Giveaway: Hamilton Beach SaladXpress

Hamilton Beach SaladXpress

Over the years, one of the things I’ve learned about myself is that I am not a kitchen minimalist. I like useful tools, sturdy knives that hold their edge, and gadgets that make cooking and preserving projects faster. If it works well and serves a role in my regular culinary life, I will make room for it in my overstuffed (but well-stocked) kitchen.

Hamilton Beach SaladXpress

This is why my assortment of kitchen gear includes a specialized yogurt strainer (for homemade Greek yogurt), a sweet little pan designed specifically for making caramel sauce, and Hamilton Beach’s SaladXpress. The SaladXpress is the newest tool to enter my kitchen and I’ve found that even though I’m outfitted with a food processor and a number of slicers, peelers, and graters, I’m happy to make room for it.

Hamilton Beach SaladXpress

What I like about it is that it has a smaller footprint than a traditional food processor, dispenses right into your mixing bowl or saute pan, and cleans up more quickly than any food processor I’ve ever used. I’m totally smitten by the crinkle cut blade, because it means that I can give my pickles a classic wavy edge.

Hamilton Beach SaladXpress

Thanks to a spur of the moment apple chip making project at my canning workshop last weekend (one of the class participants just happened to have a dehydrator in her car), I am currently on something of dehydrating kick. When I got home from the workshop, I pulled out the SaladXpress and my trusty Nesco and got down to work. I like to toss the sliced apples with a little cinnamon, lemon juice, and freshly grated ginger before laying them out on the trays.

Hamilton Beach SaladXpress

Another thing that the SaladXpress does very well is the shredding of potatoes and other root vegetables for latkes and fritters. I find that it creates a flat, wide shred that feels closer to the one you get when you hand grate. I prefer it to the thicker, narrower piece that food processors typically produce (though I know that there are multiple schools of thought one the best way to prep potatoes for latkes).

Hamilton Beach SaladXpress

Thanks to the incredibly generous folks at Hamilton Beach, I have eight of these SaladXpress devices to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about a gadget or tool that you make room for in your kitchen. Whether it’s the spaetzle maker that you use twice a year or the ableskiver pan that you know you’ll make good use of someday, I want to hear about it.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, November 9, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted on Sunday, November 10, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email or social media.
Disclosure: Hamilton Beach gave me a SaladXpress for review and photography purposes and is providing the eight units for giveaway. They did not compensate me to host this giveaway beyond the use of that single review unit. All opinions expressed in this post remain my own.

Links: Beets, Wild Grapes, and a Winner

Rowe workshop jars

I spent the weekend at the Rowe Center in Western Massachusetts, teaching a delightful group of women how to make jams, jellies, fruit butters, chutneys, and pickles. At the end of our time, we had made nine different preserves and a batch of dehydrated apple slices. It was such a fun and relaxing weekend! Now, links!

eat boutique box

eat boutique preserves winner And now, time for the winner of the Eat Boutique Preserves Collection. First off, huge thanks again to Maggie and the whole Eat Boutique team for letting me put this box together. The winner of the box I’m giving away is number #245, Savannagal. If you didn’t win, I do so hope that you’ll consider sending this fun box of goodies to a friend or family member for the holidays this year (or that you treat yourself to one!).

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Why You Should Store Your Jars Without Their Rings

broken seal

Whenever I teach a canning class, I always mention the fact that it’s important to remove the rings from your jars before you put them away. You see, those rings are only necessary to hold the lids in place during processing and then again when you open the jar to use the contents.

There are two really good reasons why the rings should be stored separately from the jars. The first is that they last longer when they are removed, washed, dried, and stashed in a plastic bag (they have a tendency to rust if not stored properly).

The second reason is that if the contents of the jar happen to spoil (though it happens rarely, it does happen), you’ll know more immediately. That’s because when things spoil, it typically happens because there’s some sort of bacterial growth that off-gasses. That creates pressure which eventually breaks the seal.

a jar that broke its seal

The reason I’m writing about this topic today? It’s because this tip that I’ve shared so many times in canning classes actually proved useful in my own canning life yesterday. I was in my hall coat closet (one of the spaces that doubles as my pantry in this small apartment of mine) to get some whole peeled tomatoes. I picked up the jar and the lid slid right off onto the flour.

I stared at it for a moment, unbelieving that one of my precious jars had gone bad, but then felt so grateful to have followed my own advice. If the ring had been on the jar, I truly might not have known that the seal was no good. I walked those tomatoes over to the garbage disposal and sent them on to a watery grave (they actually smelled fine, but I take no chances).

So, if you’re storing your jars with the rings still on, do yourself a favor and go pull them off. Your future self may thank you.

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Giveaway: Eat Boutique Preserves Collection

eat boutique box

Many times over the years, I’ve been asked the question, “What is your favorite thing to preserve?” Typically I hedge a little, saying something about my allegiance to seasonality or simply that there are too many delicious things in the world to preserve. However, when absolutely pressed, I’ll finally admit that there are a few jams and spreads I love best of all.

Sour cherry jam, featuring big hunks of fruit suspended in a ruby syrup. Thick, sticky tomato jam for spreading on toasted cheese sandwiches or dolloping on roasted sweet potatoes. And a long-cooked onion spread, gently caramelized and tangy with vinegar or beer.

When Maggie Battista from Eat Boutique came to me and suggested that we team up on a box, I knew immediately that I wanted it to include some of my favorites. And so we constructed a box that includes We Love Jam Tart Cherry Jam, Blue Chair Fruit Early Girl Tomato Jam, Wozz Triple Ale Onion Spread, and a signed copy of my book. And at $58 for all those goodies, it’s something of a deal for the preserves lover in your life.

Thanks to Eat Boutique, I also have one of these Preserves Collection boxes to give away to a lucky Food in Jars reader. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share your favorite preserve. Be it jam, chutney, pickle, or spread, tell me about your very favorite thing to preserve.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, November 2, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted on Sunday, November 3, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Eat Boutique is a Food in Jars sponsor. Additionally, I receive a portion of the profits from the sale of this Preserve Collection box. However, I still had a delightful time helping pick out the preserves to put in the box and my opinions about these Eat Boutique are spoken from the heart and remain entirely my own. 

Upcoming Classes: Reading Terminal Market! Western Mass! Wyebrook Farm!

class image revised

Though tomatoes and peaches are finished, there’s still plenty to be canning this time of year. Come take a class and preserve the fruits of autumn.

  • October 29 – Chutney making class with the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market. We’ll make a batch of apple pear chutney (using all local fruit) from 6-8 pm in the Rick Nichols Room. Click here to sign up.
  • October 30 – A hands on pickling workshop with the Lower Merion Conservancy. We’ll make cauliflower pickles, taste a few things from my pantry, and dig into the basics of the boiling water bath canning. Class runs from 7 – 8:30 pm and costs $35 for LMC members and $45 for non-members. Click here to register.
  • November 1 to 3 – Join me in Western Mass. for a weekend-long canning class at the Rowe CenterMore details can be found here.
  • November 4 – Get ready for Thanksgiving by making a batch of Honey Sweetened Cranberry Sauce at the Plymouth Meeting Whole Foods Market. Class is from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and costs $35. Click here to sign up.
  • November 16 – Spiced applesauce class at the Tyler Arboretum. We’ll cover the basics of boiling water bath canning and walk through the steps necessary to make a batch of delicious, low sugar applesauce. Class is from 10 am – 12 noon and costs $60 for Arboretum Members, $70 for non-members. For more details, click here and select the “Health and Wellness” drop down.
  • November 17 – Mulled Cider Jelly class at Wyebrook Farm in Chester County, PA. Class runs from 2 – 4 pm. Click here to sign up.
  • November 18 – Prep for Thanksgiving and make cranberry preserves with me at the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market. Class is from 6-8 pm in the Rick Nichols Room. Click here to sign up.
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Links: Autumn Canning and Winners

Mustard greens, sungold tomatoes, and two sunny-side eggs.

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. There were two classes in Washington, D.C., four canning demos across three counties, and a visit from my sister and her touring partner Becca. I’ve logged about 1,000 miles on the road and have canned my way through a bushel of pears. It has been good and it has been intense. I have one more crazy weekend coming up, and then things are going to quiet down a bit (and I couldn’t be more pleased). Now, links!

Progressive lid lifters

lid lifter winners Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the lid wand giveaway and shared their bargain stories with me. They were fun to read! The winners are…

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