Giveaway: Canning Gear & Jar Accessory Grab Bag

Over the weekend, Scott and I got a new TV stand. This led (as new furniture so often does) to a massive cleaning and reorganization spree. Drawers were emptied, DVDs and games found new homes, and I discovered a cache of unused gear from site sponsors in the past.

I didn’t have a giveaway lined up for this week, and so decided that instead of skipping the week, I’d give away a grab bag of goodies from the past. As it stands today, the lucky winner will get an OXO cherry pitter (by far, the best hand-held pitter I’ve ever used), a Mason Tap, one wide mouth Cuppow in orange, a pair of Coffeesocks filters for a Chemex, and some dissolvable jar labels from Ball Canning.

Because I’m still in clean-up mode, I’m certain that before the week is out, I will find even more jar-centric treasures to add to the winner’s box. So enter early and often, because this is going to be a fun one.

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Links: Grapefruit Jam, Soup Class, and a Winner

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope your weekends have been filled with friends, family, and tasty game day snacks. Let’s have some links!

Congratulations to Amy for being the winner in the Lemon Ladies giveaway!

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February Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, EcoJarz, MightyNest, and Mason Jar Lifestyle

Happy February, dear readers! It’s time to thank the businesses that help make this site possible. Please do give them a little love if you feel so moved!

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. Parents and kids love their EIO set, with its grippy silicone sleeve and a lid that makes for easy sipping. And make sure to check out their Cup Club, to see if using a mason jar and cuppow can earn you free coffee at a shop near you!

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. They just recently posted a recipe for Grapefruit Rosemary Jam that looks absolutely delicious.

Our friends over at EcoJarz are back 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. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, they’ve got a number of jar and accessory sets on sale!

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. Right now, you can get a year’s subscription to the MightyFix for just $99 (it regularly costs $10 a month, so that’s a great deal). Best of all, if you’re a new subscriber, you can get the first month for just $1.

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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Salt Preserving for the February Mastery Challenge

It’s the first of February and that means it’s time to take on the second project in the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge. This month is all about salt preserving. For the purposes of this challenge, we’re going to focus on dry brining or curing. Think salt preserved citrus, salt preserved herbs (herbes salees), gravlax, cured egg yolks, sauerkraut, infused salts, and kimchi. We’re going to stay away from meat and wet-brined ferments.

Remember that the goal of this challenge is to help you expand your skills while creating something that you’ll actually use. So choose a project or recipe that will satisfy both your own learning and help you make something delicious.

The Recipes

You don’t have to choose one of these recipes, but there’s some good stuff here. Feel free to use one or use them as a jumping off point for your own research and exploration.

Salt preserved lemons – This is an easy starting point. I make at least one batch of these every year. They add a tangy, funky bite to soups and stews. I often heap a bunch of them in the blender and puree them smooth. I dollop that puree into hummus, vinaigrettes, and other creamy spreads.

Salt preserved key limes – Some readers argued whether the fruit I used were in this project were actually key limes, but that’s what the bag said. They’re zippy and bright and worth the making.

Citrus salt – Another really simple one. Zest a bunch of lemons, limes, grapefruits, or oranges and combine them with chunky salt. Spread it out on plate or parchment-lined cookie sheet and let it air dry. Then sprinkle it over chicken, fish, dips, and roasted vegetables.

Herb salt – A variation on the citrus salt above, this expansive, wide-ranging recipe is flexible and adaptable.

Herbes salees – There’s a version of this recipe in my second book, but I learned everything I know about salt preserved herbs from Joel and Dana at Well Preserved. And so if their post was a good starting place for me, it’s a good starting place for you!

Gravlax – Quick cured and seasoned salmon that takes a few minutes to prep and just a couple days in the fridge to get good. It’s a low effort, high reward project and just the thing to make if you’re planning a dinner party or fancy brunch.

Cured egg yolks – I’ve not made these before, so I point you in the direction of Hank Shaw for instructions here. From what I hear, this relatively quick cure produces something with the flavor and depth of good cheese.

Kraut – There’s so many directions to go here. Start with a recipe that appeals and begin to explore.

Kimchi – This is my favorite approach, but it just one of many. If you decide to go in this direction, do try to stay away from the brined recipes and stick to the ones that are salted directly, as we’ll focus on wet brined foods later in the year.

Soup base – I almost always have a jar of this vegetable-heavy paste in my fridge for giving depth to soups and stews.

As always, I’ll spend the next month posting recipes and troubleshooting guides focused on this month’s topic. Alex will also have a post that will feature her project. More soon!

What to do if you can’t have salt!

I’ve had a couple people reach out with health conditions that require they avoid salt to ask about how they might participate in this month’s challenge without actually using salt. If you find yourself in this camp, I suggest you take a look at the herb salt link above. You could make a dried herb and citrus zest blend. Or perhaps a salt-free version of homemade furikake (a Japanese seasoning blend that traditionally includes toasted sesame seeds, crumbled nori and bonito flakes).

Look for projects that are in the spirit of the challenge and expand your skills. That’s what I’m looking for!

 

 

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Mastery Challenge January Round-up: Marmalade

Well friends, I think we can safely say that the first month of the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge was a resounding success. Currently, there are just over 1,500 of you signed up via our email list and nearly 600 of you submitted a project for the final tally and round-up.

You turned blueberries, bergamot, cherries, clementines, cranberries, figs, ginger, grapefruit, key limes, kiwis, kumquats, lemons, limes (Persian, Bearss, and Makrut varieties all abound), mangoes, Meyer lemon (the most popular single fruit variety in the challenge), onions, oranges (including blood, Cara Cara, honeybell, mandarin, Minneola, navel, satsuma, and Seville), pears, pineapple, pomelo, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, tangelo, yuzu, and zucchini.

There were also a few unexpected ingredients, including champagne, rice wine vinegar, and a grudging willingness to participate (I saw that, Janet).

For 61% of you, this was the first time you ever attempted to make marmalade. The remaining 39% of you who had done it before. And while I’m not a statistician, I do believe that the charts above tell us that most of you are feel more warmly towards marmalade than you did at the beginning of January.

Now, on to the marmalades. Because of the high number of participants, I’m not able to include everyone in the round-up. But I am going to do my best to ensure that a goodly number of you are represented here.

Blood Orange Marmalades

Slivers of blood oranges on their way to becoming marmalade – Kitchen Commentary

Cara Cara Oranges

Cooking down the lemons – My Bit of Earth

Oranges

Grapefruit

Lemon (Meyer and Other)

Lemon and mango marmalade – Sidewalk Shoes

Other Assorted Sweet Marmalades

Savory Marmalades

A huge thank you to all of you who participated in this challenge! So sorry that I wasn’t able to include everyone in the round-up, but if I didn’t get to you this month, I’ll do my best to include you next time!

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Giveaway: Meyer Lemons from Lemon Ladies Orchard

For the last six years, the highlight of my January has been the day the box of Meyer lemons arrives on my doorstep from the Lemon Ladies Orchard in Emerald Hills, California. My whole apartment fills with their fragrance the moment I unseal the box and I spend the next week or so making marmalade, syrups, curds, preserved lemons, and dehydrated rounds.

Last April, while I was on the first leg of my book tour, I spent a little time visiting Lemon Ladies and getting to know the owner, Karen Morss (she even put me up one night, which was incredibly kind of her).

In the morning, Karen took me on a tour of the orchard, which is tucked into her backyard. She introduced me the 40 trees that make up the orchard (each named after a different woman who had inspired her) and told me about the joys and challenges of growing fruit.

Karen uses organic fertilizer, ladybugs, and love to raise her lemons and it shows in her gorgeous fruit. I am forever in awe of the fact that such glorious fruit just grows on trees in California (I realize it sounds ridiculous, but in the depths of Pennsylvania winter, such things don’t seem entirely possible).

For this week’s giveaway, Karen has offered up a gift box of her lemons to one lucky winner. This prize has a $30 value and contains 3 1/2 pounds of juicy, fragrant Meyer lemons. Use the widget below to enter!

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