Upcoming California Events: Pacific Grove! Healdsburg! San Francisco! Oakland!

naturally-sweet-chalkboard

Hello canners! On Wednesday, I’m hitting the road for the final big push of my Naturally Sweet Food in Jars book tour! This last flurry of events is taking place in California. If you live in or around one of the towns or cities I’ll be visiting, please mark your calendars and tell your friends!

Thursday, September 15 (Pacific Grove)
I’m kicking this trip off with a demonstration-style canning class at Happy Girl Kitchen (173 Central Avenue). I’ll show you how to make my strawberry cocoa jam, which is sweetened with coconut sugar and is set with Pomona’s Pectin and will talk about using natural sweeteners in canning. The event is from 6:30-8:30 pm and costs $35 (that free includes a copy of my new book). Sign up here.

Saturday, September 17 (Healdsburg)
Next, you’ll find me up north in Somona County, offering a hands-on canning workshop at the Shed Grange in Healdsburg (25 North Street). This workshop is from 1-3 pm and costs $60. Students will go home with a jar of preserves and a coupon for 10% off of SHED purchases. Register here.

Sunday, September 18 (San Francisco)
I’ll be at the Fort Mason Farmers Market (2 Marina Boulevard) from 10 am to 1 pm. The plan is that I will do a jam making demonstration every hour, on the hour, starting at 10 am. I’ll also samples of jam on hand for tasting, as well as books for sale and signature. Free!

Monday, September 19 (Fremont)
You’ll find me at The Nursery at Dale Hardware (3700 Thornton Avenue) at 6:30 pm. I’ll make a batch of jam and will offer plenty of time for questions (so come prepared with your quandries). Sign up by calling 510-797-3700. Free!

Tuesday, September 20 (San Francisco)
I’ll be at the San Francisco Public Library (100 Larkin Street), in the Latino/Hispanic Rooms A&B from 6-7:30 pm. I’ll demonstrate how to make a small batch of naturally sweetened jam and will have books on hand for sale and signature.

Wednesday, September 21 (Oakland)
The last stop on my California tour is a demo-style class and book signing at Pollinate Farm & Garden (2727 Fruitvale Avenue) from 6:30-8:30 pm. $17.50. Sign up here.

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Links: Fridge Pickles, Muscadine Jam, and a Winner

measuring-cup-of-tomato-jam

It’s been something of a rough week over here at Food in Jars HQ (plus, there’s the general heaviness of today’s date). I got home from Nashville on Wednesday afternoon, just barely recovered from food poisoning and promptly came down with a cold. I think my non-stop summer is starting to catch up with me. I’ve got just one last trip to get through (California! I’m headed your way later this week!), and then things will quiet down a bit. As much as I love the teaching, demonstrations, and book signings, I’m ready for a break!

labeled jars of tomato soup concentrate

The winner of the Fillmore Container giveaway is Jessica A. Stay tuned, another giveaway coming up tomorrow!

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Links: Peach Butter, Pickled Okra, and Winners

five jars of tomato jam

I think I’m finally coming to accept that I can’t do everything all the time. I’ve been away from home for the last week and a half, and while I had grand plans to post in this space every day, I just couldn’t make it happen. There have been canning demos, time with my sister and her family, more travel, more demos, and then a wicked 24 hour bout of food poisoning keeping me away.

I’m currently in Atlanta, recuperating under the watchful eye of Lyn from Preserving Now. Tomorrow, I’m headed to Nashville for a class at the Green Door Gourmet (I will be completely recovered by then).

running HarvestPro

I never officially announced the winner of the freshTECH HarvestPro Sauce Maker from a couple weeks back. That person is Allison W. I will be in touch soon! And don’t forget, the Fillmore Container giveaway is still going on. You can enter here!

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September Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, EcoJarz, iLids, MightyNest, and more!

green ecojarz

It’s the beginning of September, which means it’s time to thank the companies that help make Food in Jars possible! 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 creator 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.

Lancaster, PA-based and family-owned Fillmore Container are next! They sell all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear. I’m currently running a giveaway of their 26 ounce square sided jars and a $50 credit to spend on the site, so make sure to enter!

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 their PopTop lids in a regular mouth size. They also make stainless steel rings for both regular and wide mouth jars, and if you buy 10 or more, they’ll discount the price by 40%.

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!

MightyNest is an amazing resource for non-toxic, natural, and organic products for homes and families. I’m a big fan of the MightyFix, their monthly product subscription program. For $10 a month, you’ll get a item for your home that will help you keep it greener and more sustainable!

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!

Orchard Road makes mason jars, lids, and rings for home canners. Their jars are sold in packs of six and come in sturdy boxes that can be used for storage. Orchard Road’s physical distribution is limited, but their online store is open for business, so you can now order them straight from the source.

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!

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Tomato Soup Concentrate for Canning

Having a stash of homemade tomato soup concentrate in your pantry is like doing a favor for your future self. Portioning it out in 26 ounce jars from Fillmore Container makes it look extra snazzy!

labeled jars of tomato soup concentrate

My tomato preservation approach is one that is forever evolving. I make a point of trying at least one new-to-me tomato recipe to each season, always hoping that I’ll discover something particularly delicious and worthy of my time, resources, and shelf space.

tomatoes in a bowl for tomato soup concentrate

This year, there were two experimental recipes. The first was this barbecue sauce (which is quite delicious, but probably won’t be something I make every single year). The second is the tomato soup concentrate that I’m sharing today. I’m already hoping that when I get home from the trip I’m currently on (I’ve been away for a week, which accounts for the blog silence), I’ll be able to get enough tomatoes to make another batch.

washing tomatoes soup concentrate

Recipes for tomato soup concentrates that are safe for the boiling water bath canner aren’t always easy to find. I did a lot of reading and worked out more math problems than is typically required for a basic canning recipe in order to bring this to you today. I built my recipe upon the framework laid out in the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s water bath safe Tomato and Vegetable Juice recipe.

chopped tomatoes for tomato soup concentrate

The thing in that recipe that made everyone here possible is the fact that it specifies that, “Not more than 3 cups of other vegetables may be added for each 22 pounds of tomatoes.” Taking my cue from there, I used 15 pounds of tomatoes, and a scant two cups of diced onions. I felt comfortable doing that, because I was keeping to their approach while reducing the batch size by one-third.

milling cooked tomatoes for tomato soup concentrate

From there, it was a matter of chopping the tomatoes and cooking them down with the onion. Once they were soft, I pushed them through a food mill fitted with its finest screen. At that point, I had approximately 24 cups of flavorful tomato juice.

I added Italian seasoning and granulated garlic, and cooked it down until I had a thick, tasty 16 cups. Once I was finished cooking, I added salt to taste (it’s always best to wait until you’ve finished cooking something down before salting it. Otherwise, you can end up with something inedible).

cooked tomato soup concentrate

Then I portioned 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid into five square sided 26 ounce jars from Fillmore Container and filled them up with my soup concentrate. I added five minutes to the processing time required by the NCHFP for the tomato and vegetable juice, to compensate for the increased thickness.

I love canning tomato products in these square sided jars because they give it a more professional look, and I find that the squared off sides make them easier to grab when I’m moving quickly. The 26 ounce size is also great from a portioning perspective. Reheated with a bit of milk, there’s just the right amount for two people to enjoy bigs bowls with a side of cheesy toast or garlic bread.

Oh, and if you find yourself liking the looks of the square shape, know that they’re also available in 8 ounce and 16 ounce sizes.

five jars of tomato soup concentrate

This week, the good folks at Fillmore Container have offered up a case of 12 square sided 26 ounce jars and a $50 credit that’s good in their online store for a giveaway. To enter, use the widget below. The recipe for the tomato soup concentrate is after the jump. Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Fillmore Container is a Food in Jars sponsor. Their sponsorship helps keep the site afloat. They provided the jars you see here and are providing the giveaway prize, both at no cost to me. All opinions expressed are entirely mine. 

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Marinated Dehydrated Tomatoes

Got a dehydrator and some tomatoes? Make these marinated dehydrated tomatoes! They are easy, delicious, and so satisfying come winter.

marinated dehydrated tomatoes in ziplock bag

The first summer I had a dehydrator, I dried everything I could get my hands on. I did peaches, apples, herbs, citrus, tons of fruit leather and buckets of small tomatoes. I kept that round unit running for days at a time, and found that I missed its constant drone when it was finally unplugged and put away.

sliced tomatoes for marinated dehydrated tomatoes

Since that first heady season, I’ve narrowed down the things I regularly dehydrate. It is still one of my favorite methods of food preservation, I just have learned more about which dehydrated things that work best in my kitchen and have stopped doing the ones that I didn’t manage to use up as well.

herbs and spices for marinated dehydrated tomatoes

Top on my must-dry list each year are tomatoes. I do them a couple of different ways. I always do two or three dehydrator loads of small tomatoes like grape and sungold to use in salads throughout the year. And I always (ALWAYS) make some marinated and dried tomatoes.

marinade for marinated dehydrated tomatoes

I first learned this trick years back from Kristina McLean’s blog Mouth From the South. She is an avowed tomato lover and takes the growing and preserving of tomatoes very seriously. So the first time I made them, I knew they’d be good. I just didn’t realize quite how life-changing.

pouring dressing into marinated dehydrated tomatoes

If you have a dehydrator, these marinated dehydrated tomatoes are incredibly easy to make. You slice up about five or six pounds of tomatoes and heap them in a bowl. Then you puree together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh parsley, rosemary, garlic, salt, red chili flakes, black pepper, and the juice and zest of a lemon.

marinated dehydrated tomatoes

Once the marinade is smooth, you pour it over the tomatoes. Using your hands, gently give it all a good stir and then let it sit. Because I rarely have enough space in my fridge, I only marinate for a couple of hours. You could also cover the bowl and tuck it in the refrigerator overnight if you’ve got more cold storage than I do.

marinated tomatoes on trays for marinated dehydrated tomatoes

Then you arrange the marinated tomatoes on your dehydrator trays, stack them up, and set it to 135 degrees F. I typically slice my tomatoes so that they’re a little more than 1/2 inch thick and they take about 18 hours like that. If you cut yours thicker, give them more time.

These days, I’m using the new Excalibur stackable dehydrator that I wrote about here. I particularly love the fact that it comes with the mesh screens that make it easier to remove the finished tomatoes (because they stick like crazy).

finished marinated dehydrated tomatoes

When the tomatoes are dry and chewy, they’re done. Then it’s just a matter of pulling them off the trays, heaping them in zip top bags, and stash those bags in the fridge or freezer (thanks to the oil, they really need the cold storage).

I often eat a few while thinking about what to make for dinner. They’re nice as a garnish on a bowl of soup or a grain salad. And for fancy times, I like to chop them and fold them into softened butter for tasty bread.

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