Food in Jars Stickers for Sale!

Back in 2014, when Preserving by the Pint was just coming out, I ordered a box of stickers with the orange Food in Jars logo on them. I handed out these stickers at libraries, farmers markets, and book shops and was delighted people put them on their water bottles, laptops, and car bumpers.

I’ve been out of that first batch of stickers for awhile now and have missed them. So when a coupon code from Sticker Mule landed in my inbox, I decided it was high time to order up a new batch. Die cut and made of weather and scratch-resistant vinyl, these stickers are kind of awesome.

If you want one of these stickers, I’m offering up 150 for sale here on the blog for $3 a piece. If you want one, use this link to send me $3 via Paypal (make sure that your mailing address is accessible via Paypal, so I know where to send the sticker). Once I get your order, I’ll drop the sticker into the mail for you! And let me know if you have any questions!

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Mastery Challenge: Quick Pickled Mushrooms

Regular Food in Jars contributor Alex Jones is here today with her contribution for the April Mastery Challenge. This month, she quick pickles some gorgeous local mushrooms from Primordia Farm! Take it away, Alex!

Just about every Saturday, I wake up early and walk a few blocks from my West Philly apartment to Clark Park, where I’ll meet a truck laden with cheese and mushrooms from Berks County. We’ll set up folding tables and tents on the sidewalk along with organic vegetable growers, kraut makers, fishermen, orchardists, urban farmers, and bakers who are there to vend at the farmers’ market.

On one side of our stand, I sell grass fed artisan cheese, yogurt, and cultured butter for Valley Milkhouse, a microdairy located less than 90 minutes from Philly that’s run by my friend Stefanie Angstadt. On the other side, my neighbor Bianca sells wild foraged and organically grown mushrooms for the other Berks-based business, Lenhartsville’s Primordia Farm. In addition to providing an efficient logistics partnership for the two farms, we and our farmers’ market customers find that our products go really well together.

The proximity to Primordia’s offerings has given me the chance to experiment with the kind of fungi that never used to cross my radar. I get to bring home feathery maitake mushrooms to roast up crisp and toasty, king trumpets to slice into planks and saute until golden brown, and—when they’re in season—black trumpets, chanterelles, and morels to flavor creamy pasta sauces and risottos or simply cook gently in a good amount of butter.

If you’ve got a good source for fresh, organically grown mushrooms in your area but haven’t tried cooking with them yet, I highly recommend it. Varieties like these and others, like furry-looking lion’s mane, delicate golden oyster, and tiny, compact enoki, are sometimes labeled “exotic” or “wild” and can come with eyebrow-raising price tags, ranging anywhere from $10 to $40 (for morels in season) per pound.

But mushrooms are very light, and the amount you need to make even a mushroom-centric dish or preserve is probably much less than you think. The mushrooms for this recipe cost around $8. By bringing some home from the farmers’ market, you’ll also be supporting a small, sustainable business like Primordia and adding something nutritious and delicious to your diet.

(The specimens in the top photo sat bagged in my crisper for nearly a week before I could process them, hence a few dings and broken pieces, but trust that Primordia’s and any good grower’s mushrooms will be immaculate at purchase.)

As much as I’ve come to love mushrooms, I’d never pickled them after a tendency to be disappointed by the marinated buttons on most antipasti platters. Quick-pickling some beautiful mushrooms would be perfect subject for April’s Mastery Challenge.

After a little Internet research, I decided on this Andrew Zimmern recipe, modeled on Russian pickled mushrooms, as a guide. Along with the garlic, red pepper, dill, and thyme that he recommends, I swapped in star anise for cloves and black pepper.

And while Zimmern makes the impossible (at least where I live) recommendation to combine spring morels and summertime chanterelles in his recipe, neither were available locally—so I grabbed a mix of shapely king trumpet, velvety pioppino, and gray oyster.

The pickling process is a simple one. Check mushrooms for soil or debris—Primordia’s are so clean that you don’t have to wash them—and trim off any substrate, typically a nutrient-rich mix of straw or sawdust, coffee grounds, and mycelium out of which the fruiting bodies emerge.

Separate mushrooms like pioppino and oyster into smaller pieces and cut large, fleshy king trumpets into manageable sticks or planks.

Next, measure out water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and pickling salt and put it in a pot to boil. Since this is a quick pickle that will be refrigerated, and I’m not a fan of overly sweet pickles, I cut the sugar down from ⅓ cup to one tablespoon, the same as the amount of salt called for in the recipe.

While you’re waiting for the brine to boil, get your jars ready by dividing the herbs, spices, and garlic between two wide-mouth pint jars.

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Links: Date Charoset, Speedy Pickles, and a Winner

Happy Monday, friends! I spent all of Saturday working the Philly Farm & Food Fest, which left Sunday feeling like Saturday and today feeling entirely off. As a result, I’m running about a day late in every way, including with my blogging. So even though I normally do these links on Sunday evenings, I’m serving them up today. Hope they’re still tasty!

As as sad as I am that the Pint & Half jars I featured in last week’s giveaway with Fillmore Container are being discontinued, it was a pleasure to hear many of you all love them too! The giveaway winner is in the widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Quick Pickled Radishes for the Mastery Challenge

We have a chain of stores in the Philadelphia called Produce Junction. Rarely more than a concrete box fitted out with some coolers and a couple of counters, the primary appeal of Produce Junction is that you can get large quantities of produce for very little money.

It’s not a store that’s on my regular shopping route, but I occasionally dash into one when I’m in the right neighborhood. And of course, end up going home with far more food that I actually need (which then sends me off into a fit of food preservation).

This last Monday, I found myself in the vicinity of a Produce Junction. I parked outside and made promises to myself that I wouldn’t overdo it. And while I was relatively restrained, I did bring home beets (both red and golden), snow peas, kale, cucumbers, bananas, oranges, lettuce, and a three pound bag of radishes.

Most of what I bought has been incorporated into our regular meals, but three pounds of radishes is a lot, even for this vegetable-loving household. Steps needed to be taken.

And thus, these quick pickles were born. I used the thin slicer blade on my food processor to break them down (having decided that washing the bowl was better than hand slicing the two pounds I used for this recipe).

Once they were sliced, I made a brine using rice wine vinegar, a little bit of agave, and salt. I tucked some sliced scallions and slivered ginger into the bottom of the jar and then packed the radishes on top.

Now, I made a giant portion of these quick pickles. I filled an entire half gallon jar. You can obviously reduce the recipe if you don’t want to have such a huge portion. However, this is a pickle that I can move through fast, as they go well with salads, grain bowls, tacos, and more.

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Quick Pickle Cookbook Recommendations

Our month of quick pickles for the Mastery Challenge is underway. While there is PLENTY of information about quick and refrigerator pickling available on the internet, I also have a short stack of books to recommend in case you’re hoping to dig deeper. (Amazon | Powell’s)

  • Pickled by Kelly Carrolata (Amazon | Powell’s) – This book runs the pickling spectrum. You’ll find everything from a class dill pickle to refrigerator herring. There are some recipes here that are designed for the water bath, but most are to be used and eaten promptly. Another fine feature of this volume is the fact that about a quarter of the recipes are ones to help you use up what you’ve put up.
  • Quick Pickles by Chris Schlesinger, John “Doc” Willoughby, and Dan George (Amazon | Powell’s) – This book is a celebration of the unprocessed pickle and serves up inspiration every time I flip through its pages. It does show its age a bit as far as the names of the recipes go (no one would name something Korean-Style Cabbage Pickle in these times, they’d simply call it Quick Kimchi), but the fact remains that it has plenty to offer.
  • The New Preserves by Anne V. Nelson (Amazon | Powell’s) – I bought this book for its pickled cantaloupe recipe and keep it around for its sweet pickled carrots. Just don’t make the three bean salad – there’s not nearly enough acid in that recipe for boiling water bath canning.
  • Asian Pickles by Karen Solomon (Amazon | Powell’s) – If you want to pursue authentic pickles from Japan, Korea, China, India, and Southeast Asian, you want Karen Solomon by your side. This book is a masterful piece of recipe development and curation. And since many of the traditional pickles from those parts of the world are kept with processing, much of the book is perfect for this month’s challenge.
  • The Pickling Handbook by Karin Bojs (Amazon | Powell’s) – I included this book in the round-up because it is beautiful. It offers a handful of pickling recipes, as well as bunch of recipes to help you use up the pickles you’ve made.
  • The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich (Amazon | Powell’s) – Linda Ziedrich is the high priestess of home food preservation (I anxiously await her forthcoming book on savory jams). The third edition of her pickling book came out last summer and is bursting with all manner of pickled delight. If you only own one book on pickling, this should be it.
  • The Pickled Pantry by Andrea Chesman (Amazon | Powell’s) – This is a big, friendly book with lots of pickle knowledge to offer. Andrea processes most of her pickles, but many of the recipes could be easily done as quick pickles. She’s got one section where the recipes are all scaled for a single jar, making them easy for the small batch aficionado.
  • Pickled & Packed by Valerie Aikman-Smith (Amazon | Powell’s) – Pickled rose petals! Boozy bread and butter pickles! Pickled makrut lime leaves! This book is the one I pull down when I need something to wake me up and get me thinking about pickling in a whole new way.
  • Beyond Canning by Autumn Giles (Amazon | Powell’s) – I love Autumn’s flavor sensibility. She has a way of combining ingredients that is creative, delicious, and accessible. Recipes in this book that would work particularly well for the challenge include Kombu Dashi Pickled Shitake Mushrooms, Curried Orange Pickle, Bloody Mary Pickled Eggs, and Quick Pickled Rhubarb.
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Philly Farm and Food Fest this Saturday, April 8

The Philly Farm and Food Fest is this Saturday, April 8 from 11 am to 4 pm at the Philadelphia Convention Center. This is one of my very favorite local food events of the year, because it is the effective kick-off for the consumer-side of our regional growing season.

Farmers, producers, makers, authors, restaurateurs and other food-focused people gather to share their mutual love of food and drink. There are cooking demos, activities for kids, and opportunities to buy new-to-you food products. You can sign up for a CSA share, partake in the Local Libations Lounge, and even visit the Curd Convention (it’s a convention within a convention).

This year, the Fest includes more 150 exhibitors, a chance to meet farm animals up-close, and 16 workshops in order to expand your skills. You’ll find me on the Homesteader’s Stage at 1 pm and fermentation expert Amanda Feifer will be presenting in the PF3 Kitchen at 2:05. I’ll also be around all day with books for sale and signature.

And, for industry folks who want a chance to wander before the crowds converge, there’s a VIP hour from 10-11 am that will allow you meet farmers, authors, and producers without the crush.

Tickets are available online (and kids under 12 are free!). Join us!

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