Giveaway: Ball FreshTECH Electric Water Bath Canner and Multi-Cooker

electric canner

Over the last several years the Ball Canning folks have brought a handful of canning appliances to market. The first was the FreshTECH Jam and Jelly Maker in the summer of 2012. The FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System was the thing during the 2014 canning season. And now, we have the Ball FreshTECH Electric Water Bath Canner and Multi-Cooker.

freshTECH logo

This electric canner is exactly what I know a number of you have been hoping for. It’s a giant pot that has an independent element so that you can move your processing pot off your stove top and over to the counter.

It holds 8 quarts, nine pints, or a dozen regular mouth half pints (that means that if you stack them, you can process 24 quarter pint jars at once). It’s particularly great if your stove is slow to boil water or if you’ve been warned off canning on a glass top cooktop.

heating warning

It has a spout on the left side of the canner, so if your kitchen is arranged in a way where you can set the canner to the right of your stove, you can drain the water directly into the sink. The canner comes with a steaming rack as well as a canning rack, so that you can use it for all your high capacity steaming needs (I could see it being perfect for tamale parties).

It can also be used as a portable cooker, so can work for large amounts of soup, chili, or even something like mulled cider. Nice if you help with community potlucks or church suppers.

spigot

I’ve now run a several batches of jars through the canner and I am happy with it. I don’t think it’s going to become my primary boiling water bath because I make a lot of small batches and it doesn’t make sense to heat up this much water for two or three pints.

However, I can see it becoming invaluable during tomato season and I’m willing to carve out some storage space to keep it handy for those heady summer days.

canner filled with jars

This canner does cost $149.99, which is a pretty penny if you already have a canning set-up you like. If you like the idea of moving your canning pot off your stove top but can’t swing that price point, there is a more affordable way to create something similar.

Get yourself an induction capable stock pot (a classic speckled canner with a flat bottom will work) and the induction burner I have (it’s just $60) and you have a canner you can run anywhere (I highly recommend outdoor canning on really hot days).

Ball logo

Thanks to the kind folks at Ball Canning, I have one of these gleaming FreshTECH Electric Canners to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your canning set-up. Are you using your grandmother’s canning pot? Do you use a stock pot with a silicone trivet? Maybe you’re in the market for a new rig. Inquiring minds want to know!
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, April 18, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, April 19, 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 Ball Canning sent me a FreshTECH Electric Canner for review and photography purposes at no cost to me. They are also providing the giveaway unit. No additional compensation was provided for this post and all opinions expressed are my own. 

May 2015 Canning Classes

class image revised .

May is coming, and with it, the official start to my 2015 teaching season. I’m not going to be teaching and demoing as much this year as I did last because I don’t have a new book out this year, and the amount I did in 2014 was more than a little insane. I am also going to be trying some new things, including a monthly live online class, so that those of you who aren’t geographically near can partake in my classes without either one of us hopping on an airplane.

  • Saturday, May 2 – I’ll be giving a talk and offering books for sale and signature at the Senior Adult Activities of Montgomery County’s annual brunch. Event is $40 per person. More information here. Tickets are available here.
  • Wednesday, May 6 – Spring Preserves with Weaver’s Way. We’ll make rhubarb jam and pickled asparagus in the kitchen at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House. 7-9 pm. Click here to register.
  • Monday, May 11 – Quick Pickling at the Walnut Street West Free Library location. 5:30-7:30 pm. Contact the library at 215-685-7671 to sign up.
  • Saturday, May 16 – Preserving strawberries with honey and Pomona’s Pectin at the Morris Arboretum. 10 am – 12 noon. $40/45. Register here.
  • Tuesday, May 19 – Live online class through Concert Window! Class starts at 7 pm Eastern time and will finish up around 8:30 pm. Costs $20 and you can sign up here.
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The Optimist Cleaning Kit Winners

contents of The Optimist kit

Normally, I couple these winner announcements with a collection of links from around the internet. However, last week was an unusual one for me. Because I spent a large portion of it in a cabin without internet access, I didn’t manage to build up my regular list of links.

I also spent the bulk of Sunday at the Philly Farm and Food Fest, signing books, demoing, and making sure my fellow authors and presenters had all they needed. I was in bed by 8:30 last night, which was a decided departure from my regular night owl ways.

The winners in last week’s The Optimist Make Your Own Cleaning Products Kit giveaway are #179/Gene Black, #394/Anne E, and #431/GC. Big thanks to everyone who took the time to enter! And if you didn’t win but liked the looks of these kits, make sure to visit The Optimist Co.’s website and check out all the ways you can clean your house safely and effectively!

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Other People’s Preserves: Preservation Society

Preservation Society

Other People’s Preserve is my opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the very delicious jams, pickles, and condiments being made by dedicated professionals. If you see one of these products out in the wild, consider picking up a jar, tub, or bottle!

I met Camilla Wynne, founder of Montreal’s Preservation Society when I was in Toronto last fall for Well Preserved‘s Big Outdoor Kitchen Party. I’d known her a little through various social media outlets before that, but seeing her and her gorgeous jams in person helped me understand just how much she cares about the art of preserving.

Rhume rx inside

We didn’t get much of a chance to talk that day, but before the event was over, she slipped a jar of her Rhume RX into my hand. This creative preserve is made from lemons, sugar, honey, ginger, bourbon, and cayenne and is the perfect thing for days when you’re feeling a little under the weather (of course, there’s no reason not to eat it when you’re feeling just fine, too).

I’ve taken to stirring a spoonful into a mug of just-boiled water for an instant tea. It also pairs up nicely with sturdy cheese.

made in montreal

All of the Preservation Society products are handmade and wonderfully unique. The product line includes  jams, marmalades, pickles, and chutneys and they also take on the occasional custom order.

Rhume RX

In addition to being a maker, Camilla is also a writer. Her preserving cookbook was first published in French, but an English language edition (with new recipes!) has just been released. I’ve not seen the English edition yet, but hope to get my hands on a copy soon.

 

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Cookbooks: Fika

fika cover

I have always been drawn to the coffee and tea rituals of other countries and cultures. When I was seven or eight years old, I tried to convince my mom that we should take up the practice of afternoon tea a la Great Britain (of course, I was mostly in it for the promise of cake).

fika spine

So, you can understand that when I heard that a book called Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break (by Anna Brones & Johanna Kindvall) was coming out, I was all in. I pre-ordered a copy for myself, but before it shipped, a review copy from Ten Speed landed in my mail box. Within 24 hours of its arrival, I’d read it cover to cover and was dreaming about instituting my own daily fika.

what is fika page

Fika is the Swedish tradition of taking a daily break in which one takes the time to have a coffee (or tea, if that’s your thing) and nibble a baked good (homemade if you can manage it). As a born and bred United States person, who has been conditioned to believe that coffee is best drunk in transit or while working (as I’m doing right now), the idea of a cultural imperative that requires you stop in order to enjoy a cup and a snack hugely appeals to me.

fika rye bread

If you also feel drawn to the idea of fika, this book will help get you oriented and ready. It begins with an introduction to fika and then proceeds to address the history of Swedish coffee. In that chapter, you’ll find also find recipes for the seven traditional fika cookies.

They’ve also included sections on modern fika treats, things to make during the summer months when time can be spent outside, fika for celebrations, and finally breads, sandwiches, and ways to turn fika into a full-fledged snack.

fika jam thumbprints

I marked a number of recipes to try, including the Jam Thumbprint Cookies pictured above (I love that they are more like tiny tarts than the thumbprints we’re used to), the Almond Tart on page 58, and the Quick Buns on page 70. There are also a few jam recipes tucked here and there throughout the book, and they are sensible, non-nonsense takes on preserving which I appreciate.

fika back

Instead of using photography to depict the recipes, this book relies on Johanna Kindvall’s charming illustrations. I love this element, but if you buy cookbooks for the images, this might not be the right book for you.

I predict that this is a book that I’ll keep in regular rotation, both for the approachable recipes as well as for the reminder to take step away from the phone/computer/camera/stove for a little while each day.

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Preserves in Action: Grain Bowl with Chutney

Today's take on the soft boiled egg lunch. This time, with whole wheat couscous, chopped arugula, and plum chutney.

The classic grain bowl is a dead easy way to start moving your chutney from the jar to the plate (or bowl, as the case may be). In the picture above, I  used whole wheat couscous, which I do realize is not truly a grain. But this idea works equally well with bulgar, farro, or quinoa (a pseudo-cereal), so I’m grouping it all under the grain heading for ease.

I toss the warm grain of the day with some chopped arugula or spinach, top it with a couple of soft boiled eggs (I am partial to the six minute egg), and lay down a generous spoonful of chutney along the side. If you’ve got a container of pre-cooked grain in the fridge (or portions in the freezer), it takes nearly no time.

As I eat this quick little bowl, I make sure to get a little chutney into each bite of the egg, grain, and green for maximum deliciousness. I’ve eaten versions of this meal with plum chutney (that’s what you see above), as well as rhubarb, apple, and pear. Each variation has been different and wonderful. Best of all, it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, so it’s a good one to have your mental arsenal for days when you need fast sustenance no matter the time of day.

How are you using your preserves this week?

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