Cookbooks: The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How

Kitchen Know-How Cover - Food in Jars

I have been a fan of Andrea Chesman’s work for a very, very long time. The author of more than 20 book, her Pickles & Relishes was one of the first canning books I bought when I started down this path nearly a decade ago and I consider The Pickled Pantry one of the best volumes on home pickling out there.

Kitchen Know-How Contents - Food in Jars

I had the good fortune to meet Andrea last year at the IACP annual conference and I was delighted when she told me that she had another book in the works. Called The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How, it is an incredibly comprehensive guide to cooking, canning, home dairy, freezing, curing, fermenting, dehydrating, and more.

Kitchen Know-How Equipment - Food in Jars

The book is divided into three large chunks of information. The first is called Getting the Most from Fresh Food and contains information about setting up your kitchen (including Andrea’s recommendations for the sturdiest and most durable equipment), how to harvest, handle, and cook fresh produce, how to store grains and beans, what to do with eggs, tips on butchering poultry and rabbits, how to make the most of fresh milk, and how to label, store, and use goat, lamb, pork, and beef.

Kitchen Know-How Freezing - Food in Jars

The second part of the book is called simple Food Preservation, and it offers detail on cold storage, freezing, canning (both boiling water and pressure), drying, pickling, the making of fruit preserves, culturing milk, and curing meats and sausages. I particularly like her essay on pages 227 and 228 entitled, “Strong Opinions about Pectin.” I have similarly strong opinions on the topic.

Kitchen Know-How Homestead Cooking - Food in Jars

Part three is called Homestead Cooking and is a treasury of recipes, preparations, and suggestions for how to cook, bake, simmer, and stew the fruits of your homestead into appealing meals and treats. What I most like about this section is that Andrea repeatedly encourages her readers to use these recipes as nothing more than a starting place and that they are there to be adapted and personalized depending on the ingredients you have.

Kitchen Know-How Back - Food in Jars

Andrea has poured her years of culinary experience into this book. It’s one that any home cook looking to stretch seasonal produce and make the most of the food coming forth from their homestead, garden, or farmers market will value. I highly recommend it!

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Giveaway: Canning Ladle and Paring Knives from Villagers

Villagers Giveaway Set - Food in Jars

Two years ago, during the book tour for Preserving by the Pint, I spent just over a day in Asheville, NC (I so wish it could have been longer!). While there, I had the good fortune to do a canning demo and book signing at a urban homestead supply shop called Villagers.

jars at Villagers

This wonderful business, founded by former Philadelphian Natalie Pollard, is a terrific resource for anyone looking to get both tools and knowledge necessary to can, ferment, garden, keep chickens, and more. I knew immediately that if I lived in Asheville, I’d be a regular customer.

Opinel Paring Knives - Food in Jars

Recently, a member of Natalie’s staff got in touch, asking if I might like to feature one or two tools from the shop on the blog as part of a giveaway. I said yes immediately, because I believe that more people should know about the goodness that is Villagers (truly, I meant to write a post two years ago to tell you about this magical space).

Villagers Ladle - Food in Jars

Soon after, I received a carefully wrapped package that contained a pair of sturdy Opinel paring knives and the best canning ladle I’ve ever held (it fills a half pint jar perfectly). These little knives have already gone into heavy rotation and the ladle is now the favorite tool in my kitchen for scooping soups and filling jars.

One lucky winner will get the same pairing of knives and ladle. Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Links: Beyond Canning, Compound Butters, and Winners

Happy Easter, friends! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. We’ve had a busy one, cleaning out Scott’s mom’s apartment and making space in our little apartment for some of her things. It’s also my last weekend at home before I hit the road for my west coast book tour, so I’ve been trying to squeeze in some errands before I leave. It’s been busy! Now, links!

Three Round Jam Jars Fillmore - Food in Jars

The winners in last week’s Jam Jar giveaway (sponsored by Fillmore Container) are #247/Nickolina, #301/Kathy, and #506/Katie Cleveland. I’ll be in touch with the winners soon!

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Meyer Lemon Lavender Jam

Meyer Lemon Jam Tower - Food in Jars

Oh friends. I meant to post this recipe weeks ago, but with the intensity and chaos of life lately, it got lost in the shuffle. We’re getting late in the season for Meyer lemons, but if you’re motivated, you should be able to find a few for this jam. If you’re in Philly, know that Sue’s Produce has them (for $4 a pound, but still).

Trimmed Lemons in Pot - Food in Jars

I made my first whole fruit citrus jam a few years ago, and continue to love it as an alternative to marmalade. You get all the zippy tang and flavor, without the hours of chopping and mincing (though if you love marmalade for it’s texture, this is no substitute).

Meyer Lemon Jam Jars - Food in Jars

To prep, you wash and trim the fruit. Layer it in a pot large enough to hold the fruit in a single layer and run enough water in to just cover the fruit. Set the pot on the stove, put a lid on it, and simmer the fruit for about 20 minutes, until the lemons are tender, but not falling apart.

Once they’re cool, you cut the fruit in half, scoop out the seeds over a sieve, puree the fruit, and cook it down with sugar and flavorings. In this case, I infused the fruit with some dried lavender, but I’ve been pondering a batch spiked with chiles.

Dozen Meyer Lemon Jam - Food in Jars

The applications for a jam like this vary. I’ve had great success pairing it with fresh, creamy cheeses like ricotta or farmers. If you leave it a little bit runny, a drizzle into a bowl of yogurt, fruit, and granola is terrific. It can also be used to lend acid and sweetness to stir-fried chicken or shrimp. Heck, if you left the lavender out, I can see it being a delicious dipping sauce for homemade chicken fingers.

On the beverage side, you could stir a spoonful into a mug of hot water when your throat is scratchy. Or use some in a hot toddy in place of honey. There are just so many options.

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Giveaway: Round Collection Elite Jam Jars (sponsored by Fillmore Container)

Round Jam Jars Tower Fillmore - Food in Jars

Happy March 22, everyone! For most of you, this is just another ordinary Tuesday, but for me, it’s the official publication day for my new book-baby, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars (I know, it’s been shipping for the last two weeks. But now, there’s no denying it. The book is out there).

In celebration, I’ve teamed up with my friends at Fillmore Container for a little pub day giveaway. I’m hosting a giveaway over here and they’re also hosting another giveaway over on their blog (along with a sneak peek at one of the recipes from the new book).

Three Round Jam Jars Fillmore - Food in Jars

Last week, when I gave away that giant bundle of Ball Canning gear, many of you mentioned how happy you were to see that they’d brought back the classic, rounded half pint jam jar. These fruit embossed jars are often a favorite with long-time canners and it was popular demand that’s brought them back into production.

I had a feeling that these jars would tickle your collective fancy and so when Fillmore asked me what I thought my giveaway should include, I just knew that these were the ones to feature.

Round Jam Jars Fillmore - Food in Jars

These round jam jars hold 8 ounces and are the perfect vessel for jams, relishes, chutneys, and truly any preserve that you want to dress up a little bit more. This week, I have three boxes of these jars to give away to three winners (each box contains four jars). Over on the Fillmore Container blog, one lucky winner will get a copy of my new book, 2 cases of Orchard Road (both pints and half pints), a case of fruited jam jars, 2 Storage iLIDS, 2 reCap Flip Caps, 2 Packs of Pomona’s Pectin. It’s quite a prize package!

Here’s how to enter my end of the giveaway:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite preserve of 2015 was.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, March 26, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, March 27, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States only (so sorry!). Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Click here to enter the Fillmore Container giveaway! 

Disclosure: Fillmore Container is the sponsor of this giveaway. They provided the jam jars you see pictured above, and are also providing the ones for the giveaway, both at no cost to me. They are a Food in Jars sponsor, so they contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of this site. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars Book Tour – West Coast Edition

Book Larder Windows

Friends! My new book officially comes out tomorrow (though in reality, it’s been shipping for the last two weeks), and so I thought it was high time to walk through the details for the first installment my west coast book tour (I’ll be doing a second swing in September). It starts on April 6 and runs through April 20. Please do sign up for the classes, mark your calendars for the free events, and come out to say hi!

Wednesday, April 6 (Los Angeles)
I’ll be in Santa Monica, at the Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories, for a farmers market walk, with a canning demo and tasting to follow. We’ll meet at 9 am at 3rd Street and Arizona. This event is free, but requires registration in advance.

Saturday, April 9 (Santa Cruz)
I’ll be at Chefworks (1527 Pacific Avenue) from 1-4 pm, demonstrating recipes from the new book and signing any books purchases. This event is free.

Monday, April 11 (Half Moon Bay)
Come see me at the New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay (150 San Mateo Road) starting at 4 pm for a canning demo and book signing. No pre-registration is required and it’s a free event.

Tuesday, April 12 (San Francisco)
I’ll be at 18 Reasons (3674 18th Street), co-teaching a canning class with the delightful Shakirah Simley, Canner-in-Residence for the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses. We’ll make two recipes from my new book, and there will be a goodly amount of hands on involvement. The class starts at 6:30 pm and costs $55-65. Register here.

Wednesday, April 13 (San Francisco)
I’ll be at Omnivore Books (3885 Cesar Chavez Street) at 6:30 pm, demoing a half batch of strawberry cocoa jam, and signing books. There will be samples and they will be delicious.

Thursday, April 14 (Berkeley)
Join me for a Meet and Greet at Books Inc. (1491 Shattuck Avenue) in Berkeley. We’ll have jam samples for tasting and I’ll be available from 3:30 until 5:30 to answer all canning questions.

Friday, April 15 (SW Portland)
Come out for a demo-style class at The Cakery (6306 SW Capitol Highway), from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. The $30 cost of the event includes a copy of Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. Sign up by calling 503-546-3737.

Saturday, April 16 (Beaverton)
You’ll find me at the Beaverton Farmers Market (12375 SW 5th Street) from 10 am to 1 pm. I’ll be demoing continually and will have books on hand for sale and signature.

Saturday, April 16 (SE Portland)
Later that same day, join me for a hands-on natural sweeteners canning class at Portland Homestead Supply from 3-5 pm. The class costs $45 and you can register here.

Sunday, April 17 (Eugene)
At 11 am, you’ll find me at Down to Earth’s Olive Street (532 Olive Street) location for a canning demo and book signing. It’s a free event and a good time will be had by all.

Sunday, April 17 (Portland)
That evening at 7:30 pm, I’ll be at the main location of Powell’s Books (it’s something of a dream come true), having a conversation with fellow food writer Ivy Manning. There will be a book signing to follow. More details here.

Monday, April 18 (Abbotsford, BC)
Next, a leap to the north. I’ll be teaching a canning class at Lepp Farm Market (33955 Clayburn Road) from 7 to 9:30 pm. This class costs $77 (which includes a copy of the book) and you can register here.

Tuesday, April 19 (Seattle)
I’m returning to The Pantry at Delancey (1417 NW 70th Street) for a canning class focused on natural sweeteners. We’ll make four recipes from the book, and everyone will go home with a jar or two of freshly made preserves. The class is from 6:30 to 9:30 pm and costs $85. Register here.

Wednesday, April 20 (Seattle)
I’ll be at the Book Larder (4252 Fremont Ave. N) in Seattle from 6:30-8 pm demonstrating a half batch of the strawberry cocoa jam from the new the book and signing as many copies as I can. The event is free, but they ask that you RSVP using the form at the bottom of this page.

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