Industree’s Hail to the V Event

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Next week, I’m participating in an event that’s a bit outside my regular sphere. It’s a panel discussion put on by Industree called Hail to the V and it features women in the food and beverage industry in Philadelphia. Topics of conversation will include building brands as females, professional and personal stories, lessons learned, building respect, cultivating loyalty, and kitchen life.

This event is on Wednesday, July 1 from 2 to 5:30 pm at the The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. The moderators will be Madison Alpern and Jen Carroll.

  • Charlotte Calmels – co-owner, Bibou and Le Cheri
  • Phoebe Esmon – head bartender, Emmanuelle
  • Laura Frangiosa – chef-owner, The Avenue Deli
  • Monica Glass – executive pastry chef, Sbraga Dining
  • Chloe Grigri – general manager, The Good King Tavern
  • Joy Manning – editor, Edible Philly; recipe editor, Zahav cookbook
  • Marisa McClellan – writer, Food in Jars, Preserving by the Pint, and more
  • Erin O’Shea – chef-owner, Percy Street Barbecue
  • Valerie Safran – co-owner, Lolita, Barbuzzo, Jamonera, Little Nonna’s, and more
  • Marie Stecher – pastry chef-instructor, The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College
  • Heather Thomason – head butcher, Kensington Quarters
  • Alice Tran – general manager, Laurel

Tickets are $15 for students, $25 for industry, and $40 for non-industry. Use the code “JARSVIP” to get 20% off admission. Drinks and snacks will be provided. Get your ticket here.

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July 4th Picnic: Sweet Cherry Chutney

finished cherry chutney

I have spent the last couple weeks preserving my way through a sea of cherries. First came a 20 pound box of sweets from the nice people at the Washington State Fruit Commission as part of the annual Canbassador program. Then, just when I’d finished turning them into chutney, jam, kompot, clafoutis, and shrub, I picked up a flat of sour cherries from Three Springs Fruit Farm. I have one more pound of those to work through from that flat and then I’m done.

cherries for chutney

Happily, cherries were a perfect fit for this July 4th cheese board project. I made a fresh batch of sweet cherry chutney with some of the Canbassador fruit. Paired with a wedge of sturdy blue cheese and piled on those homemade graham crackers, it was pretty darn delicious.

chopped cherries

If you don’t have the time or desire to pit four pounds of cherries (admittedly, it can be a little tedious), I suggest you make a batch of pickled cherries. These can be preserved with the pits still in them and after a few days, they are ready to eat. These honey-sweetened cherries with fresh rosemary would also pair up nicely with that wedge of blue.

chutney in spread

Tenaya posted her tips for stirring up tasty summer sparklers to drink with cheeses today. Make sure to head over there and take a look!

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July 4th Picnic: Spiced Blueberries & Goat Brie

reflective spiced blueberries

Blueberries were one of the very first ingredients that Tenaya and I discussed when we first started talking about creating this 4th of July-themed cheese and preserve picnic. They typically come into season in our area in the last days of June and they can be transformed into all sorts of cheese-friendly preserves.

blueberries in a bowl

Instead of making jam, I opted to make blueberries in a highly spiced, slightly tangy syrup. I wouldn’t call them pickled blueberries, because they don’t pack a huge amount of pucker, but they have a small amount of apple cider vinegar in the preserving liquid to ensure that they taste zippy.

cooking blueberries

We paired these blueberries with a round of goats milk brie and it was an awfully good bite. They were also tasty gently mashed into the homemade graham crackers that Tenaya made. One of our friends who came over to help us eat the cheeses and preserves after our shoot was over was of the opinion that they would also make a very nice addition to a bowl of oatmeal. I wouldn’t disagree.

boiling berries

Like many of the recipes I post here, consider the listed spices as mere suggestions. You can change the flavorings without impacting the safety of the finished preserve. These would be equally good with vanilla beans, lightly crushed cardamom pods, or even some dried hot peppers if you like spicy things.

spiced blueberries and goat brie

You should get three pints of berries from this recipe, with approximately 8 to 12 ounces of liquid leftover. There are two really good things to do with this leftover goodness. You can store it in a jar in the fridge for adding to glasses of sparkling water. Or you can cook it down into a thick syrup that you can then drizzle over slices of toast spread thickly with fresh ricotta. The choice is up to you.

open spiced blueberries

More about our celebratory picnic tomorrow!

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Cheese and Jam for the 4th of July

cheese and preserve picnic

One of the things that I firmly believe is that my job here as the writer of this website is not just to offer up canning instructions and recipes, but also to offer up suggestions on how to use and enjoy the things you’ve made. After all, there’s no point in preserving seasonal fruits and vegetables if you never open the jars and empty them out again.

cucumber baguette raspberries

To that end, my dear friend Tenaya (aka Madame Fromage) and I dreamed up a little 4th of July picnic to share on our blogs that features a handful of cheeses paired up with preserves, crackers, and a slab of spicy pecan brittle. The cheeses are all from Trader Joe’s, so they’re quite widely accessible, and the preserves are mere suggestions. Feel free to take inspiration from what you already have on hand.

We know that we’re still a couple weeks out from Independence Day, but we figured posting this series now will give you the time to do a little preserving and make a plan for your own celebratory gathering.

three cheeses

All this week, we’ll be posting tidbits from our little cheese and preserve party. Over on her site, you’ll find the recipes for hearty whole wheat graham crackers and an easy shrub sparkler as well as tips on pairing cheeses with various jams, pickles, and other edible delights.

tenaya shooting the table

I’ll be sharing the recipes for the spiced blueberries and the pecan brittle, as well as pointing you to the cherry recipes that would best accompany this board (we used a jar of my sweet cherry chutney in the shoot and it was heavenly with all three cheeses). Make sure to check back all week long for all the celebratory fun.

Oh, and huge thanks to Margeux Kent and Peg & Awl for lending us all the pretty boards you see in the pictures above. I wanted to tuck one or two into my bag, but managed to keep my sticky fingers to myself.

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Giveaway: New Edition of the Ball Blue Book

Ball Blue Book cover

The Ball Brothers started making canning jars as we know them in Buffalo, NY in 1884. In 1888, production began in Muncie, Indiana (thanks mostly to an abundance of natural gas and a friendly cadre of local businessmen). And in 1909, they published the first edition of their canning guide and recipe pamphlet.

Ball Blue Book intro

Initial printings bore the title The Correct Method of Preserving Fruit. A few years later, it was called The Ball Preserving Book. And in 1915, the first edition was printed that included the name The Ball Blue Book.

Ball Blue Book contents

When I first became aware of the Ball Blue Book, I wondered briefly about how it came to bear that name. Soon after, I read somewhere that originally the cover was blue and so people gave it that nickname for ease. However, the term blue book (think Kelley Blue Book) has also long been a phrase used to describe an authoritative handbook or reference book, so chances are that’s how it acquired the name.

Ball Blue Book pH info

The Ball Blue Book has gone through a multitude of editions and revisions in its 106 year history and 2015 marks the release of the 37th edition. It is 200 pages long, features more than 500 recipes (75 of which are brand spanking new), and is a really great resource for anyone who cans.

I own several editions at this point in my canning career and have often reference them when looking for both hard facts and canning inspiration.

Ball Blue Book Pickles

This new edition has much to offer. The authors have streamlined the recipe language to make it as clear and straightforward as possible. The recipes are organized by style of preserve (whole fruit, jams and jellies, pickles, etc.). They indicate clearly places where you can safely adapt and personalize recipes. And for those of you who itch to get more use out of your pressure canner, pages 97 to 119 will please you mightily.

Ball Blue Book tomatoes

This week, I have three copies of this new edition of the Ball Blue Book to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a story or memory of the Ball Blue Book. Did your grandmother can from a copy? Did you learn to can from an earlier edition? Was your family loyal to a different canning bible? Or, is this the first you’re hearing of it?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, June 27, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, June 28, 2015.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  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 PR team for Jarden Home Brands (parent company of Ball Canning) sent me a review copy of the Ball Blue Book that you see pictured here. They have not compensated me for this post and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Live Online Canning Basics on Tuesday!

canning tools

Tomorrow night, I’m teaching my second live online class via Concert Window. This session will dig into the basics of boiling water bath canning. I’ll show you the gear I find essential for safe and easy canning, talk about the things that are nice to have but not necessary, and walk you through prepping, filling, and processing a batch of jars.

One of the cool things about the Concert Window app is that it includes an interative chat stream. As you watch, you can type in questions and comments and I’ll respond to them live.

This class starts at 8 pm eastern time and will last about an hour. It’s a pay what you wish session, so if your budget is tight, you can pay just a dollar to participate. If you feel like you’ve gotten a lot of value from the class, you can leave a tip at any point while the class is still live.

The only downside of using this platform is that there’s no way to offer the workshop for view once it’s over. So unfortunately, if you’re not available at during the class session, there’s no archive for you to watch (but you can check out this post for detail on boiling water bath canning).

Please do let me know if you have any questions in advance of the class. I hope to see a bunch of you there!

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