Upcoming Events: Hazon Food Festival, the Lehigh Valley Harvest Festival, and More!

All set up to record an online canning demo!

Hi friends. I have a handful of events coming up in the next couple weeks that I wanted to make sure you knew about!

I hope to see some of you there!

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Links: Apple Pie, Fermented Carrots, and Winners

Very late breakfast of pumpkin butter oats and tea.

To me, one of the markers of a good week is that I have enough time to cook through at least half my CSA share. This last week, I managed to cook five dinners and even got Scott to take leftovers for lunch twice. Truly, it’s the little things that thrill me. Other than that, things were wonderfully uneventful. Now, links!

Adjustable Microplane Slicer microplane slicer winner

We have winners! First up is the winner in the Microplane Adjustable Slicer giveaway. It’s commenter #948, Rachel Groat. She said, “I have a simple mandoline slicer, and I use it for tons of stuff, especially onions slicing. My two favorite recipes have been making curried carrot chips, and a lovely little appetizer with caramelized brown sugar onions and goat cheese on puff pastry rounds! I would love to upgrade my cheapy slicer one day, and this one looks awesome! Love your site bunches :) .”

The Little Book of Home Preserving Little Book winner

It was a two giveaway week, which means we also have a winner in The Little Book of Home Preserving giveaway. It’s commenter #85, Debbie Bruster. She said that she was planning on canning applesauce and apple butter this weekend. Delicious choices!

Many thanks to Microplane and Rebecca Gagnon for providing their tools and books for giveaway, as well as to all of you who took the time to enter!

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The Little Book of Home Preserving

The Little Book of Home Preserving

On first glance, The Little Book of Home Preserving might not catch your eye. It’s a tiny book (truly, no bigger than the size of my hand) and could easily get lost in a larger display. However, missing this book would be a huge mistake. Written and photographed by Rebecca Gagnon (author of the blog CakeWalk), it is bursting with interesting, creative recipes.

intro to The Little Book

For a little book, this volume packs a serious punch. It opens with the basics of preserving, including safety tips, the equipment you’ll need to get started canning, and even instructions on how to strain whey from yogurt in order to follow the lacto-fermentation recipes in the book. Rebecca also touches on the inherent art of making preserves, which is a section I particularly like and relate to.

Persimmon-Vanilla Jam

Once you get into the meat of the book, you see that it’s organized by season. I’m hoping against hope that my CSA will still have a few ground cherries left next week so that I can make a batch of the Citrus Chai Ground Cherry Preserves. I’ve also got my sights set on the Grapefruit Jam with Vanilla and Poppy Seed (the picture of that one in preserve is so gorgeous).

The Little Book spine

Rebecca sent me an extra copy of her book to share with one of my readers, so we’re having a super special weekend long giveaway. One lucky person will win a copy. However, no matter whether you win or not, I highly suggest picking up a copy. It’s size makes it perfect for slipping into Christmas stockings and at $6.57 on Amazon, it won’t break the bank.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share what you’re preserving this weekend.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Sunday, October 13, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted on Monday, October 14, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Rebecca sent me two copies of her book, one to keep and one to give away, at no cost to me. However, my opinions are entirely my own. 

Good Things to Can in Autumn

apples at Three Springs

Over the last couple of days, the weather in Philly has shifted from unseasonably warm to wonderfully crisp and just a little bit rainy (which as a former Portlander, delights me). It’s got me thinking about all the lovely jams and preserves there are to make this time of year and so I thought I’d dig down into the archives and pull together a few of my autumn favorites.

weighing

Piles of green tomatoes are often a challenge this time of year. Make yourself a big batch of green tomato chutney, or pickle them on up.

pears

Pears are the best thing ever right now and there’s just so much you can do with them. Seckel pear jam with brown sugar and cardamom. Pear vanilla jam. Pear cinnamon jam. Red pear lavender jam. Pear cranberry jam. On the pickled side of things, make sure to try these pickled asian pears (it’s a recipe from one of Karen Solmon’s Asian Pickles e-books).

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And we can’t forget apples! Applesauce! Spiced apple butter! For something a little tangy, a batch of apple cranberry jam. For something a little spicy, try apple ginger jam or my beloved honey lemon apple jam. There’s also mulled cider jelly (which is great for holiday giving) and quince jelly (okay, not an apple, but still lovely).

cubed pumpkin

Finally, on the pressure canning side of things, there’s always pumpkin cubes. It’s a great way to preserve winter squash if you don’t have appropriate cold storage for them or if you want to have some homemade, shelf stable, ready to use pumpkin.

What are you making these days?

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Peanut Butter Banana Granola

speckled bananas (1)

We all have our ways of dealing with overripe bananas. Some make quick breads. Others freeze them for smoothies. Still others make up giant batches of waffles for quick breakfasts. I used reside firmly in the banana bread camp, but as I work to reduce the amount of sugar and refined grains I eat, a tempting loaf of quick bread just doesn’t seem like the smartest choice.

peanuts and sunflower seeds (1)

Still, as I stood in the kitchen earlier today staring down a pair of very black bananas, I knew I needed to do something with them quickly or surrender them to the garbage. Banana bread was tempting, but a batch of granola just seemed more sensible. Peanut butter banana granola.

honey, mashed banana, and melted peanut butter

I melted 1/4 cup of peanut butter with 1/2 cup of honey. Once it reached a boil, I whisked in two mashed bananas and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and then poured it over 4 cups of oats, 1 cup of salted peanuts, and 1/2 cup sunflower seeds. I stirred until the oats were entirely coated with the hot honey, peanut butter, and banana slurry.

mixing granola (1)

Once the ingredients were all incorporated, I spread it out on a rimmed cookie sheet and popped it in the oven at 350 degrees F for about half an hour. Granola is a tricky beast and needs regular stirring, so don’t stray far. If you prefer, you can also cook it at a lower temperature for longer, but I had an errand to run and so needed it to be done quickly.

tray of granola

Once it was done baking, I scraped the granola into a mound in the center of the baking dish and pressed with the back of a spatula to help encourage crunchy clusters.

top of granola jar

I am quite happy with the way this granola turned out. While it’s neither aggressively banana-y or peanutty, it’s got good flavor and is satisfyingly crunchy. I didn’t add any dried fruit, but will probably add a little palmful of raisins when I eat it to up the sweetness a little.

If you make yourself a batch, take care to let the granola cool completely before funneling it into a storage jar (my batch filled a half gallon exactly). I think I rushed it a little and I’ve found a few softer clusters. It’s certainly not going to stop me from eating it, but I wish I’d been more patient.

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Giveaway: Microplane Adjustable Slicer with Julienne Blade

Adjustable Microplane Slicer

Last year, on a whim I picked up an inexpensive, handheld slicer. Smaller than a mandoline and far easier to clean than a food processor, it quickly became one of my go-to tools for making salads, shredding Brussels sprouts, and prepping vegetables for pickles.

I liked that slicer so much that when canning season started, I packed it into the bag of tools I take to classes and then promptly left it behind someplace on the eastern seaboard. Since then, I’ve been meaning to pick up a new slicer, but it kept sliding down the priority list.

shredded sprouts

Make this shredded sprout saute! The recipe is up on Table Matters.

Happily, my procrastination has actually paid off. Microplane has recently introduced a new adjustable slicer (it even has a julienne blade that you can drop in to make nice long ribbons) and sent me one to try out. It’s razor sharp, simple to handle, and easy to store. It’s miles better than my first little slicer (and I thought that one was the bee’s knees) and I am totally delighted by it.

Thanks to the nice folks at Microplane, I have one of these nifty slicers to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite shredded or sliced recipe.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Friday, October 11, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted on Sunday, October 13, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Microplane sent me a slicer to try and is also providing the one for this giveaway. My opinions remain my own.