June Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, EcoJarz, Mason Jar Lifestyle, CanningCrafts, and Mrs. Wages

Happy June, friends and readers! It’s the start of the month and so is time to thank the businesses that help make this site possible. Please do show them your appreciation for their support with your time and attention!  And if your company, shop, or family business is interested reaching the food-loving and engaged Food in Jars audience, you can find more details here. Leave a comment on this post or drop me a note to learn more!

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. I love pairing their straw-ready drink lid with a 24 ounce mason jar for the perfect summer iced coffee vessel.

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. Sign up for the salsa class I’m teaching in their space on August 19!

Our friends over at EcoJarz on board again this month. They make an array of products designed to fit on top of mason jars, including cheese graters, coffee brewers, and stainless steel storage lids. Make sure to follow them on social, because they host a weekly EcoJarz Fan Pic of the Week giveaway!

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, sprouting lids, and cozies to transform your mason jars into travel mugs, make sure to check them out!

Back after a few months away is CanningCrafts. Shop owner Alison sells an array of ready made and custom mason jar labels for all your various preserves, syrups, and backyard honey. I particularly love her line of labels encouraging people to return the jar! When next you need labels for a special project, check out CanningCrafts.

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!

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Tartine All Day Jam Bars

From the very first moment I picked up Tartine All Day, I liked it a whole lot. My initial flip was at my local cookbook shop and after just a moment or two with the book, I raised my head and said to the owner, Jill, “I want to make everything in this book.” Were I an emoji, I would have been the one with hearts for eyes.

The thing that speaks to me so much in this book is that it is offers both easy, everyday things you can make with the things already in your fridge, along with the fun project cooking you might trot out on a unscheduled Sunday. Plus, there are a handful of approachable recipes for jams and pickles. Author Elisabeth Prueitt seems to really understand how many of us cook.

For those of you who pay attention to the world of cookbooks (or live in the San Francisco Bay Area), you will have heard of Tartine. It’s a cafe-turned-brand that has spawned multiple books, locations, and much frenzy among the food-loving set. However, unlike previous volumes, this book isn’t about recreating restaurant food. It’s about the cooking we do at home.

Because I knew that this was a book I wanted to write about, I reached out to the PR folks handling its publicity. They sent me a review copy and gave me permission to share a recipe from the book. I made a few suggestions and together we settled on the Jam Bars. Because a another method for using up jam is always (ALWAYS!) welcome.

This recipe functions in the same way most other jam bars do. You make a simple, crumbly dough, press about two-thirds into the bottom of the pan, spread it generously with jam and then scatter the remaining bits on top.

However, the beauty of this particular jam bar is in the details. Elisabeth offers gram measurements along with the cups, so you can plunk your bowl down on a scale and heap in your ingredients without dirtying lots of measuring cups. The dough is built in a single bowl. And she uses a combination of vanilla and almond extracts to flavor the base, which is somehow so much more delicious than a jam bar with just vanilla.

Another clever element is that she has you mix up the jam with some lemon juice and salt. This helps temper the sweetness of the finished cookie, and also helped thin out the jar of slightly overset jam I used nicely.

I’ll confess that I didn’t follow the directions perfectly. I used cashew butter rather than almond, because I have a jar I’ve been endeavoring to use up. And I somehow I managed to top the jam with an even layer of cookie dough, rather than scattering it prettily (it was just before dinner and I was hungry). But even with that small substitution and smaller error, they are still quite delicious (they’ll be going with me to a picnic tomorrow, so that I don’t end up eating them all).

If you feel moved to make a batch of Jam Bars from Tartine All Day, the recipe is below.
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How to Make Elderflower Cordial

Regular Food in Jars contributor Alex Jones has stopped by (on her birthday! Happy day, Alex!) to show us how to make elderflower cordial with fresh, foraged elderflower blossoms. Read on to see how easy it is to make your own batch! – Marisa

Freshly picked elderflowers for elderflower cordial

As an apartment-dweller who loves plants, I’m lucky to live in a neighborhood rich in community garden spaces. I can count a dozen community gardens less than a mile from my home in West Philly; I currently tend plots in three of them.

The garden I’ve been with the longest is one of the oldest in the neighborhood, built on the site of a demolished apartment building down the block from where I live. It’s been around for a few decades, and the common spaces have been planted with perennial fruit trees and shrubs that have had lots of time to establish.

While the peaches, plums, and figs never seem to ripen, our sour cherry tree, gooseberry bush, and kiwi berry vines are prolific. We also boast a specimen of one of the most exciting (to me) perennial fruits: An elderberry bush.

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Beeswax Food Wraps from Kentucky Home

This post is sponsored by Kentucky Home (makers of those nifty MasonToGo lids!). To learn more about their new beeswax food wraps, read on!

I started using beeswax food wraps four or five years ago in an attempt to give up my plastic wrap and plastic baggie habit. I was already solidly on the reusable container and jar bandwagon, but hadn’t quite figured out to store food that functioned best when wrapped or swaddled.

When I discovered the beeswax food wraps, I thought my food storage prayers were answered. And while I’ve happily used them from various brands and makers for years, I’ve always struggled a bit with their cost (they can be pricy, particularly if you’re paying for shipping!). That has led to me running a funny mental calculation whenever I’m putting away leftovers or packing food for the road.

I find myself questioning whether the item is worthy of one of my beeswax food wraps. If the item fails to pass muster, I find myself rooting around in the cabinet under the sink for a plastic produce bag to reuse or I pull down the roll of plastic wrap that I’ve been nursing for half a decade. However, thanks to the folks over at Kentucky Home, my beeswax food wrap equation has changed.

Earlier this week, they started selling beeswax food wraps in bundles affordable enough to allow me to simply use them without feeling like I should be saving them for good. Best of all, they’re made right there in Leitchfield, Kentucky by retired farmer Mr. Dale.

So, now that I’m no longer encumbered by worries over cost, how am I using beeswax food wraps? To cover bowls and dishes. While I have plenty of food storage containers with lids, sometimes I just want to throw the leftover grain salad into the fridge in the bowl in which it was made. You just form the wrap around the bowl and then press your hands into it for a moment to soft the wax enough to hold its shape (if you suffer from perpetually cold hands like I do, run them under warm water for a moment to help make the wax behave).

I also now feel free to use them to cover dishes bound for potlucks and other gatherings. While each time I hope that I’ll go home with the wrap I brought, if it does wind up in the trash at the end of the night, I don’t feel the same compulsion to dig for it.

They’re also great to cover cut pieces of fruits and vegetables. Lemon halves, partially eaten avocados, and half-used cucumbers have never looked better or stored more sustainably. If you’re working with a new beeswax food wrap, give it a good crinkling to help work the wax into the fabric and make the surface a little tackier. Then, to keep these bundled bits of produce neatly sealed, give the ends a firm twist and they’ll stay in place for days.

Another way that I like to use beeswax food wraps in to cover sandwiches and snacks that I’m packing for later. One of my errand running tricks is to go first thing in the morning so that the day doesn’t get away from me. When I tackle my to-do list like that, I like to pack a little peanut butter and jam sandwich to bring with me, rather than spend time eating breakfast at home (I’ll also bring a reusable coffee mug so that I can treat myself to a fancy cup without incurring the guilt of a disposable).

Another thing that beeswax food wraps do well is swaddle bread. Whenever I’m deep in a home baking phase, I find myself with needing something to keep my loaves from getting stale. I find that these wraps do a lovely job of keeping a homemade loaf of sourdough fresh for the time it takes us to eat our way through it.

Cleaning the wraps is also a breeze. Just use a little gentle soap and lukewarm water (no super hot water or you’ll start to melt away the wax). Oh, and keep them away from things like raw meat and poultry. When the wraps finally wear out (which they do after about a year of heavy use), they can be composted.

You can buy these affordable beeswax food wraps from Kentucky Home in two different configurations. A 12 pack of 7″ x 7″ wraps (perfect for wrapping up bits of cheese, half sandwiches, and halves of lemons, limes, avocados, apples and more) is just $19.97.

For those of you who want more options in the sizes of your beeswax food wraps, the 7 piece variety pack is your best bet. It comes with one 29″ x 29″ wrap, two 15″ x 15″ wraps, and four 7″ x 7″ wraps.

If you try them, make sure to check back in and share the creative ways you’re using them in your home!

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Honey Sweetened Rhubarb Meyer Lemon Cordial

Celebrating the arrival of summer this holiday weekend? Toast the season with a glass of bubbly water or a fancy grown-up cocktail sweetened with this Honey Sweetened Rhubarb Meyer Lemon Cordial.

A finished bottle of honey sweetened rhubarb meyer lemon cordial.

One of the constants of my culinary calendar is rhubarb syrup. I make a batch or two every spring when those rosy stalks show up at my local farmers market. Some years, I make a basic version with nothing more than rhubarb, sugar, and water. Other times, I’ve spiked my batches with ginger, rosemary, vanilla, or parsley.

Stalks of rhubarb for honey sweetened rhubarb meyer lemon cordial.

This year’s version (which I’m officially calling Honey Sweetened Rhubarb Meyer Lemon Cordial) is made from diced rhubarb, honey, and thinly sliced rounds of Meyer lemon (regular lemon would also work).

Chopped rhubarb for honey sweetened rhubarb meyer lemon cordial.

One of the things I love about making rhubarb syrup is that it barely feels like work. It takes no time to chop the rhubarb, slice the lemon, and measure out the water and honey. As long as you remember to reduce the heat to medium-low after it comes to a simmer, you hardly even need to stir it.

Rhubarb and lemon slices in a pot for honey sweetened rhubarb meyer lemon cordial.

After about 20 minutes on the stove, I turn off the heat and let it cool just long enough that there’s no chance that I’ll burn myself as I pour it through a strainer. In the past, I’ve used cheesecloth for an extra-smooth syrup, but these days I cannot be bothered with the mess that it causes. In this case, fully embrace the path of imperfection.

Straining cooked rhubarb for honey sweetened rhubarb meyer lemon cordial.

Once the syrup is fully strained, it goes into a bottle and into the fridge. Rhubarb is acidic enough that one could can the finished product, but I find that I prefer to make this in small enough batches to be used up within a few weeks. I add it to sparkling water, drizzle it over bowls of fruit salad, and combine it with white wine vinegar and olive oil for a quick salad dressing.

Side view of straining honey sweetened rhubarb meyer lemon cordial.

How are you preserving and transforming rhubarb these days?

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Summer Class Spotlight – HGS Home Chef

I’ve taken a slightly different approach to my teaching schedule this summer than I have in past years. Instead of saying yes to everything and hustling to fill every moment of the canning season, my strategy is to teach fewer workshops in the hopes that I won’t feel entirely broken by the time the weather turns chilly.

So instead of having long lists of events appear here on the blog each week, I’m going to shine a spotlight on individual classes. First up is a pair of workshops at Hillsdale General Store Home Chef that I’m teaching on Sunday, June 11. This lovely cooking school is located on the main street of Hillsdale, NY, across the street from the General Store location. They carry cookware, cutlery, homewares, cookbooks, and offer a robust schedule of cooking classes.

I taught a single class at HGS Home Chef last summer and was delighted by the community that they attract. This year, I’m teaching two classes. From 11 am to 1:30 pm, I’m teaching a water bath-focused class in which we’ll make traditional strawberry preserves and sweet and savory strawberry chutney.

Then, from 2:30-4:30 pm, I’m teaching a pressure canning workshop. I’ll demonstrate how to make a tasty onion and rosemary jam as well as how to safely preserve it (and other low acid foods) in a pressure canner.

Participants will leave these classes with knowledge, useful handouts, and sample jars of the preserves made in the workshops (I’ve also heard rumors about peanut butter and jam sandwiches). For those of you within spitting distance of Hillsdale, I’d love to have you join me!

Hillsdale General Store Home Chef
2635 Route 23
Hillsdale NY 12529

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