Links: Marmalade, Black Radish Relish, and Jar Love

Oh! My local Barnes & Noble has Food in Jars facing out! It's so fun to find it like that!

I feel like I’m something of a broken record these days. It’s all cookbook work, all the time (this one is about preserving with natural sweeteners, like honey, agave, and fruit juice concentrates). I’ve been making some good progress, even in the face of the flu, which feels good. While I wrestle with lists, measurements, and recipe testing, some links!

No winners to announce tonight, because there was no giveaway last week. However, stay tuned, as I’ll have a fresh giveaway for you tomorrow!

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Other People’s Preserves: M. Greenwood Jams Lemon Sage Mustard from Garibaldi Goods

Greenwood Jams Lemon Sage Mustard

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

This week’s featured preserve is the Lemon Sage Mustard from M. Greenwood Jams. I discovered this brightly flavored, seriously savory mustard thanks to the kind folks at Garibaldi Goods. They are an online shop based Southern California that features the small batch, artisanal products and preserves that are made in California.

Greenwood Jams Lemon Sage Mustard top

M. Greenwood Jams is a mother and daughter preserving team based in Los Angeles. They make small batches of seasonal preserves, using locally sourced produce (and there’s no place better than California for freshness and variety. I get jealous every time I’m out there).

Greenwood Jams Lemon Sage Mustard side

What I find so nice about this mustard is that it has none of the bitterness that you often get from really grainy mustards. The seeds are tender and flavorful, and the lemon and sage compliment the natural mustard flavor. It’s one that I’d put out with a cheeseboard or eat with leftover roast chicken.

Disclosure: The folks at Garibaldi Goods sent me this jar of mustard for sampling and photography purposes. However, I meant every word of what I said about it.

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Preserves in Action: Eggs Over Sauerkraut

Fried eggs over carrot/cabbage kraut and a little hot sauce. Breakfast for lunch!

It has been a really quiet week for me (this flu was no joke). My cooking has been limited to soup, eggs, and a single batch of bread. The worst of it has been that my sense of taste was dampened by the congestion and continues to somewhat muted. So even if I had the energy for ambitious cooking or preserving, it would have been lost on me.

Because things are tasting flat, I’ve been reaching for highly flavored things like sauerkraut and pickles, trying to replace nuance with pungency. Yesterday’s simple lunch was particularly satisfying.

I pulled a jar of young sauerkraut out of the fridge and forked out a generous layer onto a place. I cracked two eggs into a hot, buttered skillet and cooked until the whites were set but the yolks were still runny (my father calls this “over easy, hold the wiggle”). Once the eggs were done, I slide them out onto the sauerkraut, and then topped the whole thing with several drops of Alana’s excellent hot sauce.

The eggs warmed the cold kraut slightly and the hot sauce added extra zip. Together, that plate of food offered both high flavor and healing nutrition. Here’s hoping both my energy levels and my sense of taste will be back to normal by next week!

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February Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, Spice Ratchet, and Fermentools

The artisanal pickle selection at the Franklin Building Di Bruno Bros is quite impressive!

Hello friends! So sorry that I dropped off the map this week. I came down with the flu on Friday afternoon and it wasn’t until this morning that I started to feel like a human again. As a result, there has been no new content for the last few days and February’s sponsor spotlight post is a bit late. Please excuse the absence and, if you feel so moved, send healthy thoughts in my direction! 

It’s the beginning of February and that means it is time to highlight the businesses that help make it possible for me to devote so many of my waking hours to this blog! Please do visit them if they offer a product that interests you!

First up is jar accessory maker 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. They also sell the Mason Tap, which is an awesome tool for turning a regular mouth mason into a dispenser. To make it totally leak-proof, I pair mine with one of the rubber gaskets designed to work with the Tattler regular mouth lids.

Our friends at Fillmore Container are back this month as well. They’re a family-owned business based in Lancaster, PA and sells all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear.  And if you’re looking for some of the purple heritage jars, they just got a shipment in stock!

Next up is Spice Ratchet. They make the blossom trivet that I use as a canning rack, and last fall they released a line of silicone Blossom uCaps for mason jars. They are available as astorage cap, a sipping cap, and a flower frog. I hear they have new products on the horizon, so stay tuned for more on that!

Last up is Fermentools. They make 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. The pickles I made using their kit turned out deliciously!

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: Roasted Tomato and Feta Dip

roasted tomato dip

I am not a sports fan, but I am the daughter of a man who cares deeply about nearly every flavor of mainstream college and professional sports (hockey is the only thing that leaves him cold). Thanks to my dad, I have spent far more hours in stadiums and in front of large television sets watching men run after balls and around bases than I ever would have if left to my own devices.

Despite my disinterest, it never took much to convince me to participate in the watching, because I learned from an early age that snacks were an integral part of being a spectator. And I most definitely wanted in on those snacks.

roasted tomato dip top

This Sunday is the biggest game of them all, and for weeks now, blogs and food websites have been offering up recipes to serve at your party. I typically stay clear of the Game Day Spread topic, but I whirled up a really delicious impromptu dip a few days ago and so it seemed silly not to get it up here in advance of the insanity.

You start with two cups of roasted grape tomatoes (all the better if you added some garlic while roasting). If you have some of these squirreled away in your freezer, you’re halfway there. If not, turn a pint of grocery store grape tomatoes out onto a rimmed cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, add some garlic, and roast hot and fast or low and slow, until the tomatoes have wilted and browned.

tomato dip on a chip

Let the tomatoes cool and then dump them into the bowl of a food processor. Add 8 ounces of cream cheese, 4 ounces of crumbled feta (tangier is better), and 1/2 cup marinated roasted red pepper strips (if your grocery store has a antipasto bar, buy just what you need there instead of opening a jar that you will then have to refrigerate). Process to combine.

Add salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt at first, because feta often has plenty). If it needs a little more acidity, go with a squirt of lemon juice. Refrigerate to firm it up a little and then serve with cut-up veggies or chips of some kind. I’ve been eating it for lunch with celery sticks, or using it as a sandwich spread. Delicious and easy, just the way we like it.

(I realize that I wrote a very similar post to this one three years ago, complete with a recipe for a different tomato dip. Life is cyclical and I’m okay with that.)

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Butternut Squash Soup Concentrate

quart of butternut puree

Back in December, I roasted a butternut squash in order to make pasta sauce. I ended up with far more puree than I needed for the recipe and so stashed the remaining pint in the fridge. A day or two later, my mother-in-law was over and we were hungry for lunch. I went rummaging and found bread, cheese, and that puree.

butternut squash halves

I scraped the puree out into a small saucepan and added some chicken stock, a little lemon juice for brightness, and a some pepper (I use Better than Bouillon, so the chicken stock had plenty of salt). We ate the soup, toast, and cheese for lunch and both marveled at how good it was.

top of butternut puree

Since them, I’ve made a point of having a jar of butternut squash puree in the fridge for quick lunches. Over the weekend, I roast a butternut or two (the finished puree freezes nicely, so you can always make extra if you’ve got the space) until tender, and scrape off the skin. The warm squash goes into the blender (a food processor also works) with a little water and I puree it until it’s smooth. Then, I spoon the puree into a jar and pop it in the refrigerator.

butternut soup lunch

When I’m ready for lunch, I measure out a cup of the puree into my smallest pot, add a little bit of the chicken Better than Bouillon and about half a cup of water (there’s wiggle room here, depending on your desired soup consistency and how thick your puree was to start). Some days, I’ll add a little lemon zest and juice. Others, I’ll add freshly grated ginger and a little coconut milk. Yogurt, half and half, or sour cream also make really nice additions. As soon as it is warm, lunch is served.

little pot of butternut soup

Now, you might be wondering why I don’t just make a batch of butternut squash soup instead of this concentrate. It comes down to space, flexibility, and shelf life. I find it easier to make space in my fridge for a quart jar of concentrated puree than a larger jar of finished soup. I like that each day, I can make my soup taste a little different (I can also stir a little of the puree into other dishes, if the moment calls for it). And a puree made with nothing beyond squash and water lasts far longer than a soup that’s already been adjusted with dairy products.

Do you have any make-ahead staples that you’re particularly enjoying these days?

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