Sponsored Post: Gift Guides from Fillmore Container + Giveaway

Fillmore Gift Guide #1-canning and preserving items_03

Last week, I spent a little time pulling out jams and preserves for holiday gifts and packages. My mom, sister, and I have an ongoing group text going in which we discuss and plan the minutiae for our Christmas gathering in Austin. And I’ve been marking recipes for brittles and barks, in the search for something new and delicious to share my neighbors. All sure signs that the gift giving season is upon us.

Our friends at Fillmore Container have also been prepping for the holidays in the recent weeks. They have pulled together a series of five gift guides to help all of get ready for this most festive time of year.

Fillmore Gift Guide #2-Mason Jar Accessories_02

Canning Essentials Guide – This is the guide you see pictured at the top of this post, and it features a bunch of my favorite things, like the Blossom Trivet, that nifty cherry pitter that fits onto a mason jar, and my beloved 4th Burner Pot.

Mason Jar Accessories Guide – Gifts for the mason jar lover abound on this list. It includes the Cuppow Coozie, handy Flip Top lids from reCAP, and Silicone Sleeves for transforming eight ounce jars into grippy cups for kids.

Fillmore Gift Guide #3-Candle_01

Jars for the Pantry Guide – Know someone who wants to clean up their food storage act? Then take a look at this list! They’ve got Cracker Jars, French Square Jars (love these for small pasta shapes and seeds), and Ball’s Classic Half Gallon Jar.

Candle, Bath & Body Guide – This is the guide for all your candle, soap, and balm making needs. They’ve got Frosted Tumblers for candles, Straight Sided Jars for lotions, pretty bottles for salts and oils, and much more!

Homemade Gifting Guide – The final guide features recipes and tips for filling up your jars and bottles. There’s Almond Butter Crunch for your candy lover, Cranberry Rosemary Vinegar that is perfect for teacher gifts, and Mulling Spices to warm up a chilly winter night.

Fillmore Gift Guide #4-Pantry_01

The lovely folks at Fillmore Container want to share the holiday love with a couple of Food in Jars readers and so are offering up a giveaway to go with post this post. Two lucky folks will get a $25 credit to spend on their website, along with a copy of one of my books (the winners get to choose which one). Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what Fillmore Container product you’d most like to give or be given.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, November 21, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, November 22, 2015.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Fillmore Container is a Food in Jars sponsor. All opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. 

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Cookbooks: Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han

Wild Drinks and Cocktails - Food in Jars

When I was very young, my family lived in Los Angeles. There weren’t any kids my age on our block, and so I spent a lot of time on my own, exploring our multi-leveled backyard. I’d gather twigs, unripe plums, leaves from the jade plants, and a bark from the towering eucalyptus, heap them in a little plastic bucket, and steep them in water from the hose. I’d offer my “tea” to my mom, claiming it could cure whatever ailed her.

Wild Drinks Rose Water - Food in Jars

Fast-forward 30 years, and Emily Han and her new book, Wild Drinks and Cocktails, are here to teach us all that with a little bit of knowledge, there is much to be found in the natural world (both in LA and elsewhere) to be turned into a vast array of infusions, syrups, squashes (her creations are superior to my childhood concoctions in every way).

Wild Drinks Citrus Squash - Food in Jars

The book is divided into seven chapters. It starts with an introduction to wildcrafting, and offers insight into being a responsible and safe collector of roots, berries, seeds, nuts, and flowers. That section also includes useful information on how to process, preserve, and protect the things you gather.

Wild Drinks Claret Cup - Food in Jars

From there, the book proceeds into the recipes. In Chapter 2, you’ll find the Teas, Juices, and Lemonades (I’ve got Emily’s recipe for Meyer Lemon and Bay Leaf Syrup marked for my annual meyer lemon extravaganza). Chapter 3 is devoted to Syrups, Squash, and Cordials (Rose Hip Whiskey Smash on page 65!).

In Chapter 4, Emily digs into Oxymels, Shrubs, and Switchels. The unifying force of this section is the balance of sweet and tart, and these recipes are for everyone who wants to start using their collection of exotic vinegars.

Grapefruit and Sage Water Kefir - Food in Jars

All of the Infusions, Bitters, and Liqueurs are in Chapter 5. There’s so much in this section that I want to make, but I think I’m going to start with the Winter Gin on page 115 (the thought occurs that it would make a mighty fine holiday gift for a certain subset of my friends and family).

Chapter 6 is all about Wines and Punches. As the weather cools, there’s nothing like a fortifying mug of Mulled Wine (page 157). And finally arrives Chapter 7, with it’s Fizzy Fermentations (yes, please!). Once my travel schedule quiets down again, I’m going to try to start my own Ginger Bug Soda Starter (page 162).

Wild Drinks and Cocktails Back - Food in Jars

Emily has kindly allowed me to reprint her recipe for Classic Switchel and you’ll find it after the jump. It combines molasses, apple cider vinegar, ginger, and water for a bracing tonic. I like to dilute a little in a mug of hot water when I feel under the weather, but it can also be combined with cold water, fizzy water, or used in a cocktail. It’s a most versatile creation.

Oh, and one last thing. I’ve got one copy of this book to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a favorite homemade drink.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, November 14, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, November 15, 2015.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Fair Winds Press sent me a copy of this book for review purposes, and is also providing the giveaway unit, both at no cost to me. All opinions remain my own. It’s a good book.  

For more about Wild Drinks and Cocktails, as well as her classes, follow Emily Han on social media.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Giveaway: The Optimist Make Your Own Cleaning Products Kit

The Optimist kit front

The holiday season is just moments away, and with it comes visiting family, parties and gatherings, and lots of extra clean-up. Our friends at The Optimist Co. are sponsoring the giveaway this week, to help us all breeze through this season of messy togetherness easily, and without a toxin in sight.

contents of The Optimist kit

Devin Donaldson founded The Optimist Co. after conventional cleaning products left her with a nasty asthma attack. Her products are simple, effective, and non-toxic (all made with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen) and will help you keep your home spotless without compromising your health or the planet.

The Optimist Bright Side

My favorite product from The Optimist Co. is their Make Your Own Cleaning Products Kit (for the right person, it could be an excellent holiday gift!). This six-piece kit includes two spray bottles, a small bottle of concentrated soap, and three small bottles of essential oils.


The bottles have recipes on the side so that you can create a cleaning and shining sprays. There are suggestions for scenting them, but you can also devise your own essential oil formula. Oh, and if you’re not into making the products yourself, the Green Your Home set comes with everything ready made and ready to go!

The Optimist Rosemary Mint

The Optimist Co. recently added a new scent to their line-up. While it’s not part of the MYO kit, a bottle of the Time to Shine cleaner with Rosemary and Mint is a winner for every stinky mess.

Thanks to Devin and her team at The Optimist Co., I have three Make Your Own Cleaning Products Kit to give away this week. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a favorite cleaning trick.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, November 14, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, November 15, 2015.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: The folks at The Optimist sent me the kit you see here for review and photography purposes at no cost to me. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions remain my own. 

Links: Pear Jam, Sweet Potato Cakes, and a Winner

apple ginger jam on the stove

It’s been a week now, and I’m still not used to the time change and the early, early darkness. I do love the coziness of dusk at 4 pm, but it sure does put a crimp in my ability to take pictures in the natural light. I’m reacquainting myself with my flash and photography light, but it’s just not the same. How are you all handling the yearly shift back?

pieces in the traveler set

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Wusthof 7-Piece Traveler’s Set! The winner is #313/Jessica HZ.

The All-Clad giveaway is still live, so if you didn’t win this one, make sure to toss your hat in the ring for that!

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November Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, Fermentools, Mrs. Wages, Hobby Hill Farm, & Mason Jar Lifestyle

Cuppow with straw

It’s the start of a new month (I’m a little behind in getting this post up, since I lost most of last week to the flu) and that means that it’s time to thank the companies that help make this site possible. As we head into the holiday season, please do think of them for your making and gifting purposes!

In the top spot, we’ve got 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. If you’re looking for inspiration for your holiday giving, some of the Cuppow staffers are publishing gift guides. First up is Greg’s. I join him in coveting that mini Vitamix!

Fillmore Container is a family-owned business based in Lancaster, PA and sells all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear. They also publish a blog that is a very useful resource for canners. Check back here on Thursday for a giveaway from the folks at Fillmore.

Mrs. Wages makes 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 mixSign up for their newsletter for monthly installments of canning goodness.

Fermentools offers a brilliant fermentation starter kit that involves a heavy-duty glass pickling weight, an airlock, a lid with a reusable rubber seal, and mineral-rich salt. Get one (or several!) to help turn your CSA goodies into naturally fermented pickles.

Hobby Hill Farm is back for another month. Based in Powhatan, Virginia, they sell locally made jams and preserves, homemade pretzels, candies, and cheese making kits. What’s more, if you’re in the area, owner Sharon regularly teaches cheese making classes around central Virginia. I have a fun giveaway from Hobby Hill Farm coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Mason Jar Lifestyle is a one-stop shopping site for all the jar lovers out there! They’ve got silicone drink lids, fruit infusers, silicone jar seals (great for those times when you want to ensure that your jars aren’t going to leak), copper regular mouth lids (fun for gifts!), and even pin cushion toppers.

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.

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Preserves in Action: Black-eyed Pea, Tuna, and Pickle Salad

finished salad on marble - Food in Jars

Most days, my lunch is not particularly photo-worthy (despite the evidence presented on Instagram). Most of the time, I eat whatever leftover is closest to the front of the fridge and hasn’t been earmarked for that evening’s meal (at least once a week, I make dinner with the intention that it will last two nights). Occasionally though, I’m inspired to make something a little more elegant than reheated quinoa and roast vegetables.

salad pickles - Food in Jars

This salad was born on one of those days when there happened to be a dearth of leftovers AND I felt moved to use what I had rather than run across the street for take-out. A true alignment of the stars! It was a quick thing, made up of a can of tuna, another one of black-eyes peas, several generous spoonfuls of pickled chard stems, a chopped celery rib (with the leaves), and a liberal application of salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Safe Catch Tuna - Food in Jars

What made the salad special was the ease with which it came together and the fact that the ingredients were so good. I used a can of Safe Catch Tuna that landed in my mailbox some months ago, and it was some of the best canned tuna I’ve ever eaten. It was chunky and flavorful, and had the added benefit of being line caught and tested for mercury levels.

tuna and black eyed pea salad - Food in Jars

The pickles also made it particularly good. I used some of these chard stem pickles, but if you have any of my salad pickles tucked away in a cabinet, they’d also be a good choice. Save either of those, if you are willing to do a bit of dicing, my open jar of pickles you have in the fridge will work. Make sure to tip a generous glug of the brine into the salad for added zip.

finished salad - Food in Jars

The finished salad made enough for two days of lunching and I’ve stocked my pantry so I can make another bowlful soon.

How are you putting your preserves to work these days?

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