Links: Jar Jewelry, Links, and a Winner

Jar jewelry. It was only a matter of time.

On Friday night, I found myself in a Jo-Ann craft store. In need of a hobby beyond staring at my computer, I’ve recently started knitting (with lots of help from Knit Camp) and so wanted to pick up a few more sets of needles. However, I never leave a store like that without checking to see what they have in their jar section.

Normally, it’s just a few smooth-sided jars for crafting, but in this particular store, there was a whole quarter aisle devoted to a thing they’re calling “Jar Jewelry.” There were decorative lids (designed to sit on top of regular lids), chalkboard labels, and other little bits. I found some of it kind of charming, but the sets were small and quite pricy. I’m curious what you guys think about the idea of jar jewelry?

Now, links!

GIR spatulas

GIR spatula Many thanks to everyone who took the time to enter last week’s GIR spatula giveaway and share an update on their 2014 so far. Our winner is #230/Claire who said, “We have spent much of 2014 working on kitchen reno designs – so, 2014 has been SO MUCH FUN!”

I’ll have another fun giveaway for you guys tomorrow that I think you’ll like. Stay tuned!

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Photos from the Food in Jars Flickr Pool

Each Saturday, I dig through the Food in Jars Flickr pool and feature some of your photographs here in this space. If you’d like to see your hard work on the blog, please add your images to the group! And just so you know, Instagram and camera phone images are more than welcome. Here are this week’s selections.

Cinnamon Whiskey Jelly

Cinnamon whiskey jelly from Erin (she writes the blog Putting Up With Erin). It’s a combination of apple cider, bourbon, and cinnamon sticks and I only wish I could say that I’d thought of it first. I can’t stop imagining it with a sliver of crumbly, aged cheddar cheese.

365.25 - No more hiding under the bed.

I am just a little bit jealous of Melissa (who is also known as The Boastful Baker). She finally has a pantry big enough for her homemade preserves. Mine still live in random closets and under our bed.

apricot honey jam.

A gift of gorgeously hued apricot honey jam from Mostly Foodstuffs blogger Deena, to Cakewalk blogger Rebecca. I love what a small world it becomes thanks to the internet.


Here’s a flashback to late summer tomatoes thanks to Christina of My Homespun Home. I’m about halfway through my own stash of tomatoes right now. How are the rest of you holding up with your home canned staples?

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Canning 101 + The New to Canning Series

jar lifter

A big part of my mission with this website it to help teach people how to can and demystify the process. That’s why you don’t just see me posting recipes and pretty pictures. Fairly frequently, I try to get down into the nitty gritty of canning and shine some light on the hows and whys.

Over the years, I’ve created two series that have attempted to create this space for food preservation education. The first was Canning 101 (which launched in 2010 with this post), which has been my catch-all for the minutia of canning. I’ve covered everything from how to loosen stuck rings to what to do if a jar breaks in the canner under that heading (all the Canning 101 posts can be found here).

The second series was the one I started last summer, under the name New to Canning? Start Here! I wrote two posts and then promptly got lost in book edits, classes, and the height of the canning season.

I want to bring back more of these education focused posts, but I need some suggestions. What are the topics you’d like to see me cover? What are your burning questions? Is there a canning term that needs more explanation? The comment box is officially open (though really, when does it ever close. This is the internet, after all) and I want to hear from you!

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Giveaway: Set of Three GIR Silicone Spatulas

GIR spatulas

When I was growing up, one of the staple tools in our kitchen was the trusty rubber-headed spatula. Known to us as a rubber scraper, it was my mother’s go-to utensil for cleaning bowls of cookie dough, saving every drop of leftover spaghetti sauce, and generally ensuring that not a drop of food was wasted.

However, those scrapers we used to use had some serious drawbacks. The rubber heads never lasted particularly long, they weren’t particularly sturdy in high temperature situations, and they had to be removed from the wooden handles all the time to prevent any grossness from collecting under there.

Happily, the flexible spatula has come a very long way in recent years. They nearly all have heatproof heads and my favorite ones are the fully encased silicone models where the heads don’t separate from the handle. I find that they last a whole lot longer than the previous generations, and I love that they can go in the dishwasher.

One company that’s making particularly awesome spatulas these days is GIR. They are made from food-safe silicone with a polymer core. They are heat proof up to 464 degrees F and are really great for stirring simmering batches of jams and jellies.

Thanks to the nice folks at GIR, I have a set of three spatulas (the mini, the skinny, and the ultimate) to give away today. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me show 2014 is treating you so far.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, January 25, 2014. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, January 26, 2014.
  3. Giveaway is open to everyone.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post. I can not accept submissions via email.

Photos From the Food in Jars Flickr Pool

Each Saturday, I dig through the Food in Jars Flickr pool and feature some of your photographs here in this space. If you’d like to see your hard work on the blog, please add your images to the group! Here are this week’s selections.

sauce day

For all of those in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s tomato season. Ock Du Spock has shared some photos of canning tomatoes in jars that once belonged to her grandparents.

Pickled Ginger

Elsewhere in the world, there is ginger to be pickled. Katvanb did a nice batch back in late summer, with a small slice of red beet to add color.


Pretty pickled peppers from Erin.

this summer's pickle project

Emily from Relishments made a whole heck of a lot of pickles this summer and managed to line them all up for a picture. Here’s hoping those will keep you in pickles for the year!


Susan made some asian pear butter that looks pretty darn lovely on that toast!

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Physical Copies of Preserving by the Pint

Preserving by the Pint

I got back to Philadelphia earlier this afternoon after a week spent hanging out with my sister and her family in Austin (it was a magically good trip and I miss my nephew like a pain). I’d been home for all of fifteen minutes when I headed out again to swing by my editor’s office. Kristen had emailed on Monday to say that she had a few copies of the new book in. I’d been itching for days to see it in person and couldn’t wait any more.

Last time, when I got that first copy of a book I’d written in my hands, I swore like Tony Soprano for a full five minutes. Kristen had to pull me into her office and shut the door to contain my salty words. This time, I didn’t feel moved to let loose a streak of colorful verbiage. Instead, I held it in my hands and felt deeply satisfied.

One of the things I’ve learned over the past few years is that when you write a cookbook, you are capturing a moment in time. Kitchen habits and preserving practices naturally evolve and so as perfect a technique as an author thought they were sharing, it may not remain their preferred approach for all time. I already do a number of things differently now than I did when I wrote Food in Jars*. And while I know my ways of being will continue to develop, I really, really love the moment in time that I caught for Preserving by the Pint. I hope you all will too.

Oh, and just so you know, this book will be officially available on March 25. It’s available for pre-order at Amazon, Powell’s, Barnes and Noble, Indigo, and your local, independent bookseller.

*For example, I don’t use a thermometer nearly as much as I once did to determine the doneness of jam. I rely far more on how it looks and sounds these days.


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