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 }

Giveaway: EcoJarz Fermenting Kit

ecojarz-fermentation-kit

Hello friends! I hope you all had a lovely weekend! I’ve been in Ireland for the last week, having all sorts of adventures (and I’ve amassed quite a collection of European canning gear that I’ll show you in an upcoming post). However, I’m dropping in from my vacation to post this week’s giveaway.

ecojarz-kit-with-guide

This one comes to us from the folks at EcoJarz. They recently added a nifty fermenting kit to their online shop, and it’s a terrific one for those of us who like to use our canning jars for small batch ferments.

black-radishes

The kit comes with a stainless steel ring (which will not rust or corrode like the conventional ones), a flat lid drilled with a hole and fitted with a silicone grommet, three-piece airlock, and a handy little fermenting guide that covers all the basics.

radish-slices

Just before I left on my trip, I used my EcoJarz fermenting kit to transform some gorgeous black radishes (a gift from one of the farmer vendors at the Antietam Valley Farmers Market) into tasty, tangy pickles. I made a brine using 2 tablespoons finely milled salt and four cups of filtered water.

Once the salt was dissolved, I sliced the radishes, packed them into a jar, and covered them with the brine. A few days later, once the liquid had gone tart, they were done.

black-radish-slices-fermenting

Three lucky Food in Jars readers will each win one of these fermenting kits. Use the widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Baked Penne, Broccoli, and Ricotta + Lagostina Martellata Pasta Set Giveaway

A tasty pasta dish and a fabulous Lagostina Pasta Pot giveaway! Best National Pasta Day ever!

lagostina-pasta-pot

Happy National Pasta Day, friends! In honor of today’s holiday, I have a fabulous giveaway from the nice folks at Lagostina (you might remember them from this post last December, when I gave away this snazzy Risotto Pan).

broccoli-pasta-ingredients

One of you will win this truly gorgeous Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper Pastaiola Set. I’ve had the one pictured above in my kitchen for about a month now, and I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s functional, conducts heat beautifully, and may well be the most beautiful piece of cookware in my kitchen.

chopped-broccoli

I’ve used it for all manner of blanching, steaming, and cooking by now (it also happens to work well as a canning pot for half pint jars!) and have taken to leaving it on the stove between uses, because I so enjoy seeing it there in all its gleaming glory.

blanching-broccoli

The recipe I’m sharing with you today puts this pot to work twice. First, I use it to blanch off a bunch of chopped broccoli. Once it’s cooked, I use the same water to cook the whole wheat penne.

cooked-broccoli

While the broccoli cooks, I browned some chicken sausage in a little olive oil and then drained it on a plate. Once the broccoli is bright green and tender, it gets drained and poured into the pan where the sausage had cooked.

From there, it’s a matter of building a sauce of pressed garlic and ricotta cheese. I wrap it up by adding the cooked sausage back in, along with the pasta, a healthy splash of pasta water, and a generous handful of grated parmesan cheese.

cooked-pasta

I love having a petite pasta pot like this one in my kitchen, because it allows me to stay at the stove, rather than dripping water between the sink and the stove. I’ve long had a larger pasta pot, but rarely pulled it out because it was just too much for my regular weeknight cooking. This one is just so much more functional for my household.

finished-broccoli-and-pasta

The Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper Pastaiola Set can be found at Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and other specialty shops, and retails for $249.99. For more information about Lagostina, check out their social accounts and visit their website.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

lagostina-handle

Thanks to the kind folks at Lagostina, I have one of these glorious pasta pots to give away to you guys. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you’d use this pot.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, October 22, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, October 23, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. 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: Lagostina sent me this pasta pot to use and write about. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Baked Penne, Broccoli, and Ricotta

Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound broccoli florets and stems, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound chicken sausage
  • 12 ounces short whole wheat pasta
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Fill a pasta pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, salt the water well and add the broccoli. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until it turns a vivid green.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken sausage from its casing and brown in the pan, using a spatula to break it up into crumbles. Once it is brown, use a slotted spoon and transfer the cooked pasta onto a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Tumble the cooked broccoli into the pan that had once held the sausage and reduce the heat to medium. Bring the water in the pasta pot back to a boil and add the pasta.
  4. Add the garlic to the broccoli, along with the ricotta cheese and the drained sausage. Stir to combine.
  5. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and pour it into the pan with the other ingredients. Stir to combine and add 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, along with 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, and add more pasta water, if it is too thick.
  7. Top with the remaining parmesan cheese. Slide the pan under the broiler to brown the top.
http://foodinjars.com/2016/10/baked-penne-broccoli-ricotta-lagostina-martellata-pasta-set-giveaway/