A Mrs. Wages Tomato Mix Giveaway

Mrs. Wages mixes

I look forward to tomato season all year. Because I don’t have a garden, it always starts for me when the hot house tomatoes appear at my local farmers market. Then, there comes a trickle of small tomatoes like sungold and cherry tomatoes. And then finally, the torrent. Tables heaped with heirlooms, slicers, and sturdy paste tomatoes.

Because I know that tomato season is fleeting, I make a point of canning at least 100 pounds of tomatoes each season (and sometimes more!). I can them whole, make puree, and cook pans of tomatoes down into thick, flavorful pastes. I also like to employ a little help and so occasionally turn to a package of Mrs. Wages salsa or pasta sauce. Made from spices, dehydrated herbs, citric acid, and salt, these packets are such a time saver.

So this week, I’m giving away a whole assortment of Mrs. Wages Tomato Mixes. The basket will contain an assortment of mixes, including pizza sauce, classic salsa, Bloody Mary, ketchup, and much more. If you’re interested in a chance to win this giant package of tomato canning goodness, here’s what you do.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite way to preserve tomatoes. Are you a whole peeled person? Or perhaps all your tomatoes are dedicated to batches of tomato jam. There is no wrong answer.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, July 23, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, July 24, 2016.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents only (and is void where prohibited).
  4. One comment per person, please.

Mrs. Wages regularly sends out newsletters and posts useful canning info on Facebook, so make sure subscribe and like to stay in the know.

Disclosure: Mrs. Wages is a Food in Jars sponsor of this site. However, all opinions expressed are my own. 

Links: Pickled Onions, Watermelon Rinds, and Winners

making jam in copper pot

For the last half of this week, my cousin Harlan and his family were visiting from Hawaii. When I was growing up, we spent a lot of time together, but as so often happens as people get older and more involved in their own lives, we’ve drifted. Until Thursday, it had been nearly 10 years since I’d seen him or his family. And it hadn’t been for the fact that his four kids were giant people, it would have felt like no time had passed at all! It was so good! Now, links!

Infinity Jars

Thanks to everyone who entered the Infinity Jars giveaway last week! The winner, Anna, has been contacted. If you think that’s you, check your email!

Stay tuned for another giveaway tomorrow!

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International Can-It-Forward Day Charity and Participation Pledge

Can It Forward Day image

International Can-It-Forward Day is in less than a week (Friday, July 22), but there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action. The first thing you want to do is sign the participation pledge. This will ensure that you’ll get email updates about the live stream schedule and you’ll also get a coupon good for $5 off on the Fresh Preserving website.

There are so many reasons to tune in on Friday. You’ll get lots of great canning information and tips. There will be tons of giveaways on Twitter throughout the day. And, you’ll be supporting five small non-profits.

For every like, share, reaction and comment on the Can-It-Forward Day Facebook Live videos on July 22, Ball Canning will donate $1 to the following local charities (up to $1000 per charity):

The demonstrations will start at 10 am and run until 3:30 pm (I’m on at 2 pm). Hope to see you all then!

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Farro, Kale, and Feta Salad + OXO SNAP Glass Round Containers

This farro, kale, and feta salad is easy to make, tastes great, and stores beautifully in OXO’s 8 Piece SNAP Glass Round Container Set.

stacked OXO containers

I have always had a thing for food storage containers. When I was in elementary school, I would beg to be allowed to pack peanuts or raisins for my lunch in one of my mom’s two tiny Tupperware containers (when I was still an infant, she had been invited to a Tupperware party by a neighbor, and though she wasn’t particularly interested in plastic food storage containers, had picked out the smallest item in the catalog so as not to be rude).

watermelon in OXO container

In middle school, I cajoled my parents into buying me a set of matching plastic containers, so that I could tote my lunchtime yogurt and granola in style. And I still remember how delighted I felt my senior year of college, when my roommates and I went in on the large assortment of food storage tubs and bowls at the local Kmart. Looking back on this, it’s really no wonder I’ve made a career out of putting food in containers.

vertical OXO snap containers

About a year ago, I became a little bit obsessed with this new wave of glass food storage containers with snap-on lids. Every time Scott and I went to Costco, I’d pause in front of the display of Pyrex Snapware for so long that he’d sigh and make a move to put a box in our cart. I’d snap out of my trance and tell him to put it back. Between the set of containers we’d gotten for our wedding and my VAST collection of jars, we simply did not need it.

pork and pineapple in OXO

So, when I got an email from the folks at OXO, asking if I might like to participate in a blogger promotion centered on their new 8 Piece SNAP Glass Round Container Set, my resolve crumbled and I said yes. I was finally going to get a chance to work with food storage containers with snap-on lids.

faro salad with bowl of greens

I’ve now had this set of containers in my kitchen for a couple weeks and they’ve become my preferred vessels (so much so that I’ve taken to hand-washing them between uses rather than wait to run them through the dishwasher).

The containers themselves are made of sturdy, shock-resistant borosilicate glass, so they can go straight from the fridge or freezer and into the oven or microwave. The lids have a thick, leakproof gasket (it comes out for cleaning) that, once locked into place, prevents even a drop of moisture from leaking out of the container.

This means that when you pack soup or a dressed salad into one and tuck it sideways into your work bag or backpack, you can be secure in the knowledge that it won’t leak all over your computer. This feature is also fabulous if you find yourself occasionally needing to set container on its edge in order to get it to fit into your fridge (this happens in my kitchen more than I’d like to admit).

plated farro salad

These containers are the perfect thing for the picnics and potlucks so many of us plan during these warmer months. Lately, my go-to dish for such events is a room temperature salad made of farro, lightly cooked kale, feta cheese, and golden raisins. I use a technique that I learned from my Deena many years ago, in which you cook the farro and the kale in the same pot, adding the kale no more than two minutes before the grain is finished.

You end up with both components cooked perfectly and only one pot to clean. I mix the rest of the salad in the cooking pot as well (wait to add the cheese until it’s cooled a bit), and then transfer it to the OXO container when it’s time to store or transport. I like to serve it over a bed of baby arugula, though considering the amount of kale you tuck into it, is entirely optional.

Disclosure: OXO sent me their 8 Piece SNAP Glass Round Container Set, 2-in-1 Salad Servers, and Little Salad Dressing Shaker to try and write about. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

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Yellow Plum Apricot Jam + Facebook Live

This little batch of yellow plum apricot jam is sweetened with honey and is gorgeously sunny and bright.

yellow plum apricot jam

A giant thank you to everyone who joined me on Facebook Live last night! I had a great time talking my way through a batch of jam and answering your many canning questions. I had such a good time that I’m going to do it again next week. Join me again on Tuesday, July 19 at 9 pm EDT/6 pm PDT. I’m not sure what I’ll make yet, but I’ll announce it over the weekend (when I have a better idea of what produce I’ll have on hand).

If you missed it last night, you can still watch, and in fact, the video is embedded below. Just skip over the first 3 minutes, because I started a little early to make sure the technology was going to work and then left it running while I finished getting ready. I won’t do that next time. Live and learn.

Finally, the recipe I made last night is after the jump. You could easily double the batch, should you wish! It’s set up with Pomona’s Pectin, so there’s a bit more flexibility in the size of the batch than there is when you’re not working with pectin.

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How to Find White Grape Juice Concentrate

Struggling with how to find white grape juice concentrate to use as a sweetener in canning? I’m here to help!

A canister of apple juice concentrate, which is easier to find than white grape juice concentrate.

In my newest book, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, I devote an entire chapter to recipes that used 100% fruit juice concentrates as their source of sweetness. Though the work of the developing that book is behind me, those juice concentrates continue to be a favorite tool when I need a relatively neutral natural sweetener.

White grape juice concentrate is my preferred flavor and I reference it in the book often. During the time I was writing the bulk of the recipes in the book (a mere year and a half ago), it could easily get it at both Wegmans and Acme. However, in the last few months, it’s become harder to find (of course!), and I’m hearing from a number of you that you’re also struggling to find it in your stores.

For those of you who are experiencing sourcing issues, don’t give up. There are a few ways around this.

1. Go to your grocery store’s customer service desk and ask if they can special order some for you. Make sure you specify that you want the version that is 100% fruit juice (not fruit cocktail). If you need a brand name, ask for either the one made by Welch’s or the Old Orchard version.

2. Instead of torturing yourself to find the frozen concentrate, boil down a bottle of white grape juice until you have a concentrated strength. Most of the time, it is sold in bottles holding half a gallon, which means you’re starting with eight cups. Cook that down to a syrupy two cups and you’ll be good to go.

3. Use apple juice concentrate instead. However, while it’s more readily available than white grape, it’s not as sweet. To compensate for that intensity, use 25% more apple juice concentrate that you would white grape, to make up for the different in flavor.

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