Cookbooks: Put ‘em Up Fruit + Giveaway

Put 'em Up Fruit cover

Oh friends, I am very excited to share this book with you! It’s Sherri Brooks Vinton’s newest work and I have a feeling you are going to love it. Called Put ‘em Up! Fruit, it is filled with recipes on how to preserve fruit and then use up those preserves. If you’ve ever wondered what to do with your jams or chutneys once you’ve made them, this is the book for you.

Put 'em Up Fruit spine

I have long recommended Sherri’s first book (Put ‘Em Up) to people looking for a comprehensive canning book and I’m happy to find that this new edition is equally useful. The first 40 pages of the book are devoted to setting canners up for success.

There are tips on kinds of fruit that work best for preserving, a definition of terms, detailed information on pectin, a primer on achieving set for jams and, of course, everything you need to know about safely canning your food.

Put 'em Up Fruit introduction

From there, Sherri moves her readers into the recipes. These are organized alphabetically by kind of fruit (it starts with apples and ends with tomatoes). Within each section, there are both recipes for preserves using that fruit and recipes that help you use up that preserve.

This means that the recipe for Classic Cherry Jam is nestled up against a matching one for Sautéed Duck Breast with Cherry Reduction and the Dried Apricots (done in the oven) are paired with Wild Rice Salad that features dried fruit.

Put 'em Up Fruit cherry ancho chili jam

I’m looking forward to cherry season, so that I can make the Cherry Ancho Chile Jam and the Pulled Pork Tacos that feature that preserve! Sherri has made several videos to go along with this book. They’re fun, because you get a chance to see her make a preserve and then use it right in a recipe. There’s also one there that features the basics of boiling water bath canning, which is certain to be useful to some of you.

Put 'em Up Fruit rhubarb

I am one of a number of bloggers who is going to be featuring Put ‘em Up! Fruit over the next couple weeks. Make sure to check out the rest of the folks in the coming days, to learn more about their experiences with the book and see the recipes they share.

April 9: Punk Domestics
April 10: Autumn Makes & Does
April 11: Local Kitchen
April 12: Mission: Food
April 15: What Julia Ate
April 16: Tigress in a Jam
April 17: Daily Dish Recipes
April 18: Shockingly Delicious
April 19: The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking
April 22: From Scratch Club

Put 'em Up Fruit back cover

Thanks to Storey Publishing, I have one copy of this book to give away. If you want to enter for a chance to win, here’s what you do:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share your favorite way to use a fruit preserve in a recipe.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, April 12, 2013. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog that evening.
  3. Giveaway open to US residents, only (so sorry, further-flung friends, I’m not in charge of the shipping).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.
Disclosure: Storey Publishing provided a review copy and a giveaway copy of this book at no charge to me. I was not paid to run this post or say nice things about this book, I just happen to think it’s pretty darn great. 

JarBOX Winner!


jarbox winner I got back from California earlier today and am still a bit weary from all the travel (and the fact that I managed to get either food poisoning or the stomach flu while out of town. Not fun at all). So no links this week, just a JarBOX winner! selected #495, which is Becky. She said,

I’m a candle maker who shops regularly at Fillmore Containers. My jars are stacked in the garage and come into the house a dozen at a time to be filled. Then I store them in corners of the dining and living rooms, downstairs in my son’s former room since he has moved out and anywhere else I can make some space. This looks like an amazing way to transport my candles to shows. I’ll be looking into them.

I hope you enjoy them, Becky! And again, many thanks to Fillmore Container, for sponsoring the JarBOX giveaway.

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Homemade Toasted Trail Mix


I’ve had some particularly bad flight luck in the last couple years and on multiple occasions, have found myself stuck on a grounded plane for hours at a time. Since learning that flight times are really nothing more than suggestions, I now always make sure to pack a snack or two to ward off the worst hunger pangs.

I’m headed out of town tomorrow for a quick trip to the California (disclosure! It’s a press trip to learn more about Driscoll’s berries. I’ll have lots of details to share when I get back) and as I was packing today, realized that I needed to procure a snack for the trip.


My regular travel snack is a bag of trail mix from Trader Joe’s. I had been planning on dashing over to my local TJ’s earlier today to pick something up, when I realized that given the ingredients in my kitchen, I could easily toss something together myself.

Isn’t it funny that I make so many things from scratch but somehow had never made up a batch of trail mix? It’s essentially just fruit and nuts. It’s ridiculously simple and I feel a little foolish for not making it on my own sooner.

dried fruit

I had four kind of nuts and seeds in my kitchen and so added 1/2 a cup each of almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and cashews. I toasted them briefly at 350 degrees F and then let them cool. While they were coming back to room temperature, I pulled out the sweet options and ended up adding dried apricots, raisins, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, shaved coconut, and some chopped bittersweet chocolate.

finished trail mix

Once the nuts were cool (though I discovered that I didn’t let them cool quite enough and so ended up with melted chocolate streaked across the cashews), I tossed everything together and messily poured it into a zip top bag. Now, if I were making this for home use, I’d certainly stash it in a jar. But for air travel, the plastic bag rules.

What’s your go-to travel snack?

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Giveaway: The JarBOX (sponsored by Fillmore Container)


Once you start collecting jars and canning, you will eventually face the issue of storage. Do you build shelves or rely on boxes? If you have a basement, do you carve a section out for canned good storage? If the jars are tucked away, how to do you deal with the issue of out of sight, out of mind? What’s the best way to prevent breakage (particularly if you live in earthquake-prone areas)? There are so many questions and no one perfect solution.

JarBOX from above

Happily, there’s a relatively new product out there that can help answer some of these questions and might just make things a little bit easier on the storage front. Called the JarBOX, it’s a plastic container designed to snugly hold a dozen jars. It was designed by a home canner who was tired of having multiple jars break in a box when bumped or displaced (there’s a video on the JarBOX home page that shows off its many virtues).

They are sold in sets of two and snap together to create a sturdy, stackable home for jars. Once snapped together, the JarBOXes can be stacked, transported, or slid into tight corners for easy storage. It’s more than a little brilliant, if you ask me.  Currently, the JarBOX is only available for quart jars, but according to the website, a pint-sized version is coming later this year.

closed JarBOX

At the moment, I have two sets of the JarBOX and am using them as single jar trays as opposed to snapping them together. I put the jars in them upside down (to keep them from turning into dust collectors) and slide them under our bed. In our small apartment, this has freed up a huge amount of shelf space without making it hard for me to access these jars when I need them.

upside down jars in a JarBOX

Thanks to my friends over at Fillmore Container, I have one JarBOX set to give away this week. If you want to throw your hat into the ring, here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share how you currently store your jars and home canning.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, April 5, 2013. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog that evening.
  3. Giveaway open to US residents, only (so sorry, further-flung friends).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.
Disclosure: Fillmore Container sent me two sets of the JarBOX for review and photography purposes. My opinions remain my own. 

Links: Thumbprint Cookies and a Breakfast for Dinner Winner


Just a few links tonight and the Breakfast for Dinner winner. I continue to make steady book writing progress, though I found myself possessed with the need to step away from the computer today in order to sort, clean, and purge instead. Our closets and bookcases look much roomier and more organized, but it didn’t do much for my word count.

Breakfast for Dinner
BFD winner So many thanks to everyone who jumped in and got on board my speedy weekend giveaway. I got a kick reading about all your favorite breakfast foods to eat for dinner!

Our winner is #3, Krisann. She wrote, “The best breakfast for dinner has got to be Waffle Wraps. Basically, picture a breakfast burrito. Now it’s a breakfast taco. Now it’s in a waffle instead of a tortilla. You’re welcome.”

Krisann, that’s brilliant. I have homemade waffles in my fridge and I WILL be making that soon.

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Tomato Mango Jam + Breakfast for Dinner Giveaway

Breakfast for Dinner

I have had a copy of Breakfast for Dinner by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth on my stack of cookbooks for eight weeks now (I know exactly how long its been because I posted a photo of the book to Instagram the day it arrived). I’ve long been a fan of eating delicious breakfast foods for my evening meal, so I couldn’t wait to take this one for a spin. I flipped through soon after it arrived and tucked a handful of sticky notes onto its pages, marking things I hoped to make.

tomato peach jam

For the last two months, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve plucked it off the pile with the intention of making something before being sidetracked by some other task (being in the midst of a giant writing project will do that). However, earlier today the stars aligned for me to try one of the jam recipes in the book. I had ripe tomatoes leftover from recipe testing and enough time to try a batch of the tomato peach jam. I didn’t have any peaches, but I did have a couple of ripe mangos that I thought would sub in nicely.

smashing jam

I peeled 2 pounds of tomatoes using the score and blanch method and dropped them into the high-sided skillet that is one of my favorite small batch pans. I added 1 cup of chopped ripe mango (it was 1 1/2 champagne mangos), one well-chopped small, spicy red chili pepper and broke everything up with a pastry blender (a potato masher does the same job nicely).

2+ cups of tomato mango jam

I added 3/4 cup sugar (it’s a bit more than the original recipe called for, but after a taste, I determined that it needed a bit more sweetness), 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (not included in the recipe, but I wanted it to have a bit more pucker), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (those last two are also my additions). And then I cooked, stirring regularly, for about 25 minutes, until it was quite thick and spreadable. The end product is sweet, tangy and slightly spicy. I am really pleased with it!

tomato mango jam

Once the jam was done, I funneled it into jars and processed them for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. I managed to fill three half pints, though they had slightly more generous than desired headspace. If I had to do it again, I would have swapped out one of the half pint jars for a quarter pint. Hindsight.

As I’ve written this blog post, I’ve realized that I took a number of liberties with the recipe. However, the inspiration and recipe framework really do belong to Lindsay and Taylor. I never would have thought to combine tomatoes and mangos had it not been for their pairing of tomatoes and peaches. What’s more, I betcha that if it was late summer and I had sun-ripened tomatoes and peaches to work with, I wouldn’t have needed to tweak things so much to boost the flavor. I’m looking to trying this one (exactly as written!) again in August.

Thanks to the nice folks at Quirk Books, I have a copy of this book to give away. I’m doing this one as a flash giveaway over the weekend, so we’ll have a winner for this one on Sunday evening. Here are the details:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite breakfast for dinner meal.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Sunday, March 31, 2013. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog that evening.
  3. Giveaway open to all.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.
Disclosure: Quirk Books provided two copies of Breakfast for Dinner at no cost for me. My opinions remain my own.