Winners of the New Ball Colored Canning Lids

boxes of lids

I didn’t manage to collect enough links for a round-up this week and so I’m skipping them and just posting winners tonight (they’ll be back next week, I promise).

Last week, I featured the new Ball blue and green lids and rings in my weekly giveaway slot. I had five sets to share and here are the lucky people who will be finding them in their mail boxes sometime soon.

Stay tuned, I’ll have another fun giveaway soon!

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Cookbooks: Baking Sourdough Bread

Baking Sourdough Bread cover

I acquired my sourdough starter just over two years ago. I was moved to get myself a bit of natural yeast thanks a cooking challenge laid down by Tara Austen Weaver on her blog, Tea and Cookies. I’d always been interested in learning more about how bread baking worked the old fashioned way and it seemed like just the opportunity to give it a shot.

The Mystical Sourdough

A friend gave me a bit of her starter and I began to feed it and bake with it. Thing was, I never quite got the hang of sourdough. I baked a couple successful loaves and made some good waffles, but had more clunkers than successes. I obsessively read blog posts and recipes from other bakers and it still never entirely clicked for me.

I had a vague inkling that my desire to add as much whole grain flours as possible caused some of my issues and that success would come with more practice. Sadly instead of persevering, I tucked some of the starter away in the fridge and just pull it out occasionally for a quick feeding to ensure it doesn’t die.

Oats, Potatoes, & Lentils

Happily, a new book landed in my mailbox recently that has given me hope that I am not destined to be a sourdough loser for all time. Baking Sourdough Bread has a number of recipes for breads, buns, and crackers that are clear and prescribed. This is not a book that waxes poetic about the beauty of sourdough. It spells out a simple recipe and tells you to get to work. It also includes a number of recipes that utilize sweets, treats, and whole grains, which pleases me.

Sourdough back

If you’ve been similarly perplexed by sourdough baking and need something a little more basic than Tartine Bread, this book is refreshingly straight forward. I am happy to add it to my bookshelf.

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Blood Orange Curd

blood oranges

A couple weeks ago, I was walking through Reading Terminal Market when I spotted a bin of blood oranges. They were relatively small, but the sign said they were just 4 for $1 and so I picked up eight. I had no plan for them beyond making something delicious. I buy produce like this far too often.

juiced blood oranges (and one lemon)

I considered making marmalade, but I still have one jar left from last year (and I’ve been working on a few varieties with Meyer lemons and Cara Cara oranges). As I thought over my other options, it occurred to me that it’s been far too long since I had a jar of curd in the fridge. And so the decision was made.

blood orange juice

The nice thing about making blood orange curd is that it only needed half of my oranges (so I may just make myself a batch of blood orange shrub). I added the juice of one lemon to the mix to up the pucker a little and had a very generous 1/2 cup, which is exactly what I needed.

eggs

Whenever I make a curd, I always make sure to search out the very best eggs, because they contribute both color and flavor to the finished product. The only problem with that in this particular curd is that the yolks were so vividly orange that they muddied the ruby color of the blood orange juice. Happily, the resulting salmon color doesn’t impact the flavor, it just looks a little funky.

blood orange curd

Let’s talk briefly about canning and curds. In my first book, I included three curd recipes. Because of differing acid contents, two are deemed safe for canning and one is not (I take my cues from the National Center for Home Food Preservation).

These days, I don’t can my curds at all, even when working with those that are higher in acid (which this one is not). That’s because I find that the texture often firms up unpleasantly in the boiling water bath canner. Curds will keep a couple weeks in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.

blood orange curd in yogurt

Let’s talk a little about what you can do once you have a batch of curd in the fridge. You can use it to fill a layer cake. You can smooth it into a tart shell. You can dip berries into it. You can dollop it on scones or biscuits. Or, you can do my favorite thing in the whole world and stir it into a bowl of Greek yogurt. The combination is sweet, creamy, and just a bit tart. Truly, it’s the best thing ever.

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Giveaway: New Blue and Green Lids From Ball

boxes of lids

Several years back, I had a small stash of red and white checked lids and rings that I’d picked up at a close-out sale. I rationed them carefully, using them on preserves I planned on giving as gifts or featuring her on the blog. Every time I posted a picture, someone would comment to ask where I’d gotten then. I hated always having to disappoint people by telling them that they weren’t available anymore.

colored lids

Happily, Ball recently released a new option for those canners who are itching to dress their jars up with something other than a basic silver lid. Called the Design Series, these new lids come in either metallic blue or green and are sold with matching rings. They come in boxes of six and currently retail for $5.95. Just like their silver siblings, they are BPA-free and are good for a single trip through the canner.

colored rings

I realize that these lids and rings are a bit pricier than the regular ones. If you can many hundreds of jars a year, they might not be the ones you reach for. What they are is a fun option for people who focus on small batches, are canning for an event (a wedding, perhaps?), or just want to give a few select jars a little extra sparkle. They also match up really nicely with the limited edition blue and green jars.

lids on colored jars

Thanks to the nice folks at Ball, I have five sets of these lids to give away. Each winner will get one of the green ones and one of the blue (each box holds six lids and rings, so each winner will receive a dozen lids and rings in total). Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me one thing you’re looking forward to canning this season.
  2. Comments will close at 12 noon on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog later that day.
  3. Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Ball gave me a set of these lids for photography purposes and are providing the giveaway units as well. No money has changed hands and my opinions are, as always, my own. 

One Month Until Preserving by the Pint

Preserving by the Pint

Exactly one month from today, Preserving by the Pint will be released. I am thrilled (and only just a little bit terrified) to share this new collection of recipes with you all. There will be a number of blogger giveaways to celebrate the book when it is available (including one here), but if you don’t want to take your chances with lady luck, you can always pre-order a copy from AmazonPowell’sBarnes and NobleIndigo, or your local, independent bookseller.

I’m also going to be traveling a ton this spring and summer to share the new book in person. I’m updating the Classes and Events page on a near-daily basis, so please do make sure to check it often for news.

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Links: Citrus Salt, Winter Squash, and a Winner

February 12

The past few days have been glorious. For the first time in weeks, the weather has been well above freezing and the sun was shining to boot. The cold is coming back, but this temporary  reprieve has left me bolstered and feeling like I’m better prepared to handle whatever the meteorological gods plan on throwing our way (including, from what I hear, more snow later this week). Now, links!

you are unbeetable

Many thanks to everyone who shared their note writing memories in the League Street Press giveaway last week. The winner is #106/Terry.

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