Quart Jar Cabbage and Carrot Kraut

Three ingredient cabbage and carrot kraut is an easy and delicious ferment for beginners and seasoned picklers alike. Try it with scrambled eggs!

finished cabbage and carrot kraut

I learned to make sauerkraut nearly a decade ago on a episode of Fork You (an online cooking show that my husband and I used to make. The website still lives, but after a long-ago hack, there’s not much there). Since then, it’s rare that I don’t have a jar in the fridge or bubbling away on the countertop (often, I have both).

shredded cabbage and carrots for kraut

Back in my early kraut making days, I made lots of different kinds. I’d use spices. I’d add fresh herbs. But there was always one variety I came back to. Cabbage and carrot kraut.

massaged cabbage and carrots for kraut

A couple of years ago, I gave up on the fancy krauts and accepted the fact that this is my house version. It’s the one that I like best and happily eat with eggs, tucked into sandwiches, and with turkey kielbasa.

top of cabbage and carrot kraut

I make one quart jar at a time, because I don’t want to devote my whole fridge to the endeavor. I combine three parts shredded cabbage with one part grated carrot, add a bit of salt, massage it until it releases a bunch of liquid, and pack it into a jar.

cabbage and carrot kraut in a jar

Weigh it down with one of these glass pickle pebbles from Masontops, set the jar on a saucer and cover it with a small kitchen cloth, held in place with a rubber band. Then I wait about a week, until it’s tangy and bright. Into the fridge the jar goes, ready to be eaten.

top of finished cabbage and carrot kraut

Occasionally, I do make a plain batch or one threaded with fennel fronds, but this particular version forever has my heart.

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Cookbooks: Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti

preserving-italy-cover

Over the last several months, I have done a truly terrible job sharing the wonderful preserving books that have been published recently. I’m going to try to do a better job, because there are some exceptional new books out there that you should be checking out of the library and putting on your holiday wish lists.

preserving-italy-infused-oils

First among these excellent books is Domenica Marchetti’s Preserving Italy. Focused on preserving food in the traditional Italian style, this gorgeous paperback neatly fills a void in the canon of food preservation writing. I often get questions from people wanting to preserve tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and garlic in the same manner as their grandparents once did, and this book deals with all of those topics (as well as many more).

preserving-italy-quince-jelly

The recipes are divided up into eight sections. They deal with foods preserved in oil, food preserved in vinegar, sweet preserves, tomatoes and sauces, infused oils and vinegars, fresh cheeses and basic cured meats, syrups and boozy things, and confections. In addition to the recipes focused on preserving, Domenica also tucks recipes into each chapter that are designed to help you use what you’ve preserved.

preserving-italy-vinegar

One of the things that I most appreciate about this book is that fact that it balances tradition with safety. Domenica includes a section on pressure canning and addresses the issues that exist when you preserve foods in oil (the start of that section includes some safety tips that should be required reading for anyone thinking about using this method of preservation).

preserving-italy-back-cover

As we head into the holiday season, this becomes an even more vital addition to our collective food preservation libraries. I am considering making a batch of the Coffee Cream Liqueur for gift giving and the Pear Mostarda would be so fabulous for a New Year’s Eve cheese board.

If you haven’t checked this book out yet, please do! It’s very much worth your time!

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Odds and Ends Banana Bread

brown-bananas

I think we can all agree that this has been the most divisive election cycles in recent memory. I don’t typically talk about politics here because my goal is always to foster a sense of community and connection that transcends party affiliations, religious convictions, and ideological differences. I firmly believe that creating spaces where diverse people can connect around shared interests is one of the ways that we can foster peace and hope in the world.

banana-bread-in-loaf-pan

But my candidate lost and her defeat has left me seeking solace in friends and homemade food. Yesterday, I had coffee with a friend, took a walk, and made a big pot of chicken soup for dinner that Scott and I ate in our pajamas while watching The Crown on Netflix.

sliced-banana-bread

Today, I made some banana bread. The goal here was to salvage three aging bananas, use up a bit of almond meal I had kicking around, and to fill the apartment with warmth and fragrance. May we burst our bubbles of isolation, break bread together, and remember that more unites us than divides us.

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American Lifestyle Magazine + Food in Jars

american-lifestyle-food-in-jars-cover

Back in June, I spent a couple of days filming a pair of videos with a team from American Lifestyle Magazine, to compliment a story they were writing about Naturally Sweet Food in Jars and me. The issue containing the story is now available and so I thought it was high time to share the videos we made that day. I hope you enjoy them (and that they help take your mind off the stress of Election Day, if only for a moment or two).

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Giveaway: Lids and Jar Sleeves from Intelligent Lids

Looking for storage lids that are liquid and air tight? Want a one-piece drink lid for your mason jar? In need of a cute, waste-free jar sleeves in which to wrap your jars for giving? Look no further than Intelligent Lids!

intelligent-lids-new-packaging

Back in the days when I worked in an office, I transported a lot of my food to work in mason jars. I’d pack yogurt and jam in a wide mouth half pint. I’d have my coffee in the three-cup capacity pint & half. And my lunchtime soup would be in a regular mouth pint (I always kept a bowl at my desk, into which I’d decant the soup for the microwave).

intelligent-lid-jar-sleeves-label

There were two primary challenges to all these jars. The first was that options for one-piece lids that didn’t leak were scarce. The second was that I had to carefully wrap my jars in dish towels to keep them upright and unbroken in my lunch bag (the totes from A Tiny Forest would have been so useful back then).

Colorful fabric jar sleeves from Intelligent Lids

Happily, there are so many more options for jar lids and sleeves these days. Some of the best are coming from the folks at Intelligent Lids in Seattle. They make one-piece drink and storage lids, and just recently added a line of colorful, fabric jar sleeves to their product line (they’re not up on the website yet, but should be soon!).

Drink lid from Intelligent Lids on a wide mouth pint jar

The drink lids have a slider so that you can open and close the opening. The one-piece storage lids are truly liquid and air tight. They are my preferred storage lids for things that absolutely cannot leak or get stale. Plus, they come in an array of bright colors, which I really enjoy.

The jar sleeves are designed as a fabric bag that cinches at the top, so that they’ll fit both regular and wide mouth jars. In addition serving as insulator, breakage preventer, or hand protector, you can also use them as a cute, waste-free wrapping for jars that you’re giving as a gift.

intelligent-lid-jar-sleeves

For this week’s giveaway, I have two lid and sleeve sets from the folks at Intelligent Lids to share with you guys. Each set includes a drink lid, a storage lid, and a sleeve. The winners will get to choose between regular and wide mouth lids, and pint or quart sized sleeves.

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Disclosure: Intelligent Lids sent me the product you see pictured here. All opinions expressed remain entirely my own.

Roasted Quince Butter with Warm Winter Spices

A small batch of sugar-sweetened roasted quince butter is a tasty preserve for the fall canning kitchen.

five half pints of roasted quince butter

Back in September when I was in Portland, my mom and I drove out to Sauvie Island for a picnic and a walk. The day was crisp and sunny, and we both felt buoyant and energized by the gloriousness of the day. After we’d eaten, we went for a wander around the antique apple orchard at the old Bybee-Howell House.

A maintenance worker was there raking up the fallen apples. We asked if we could gather a few of the windfalls that were still in good shape (as we’ve been doing for years) and were told that they were headed for the compost and to help ourselves. I filled a bag with bruised but flavorful fruit and was entirely satisfied with my haul until I spotted a single quince laying on the ground amidst the apples.

The blossom end of quince for roasted quince butter

The game had gotten real. I love quince. And this year, they’ve been particularly hard to come by on the East Coast, in large part thanks to the wonky weather we had earlier in the season. So finding untended and unappreciated source for quince was a thrill. My scavenging went from casual stroll to focused searching and my determination paid off.

I finally found the single quince tree. There was a bounty of quince on the ground and I picked up every single one worth salvaging. While I was still in Portland, I made a batch of apple and roasted quince butter, using all the apples and the about half the quince (all that wouldn’t travel well). The rest of the quince? I bagged it up and brought it back to Philly with me for a batch of roasted quince butter.

five quince in a baking pan for roasted quince butter

Because quince is incredibly dense and unyielding when raw, I bake it until soft before I try do anything with it. This step doesn’t fully cook the fruit, it just softens it enough that you can cut into it without fear that the knife will bounce and slice your finger instead. It’s not the right approach if you want to make jelly with it, but it’s wonderful if you are planning to make jam, butter, paste or chutney.

Once it cools down from the oven, I cut away any remnants of the blossom, cut the quince into eighths, dump it into a saucepan, and simmer it with water until tender. Finally, I fit a food mill with its finest screen and push the cooked quince through. When that’s done, you’re left with a dense, fragrant, tart puree that is ready to be cooked, sweetened, and spiced into the preserve of your liking.

a close up of jars of roasted quince butter

For this batch, I opted to sweetened with sugar and spice with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. It is fragrant, smooth, and spreadable. I really like to spread a thin layer on a slice of craggy toasted sourdough and then top it with whispers of a well-aged farmhouse cheddar. Paired with a mug of tea, it’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up (and makes me feel like perhaps I’m traveling in time to a less complicated era).

How have you been preserving quince this season?

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