A Southern Swing for Preserving by the Pint

my demo set-up

Next week, I’m packing up my car and hitting the road. This first leg of my book tour is taking me south and I couldn’t be more excited. One of my biggest regrets about my last tour was the fact that I didn’t manage to get anywhere further south than Washington, D.C. and so when planning for this time, it was an absolutely priority.

I’ll be stopping in Charlottesville, Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Memphis. If you live in one of those cities please do come out and say hi.

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Giveaway: Cutco Five Inch Petite Santoku

Cutco small santoku 2

While in Chicago a few weeks ago, I attended a fancy lunch that included hibiscus cocktails, lots of happy networking, and a most generous gift bag. Included in the tote of goodness was a Cutco Petite Santoku knife that I was very excited to take home with me (I even checked my previously carried on bag in order to hang on to it).

It’s rapidly become an oft-used knife in our kitchen for small tasks. I make scrambled eggs for Scott with some sort of chopped deli meat every morning and it’s the perfect for cubing up the ham or pastrami. I also like it for quartering apples, cutting carrot sticks, and splitting grapefruits into quarters.

holding the small Cutco

I’ve been using a handful of Cutco knives since 2010 when I first encountered them at a food show in New York. Four years on, those knives have proven to be sturdy, reliable and continue to earn their place on our knife strip (and I am ruthless about ditching knives that don’t pull their weight).

Because I’ve been so pleased with them, I’m delighted to host a Cutco giveaway in the hopes that some of you might find yourself equally smitten. This week, I have five of these Cutco Petite Santoku knife to share with five winners. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a knife story. What’s your current cutlery situation? How do you get your knives ready for canning season? What’s happening on your knife strip these days?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, April 13, 2014.
  3. Giveaway open to US residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Cutco Cutlery Social Media!

To keep up to date with all the Cutco happenings, make sure to follow them on social media. They occasionally host their own giveaways and other promotions, and that’s the very best way to stay in the know. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Disclosure: As mentioned above, the nice folks at Cutco gave me the knife you see pictured above at a blogger event in Chicago a couple weeks ago and are providing the knives for this giveaway. They did not pay to be mentioned here and my opinions are entirely my own. 

This Sunday at the Philly Farm & Food Fest

All set up to record an online canning demo!

Friends! If you are in the Philadelphia area, you will not want to miss the Philly Farm & Food Fest. It’s happening this Sunday, April 13, from 11 am to 4 pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. There will be workshops, opportunities to sample local foods, and even a libations lounge (there is a small additional fee required if you’re interested in a tipple).

I am going to be there offering a small batch canning demo (I’ll be showing how to make and can my honey sweetened strawberry jam) and will also have a big old stack of copies of the new book that you can buy ($20 cash or card) and then get signed (I’m also always happy to sign copies that you already bought).

Tickets to the Fest are $20 for adults. Kids 12 and under are free. You can buy them here!

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Links: Pressure Canning, Kumquat Relish, and a Winner

The Eat Boutique Pop Up is open! Come on over!

I got back from a whirlwind weekend in Boston late last night (which is why this links post is a tiny bit late). I was there for the Eat Boutique Spring Pop Up Market at Fringe and I had a delightful time. I made many batches of Honey Sweetened Strawberry Jam and Mustardy Rhubarb Chutney from the new book, signed lots of books, and chatted with so many lovely people who came out to say hi.

I also got lots of quality time in with Maggie and her crew from Eat Boutique (they still have a few of my Food in Jars Favorites boxes in stock!), finally met the guys from Cuppow in person, and had dinner with Janet and some of her family (during which I got to eat some of the best fried chicken of my life). It was a good weekend. Now, links!

In other news, my new book has been getting some very nice mentions across the internet. If you write something about the new book, please do let me know. If you make something and share it on Instagram, make sure to tag me so that I can link it up as well! Here are a few of the latest.

Foundation Salt Set - Food in Jars

The winner of last week’s giveaway is #147/Purlewe. I hope you all enjoyed the salt-focused recipes, as well. I highly recommend them both. I ate those garlicky cucumbers all darned week and they were so good. And the kimchi is nearly finished. I can’t wait.

I’ll have another giveaway up later today, so check back in a bit!

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Homemade Kimchi

half gallon of kimchi - Food in Jars

I’ve been talking a lot about fancy salts and how to use them in preserving this week. On Tuesday, I shared a recipe for a quick, spicy cucumber pickle (which I’ve been eating non-stop on salads for the last couple days. It’s intensely garlicky and I love it). Today, we’re using some of that gorgeous salt in a batch of kimchi.

shredded kimchi veg - Food in Jars

I came relatively late to the world of kimchi. I’d eat it when at a Korean restaurant, but it wasn’t really something I started seeking out until a couple years ago. At first, I satisfied my kimchi craving by buying packets of the stuff from the Trader Joe’s refrigerator case, but soon found myself going through two or three a week. It was time to start making it myself.

salt and crushed peppers - Food in Jars

I will be the first to say that my technique isn’t the most authentic on the planet. I don’t use rice flour (because I’m lazy and don’t want to add another thing to my pantry) and I pretty much toss whatever vegetables in that I have (there are red radishes in this batch because I had some and wanted to use them up).

I also pack my shredded and seasoned veg into a half gallon jar and let it do its fermenty thing, without airlocks or any kind of weight. I just press it down with a clean hand once a day and keep an eye out for any sort of surface funk.

spiced kimchi veg - Food in Jars

This batch is a combination of shredded napa cabbage, grated carrot and daikon radish, shaved red radish bits, the tops of spring onions, ginger, garlic, grey sea salt, and gochugaru (that’s the Korean red chili powder and this is the only special ingredient I keep around specifically for kimchi making. It’s just not the same without it). Essentially, I combine all the ingredients, knead them together with with clean hands, pack the whole mess into a jar, and let it sit for a while.

tossed kimchi veg - Food in Jars

For those of you who aren’t regular kimchi eaters, let’s talk about to use this spicy, tangy fermented pickle. I scoop a couple forkfuls onto nearly every salad I make. It’s good stirred into soups (carrot or lentil are particularly good vehicles). And it’s miraculous gently warmed and eaten with scrambled eggs (Alana taught me that trick).

How do you eat your kimchi?

PS – For a more authentic recipe, along with everything you want to know about the world of fermenting, I highly suggest you visit my friend Amanda’s blog, Phickle. She’s incredibly knowledgeable and her site is a fantastic resource.

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Brewing Tea in Jars + Keeping Tea Bags in Place

clothes pinned tea bags

For the last year or so, I’ve been in the habit of brewing up a quart jar of herbal tea each morning when I make myself that vital mug of something hot and caffeinated (I’m currently deeply addicted to PG Tips with milk and honey, but I feel a coffee jag coming on any day now).

While I have no problem drinking water all day long, I’ve found that it makes for a nice treat to have something with a bit of flavor to sip with lunch. This quart jar tea fits the bill because it’s easy and helps me work through my embarrassingly large tea stash. It also frees me from the temptation of spending $3+ on an iced tea if I go out to run an errand or two in the afternoon.

verticle tea in jar

Most of the time I find myself using tea bags and have always employed the trick of attaching a clothespin to the tags on the bag to keep them from flying into the jar when I pour in the boiling water. However, back in January, I learned another way from my sister. She’s also in the habit of brewing tea in quart jars (funny how certain things run in families) and she keeps her tea bags in place with rubber bands.

When I first noticed that all the quart jars in her cabinet had rubber bands positioned below the 1 inch ring, I thought she was using them as a way for people to identify their jar. But when I asked about it, she relieved their true purpose and said that she leaves the on all the time, even when running the jars through the dishwasher.

rubber banded tea bags

I think her use of rubber bands is brilliant, particularly because it also identifies which jars are drinking glass regulars verses ones being used for canning (if you use certain jars for drinking all the time, you weaken them a little and so it’s best to keep them out of your canning ecosystem if you can as they’re more prone to breakage).

It’s also a trick to remember this summer if you have a stash of jars you use for parties and outdoor gatherings. Assign everyone a different color and pop the rubber bands on the jars to keep your drinks straight.

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