality content, a little less often – In recent years, I feel like I’ve fallen into a trap in which I post fairly frequently, but the value of what I’m posting is low. While I can’t stop writing about my classes and events, I want to make sure that the bulk of what I share is of value.
  • More personality – Fear not. I don’t plan on turning this into a vanity lifestyle blog. But I do feel like I don’t always bring a whole lot of myself to this space and I don’t like that feeling.
  • Make some video – Years ago, Scott and I used to make an online cooking show called Fork You. But then, other projects cropped up and we just stopped doing it. I’ve wanted to get back to video for a while, but in the intervening years, the quality of web video exploded and I felt like I wouldn’t be able to produce something that would measure up. This year, I plan on throwing off the weight of my own expectations and just do it.
  • More pantry basics – I love a good batch of jam as much as the next girl (probably more), but this year, I want to focus on those practical, pantry building projects that make it easier to make a quick, healthy meal.
  • Tee-shirts and bumper stickers – Before I went on my book tour last spring, I had some stickers printed up that I gave away at my classes and signings. They were a hit and I want to make some more fun Food in Jars logo-ed gear this year.

So those are my hopes for this year. I’m also determined to get the next book written with a minimum of stress and anxiety. I’ve also declared some more personal goals for myself, that I posted a few days ago over at my little personal blog (I’m trying to carve out some time to write about things beyond food and when I do, I post them over there).

Now let the new year come!

 

Comments { 19 }

Giveaway: Fresh & Fermented

Fresh & Fermented cover | Food in Jars

Over the last year or so, I’ve been getting more and more into making my own fermented foods. I’ve dabbled in sauerkraut for years, but more recently have added kimchi, kombucha, brined radishes, and other little batches of brined vegetables to my repertory.

One of the things that has been encouraging me along this path has been the wave of new books devoted to fermentation (as well as Amanda’s fabulous blog, Phickle).

Fresh & Fermented spine | Food in Jars

One such book that has been providing much inspiration in recent days has been Fresh & Fermented by Julie O’Brien and Richard J. Climenhage of Firefly Kitchens (I mentioned this one in my Class of 2014 round-up, but thought it deserved a little more attention).

What makes this book stand apart is that it’s not just about basic ferments. It focuses on drinks, dips, salads, casseroles, burgers, and desserts all made with a goodly portion of one of the eight basic krauts and kimchis featured in the first chapter. As someone who is always looking for ways to use up a cup or two of sauerkraut, it is proving invaluable.

Thanks to the nice folks at Sasquatch Books, I have a copy of Fresh & Fermented to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post. This time, I’m curious to hear if you made any preserving-related resolutions this year.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, January 10, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog by Sunday, January 11, 2015.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry!).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.

Disclosure: Sasquatch Books sent me the review copy of this book I now have in my library and they are also providing the giveaway unit. However, my thoughts remain my own. It’s a good book. I think you’ll like it. 

Links: Marmalade, Kimchi, and a Winner

January 1

Oh friends, what a nice holiday it’s been. I spent a week in Austin over Christmas, and then came home to a husband who was off from work until January 5. We’ve slept late, gone for some long, wandering city hikes, and did a little cleaning up and clearing out (six big bags went to Goodwill today!). Now it’s time to get my brain back into work and this blog. Let’s start with some links!

NewWest paring knife

I also realized that I never managed to select a winner in the New West Knife Works giveaway I hosted a few weeks ago (so long ago!). Random.com declares it to be #201/Michelle.

Comments { 3 }

January Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, Spice Ratchet, New West Knife Works, and Fermentools!

NewWest handle

It’s the beginning of the month (and the year, for that matter), which makes it time again to thank the companies that make it possible to for me to devote so many of my waking hours to this blog!

First up is jar accessory maker Cuppow! They are the creator 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.

Our friends at Fillmore Container are back this month as well. They’re a family-owned business based in Lancaster, PA and sells all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear.  Make sure to check out all the fun programming they’ve lined up for their booth in the Pennsylvania Farm Show next week.

Next up is Spice Ratchet. They make the blossom trivet that I use as a canning rack, and just recently, they released a line of silicone Blossom uCaps for mason jars. They are available as a storage cap, a sipping cap, and a flower frog.

I’m happy to welcome the nice folks at New West KnifeWorks back again! Based in Wyoming, they are makers of gorgeous, sturdy, crafted in the US kitchen knives that are a joy to use.

Last up is Fermentools. They make a brilliant fermentation starter kit that involves a heavy-duty glass pickling weight, an airlock, a lid with a reusable rubber seal, and mineral-rich salt. The pickles I made using their kit turned out deliciously!

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.

Comments { 1 }

Canning Demos with Fillmore Container at the Pennsylvania Farm Show

Food in Jars at the Farm Show

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season! I spent a week in Austin with my family and came back with a cold (darn pre-schoolers!) and so have been slow to get back into the blogging game. I’ve got a post in the works with some of my hopes for this fresh, new year, but while I gather my thoughts, I wanted to drop in with a quick reminder.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show kicks off next week and I’ll be there offering canning demos on Saturday and Sunday, January 10 and 11! Fillmore Container is hosting a demo station at their booth (like they did last year), and they’ll be having a variety of demonstrations and tutorials throughout the show (don’t miss Amanda from Phickle on Monday and Tuesday). The full schedule of happenings at their booth can be found here (there’s also a fabulous giveaway at the end of that post, so don’t miss it).

My schedule is as follows:

Saturday, January 10

  • 10:30 am: Pear Cranberry Chutney at the Fillmore Container booth
  • 1:30 pm: Dilled Carrot Spears at the Fillmore Container booth
  • 4:30 pm: Pear Chocolate Jam at the Fillmore Container booth

Sunday, January 11

  • 10 am: Strawberry Meyer Lemon Marmalade at the Family Living Stage
  • 1 pm: Dilled Carrot Spears at the Fillmore Container booth
  • 4 pm: Pear Chocolate Jam at the Fillmore Container booth

You can find the complete schedule of presenters over at the Fillmore Container blog. And, of course, I’ll have books available for sale and signature throughout the weekend.

Comments { 7 }

Stocking Stuffers for Canners and Jar Lovers

piles of lids

I realize that it’s getting down to the wire for these gift guides, but I’ve been meaning to pull together a list of jar toppers, accessories, cozies, and other pieces of jar related gear and this seems like an opportune time to do it. Of course you can order these online (and links are provided), but if you need these by December 25, check out your local co-op markets and kitchen stores.

iLids and BNTOS

Lids, Adaptors, and Drink Toppers

  1. Cuppow & BNTO – One of the first makers of mason jar add-ons, they make the classic Cuppow drink lid and the BNTO jar adaptor. Simple and useful.
  2. EcoJarz – They make stainless steel and silicone drink toppers, as well as a lid with a larger hold that can be sealed with a silicone pop-top.
  3. iLids – They make drink lids and storage lids. Their drink lids are a single piece that screw on to the jars, which is a departure from the Cuppow and EcoJarz designs.
  4. Tulid – These leakproof lids have an internal silicone seal that can be removed for cleaning. If you have someone in your life who often takes leftovers to work in pint jars, these lids would significantly improve their quality of life.
  5. Blossom uCaps – These one-piece silicone lids snap onto regular and wide mouth jars. They come three flavors: a flower frog, a sipping cap, and a storage lid.
  6. reCAP – They make leakproof pour lids (so good for stuff like maple syrup and teriyaki sauce), as well as a spray bottle lid and a pump dispenser that fit mason jars. They’ll also be bringing their Flip Cap to market sometime next year.
  7. Nuby Silicone Sippy Cup – Transform regular mouth jars into sippy cups. I gave one of these to my sister and she uses it all the time for my nephew.
  8. Mason Tap – This lid attaches to a regular mouth jar with a conventional lid and allows you to dispense syrups, sesame seeds, and other messy or drippy things.
  9. The Mason Bar Company – They make flat plastic lids for straws and jar cuffs made from either leather or vinyl.
  10. Classic Flower Frog – I picked one of these up at a junk store many years ago, but you can get reproductions easily enough.
  11. Sprouting Lid – Make your own sprouts in a wide mouth mason!

camano coffee grinder

Appliances and Tools

  1. Progressive International – They have a Mason Jar series of tools that are packaged on shatterproof jars, but will also fit wide mouth canning jars. There’s a dressing emulsifier, a nut chopper, and a citrus juicer.
  2. EcoJarz – In addition to their line of drink toppers, EcoJarz also makes a bunch of tools that fit in or onto a jar. They’ve got a grater/slicer pair, a shaker whisk ball, and the DOSE pour over coffee system.
  3. Mason Shaker – Turn your regular mouth mason into a cocktail shaker.
  4. Mason Jar Coffee Grinder – If you’re seriously coffee dependent, it’s not the quickest road to caffeine, but the form factor is highly appealing.
  5. Kraut Source – They’re still working to fulfill their Kickstarter incentives, but you can enter your email address on their website to get an email when this mason jar fermentation press will be available for general purchase.
  6. Pour Mason – A pour over funnel that fits onto wide mouth mason jars.
  7. Fermentools – Fermenting air locks and glass weights designed to fit wide mouth masons.
  8. Ball Canning Spice Shakers – Ball has started making a bunch of jar add-ons in recent years, but for my money, these spice shakers are some of the most useful.

mason-ry koozie

Cozies

  1. Koverz – Neoprene sleeves for 12 and 24 ounce jars. Keep your iced coffee cool!
  2. Holdster – Slick leather sleeves for wide mouth pints. Perfect for the hipster coffee lover in your life.
  3. Eco Sleeve Silicone Sleeve – These were originally designed to work with disposable drink cups, but fit mason jars nicely. They’ve been discontinued, but The Pint & a Half shop has all the remaining inventory, if you like the form factor.
  4. Mason-re Silicone Koozie – A molded silicone sleeve for the modern wide mouth pint jar (they don’t fit the older, squatter wide mouths). Right now, only the black sleeve is in stock, but I hear they’ll have more soon (with and without the embossed logo).
  5. Jar-Z – Similar to beer/soda can koozies, but designed to fit mason jars.

basket of lids
Other Stuff

  1. Taper hooks – Turn your regular mouth quarts into lanterns.
  2. Chicken Waterer – An oldie, but a goodie.
  3. Solar Powered Lights – The fit on top of your jars and help you light up the night.

Which one would you like to see in your stocking this year?

Comments { 8 }