October Sponsors: Cuppow, Mason Jar reCAP, Fillmore Container, MightyNest, Mrs. Wages, Jar-Z, Fermentools, & Hobby Hill Farm

mason jar lifestyle gear

It’s the beginning of October and that means that it’s time to acknowledge and thank all the businesses who help keep the lights on over here at Food in Jars HQ. I am continually grateful for their support!

In the top spot, we’ve got Cuppow! They are the creator of the original mason jar travel mug topper and the BNTO, a small plastic cup that transforms a canning jar into a snack or lunch box. They also recently expanded their product line to include branded jar coozie and they’ve teamed up with the EIO Kids Cup folks to bring the manufacturing of that kids drinking system onto US soil.

Mason Jar reCAP is a company based right here in Pennsylvania. They are the producers of the original reCAP pour lid and have since expanded to include the reCAP Flip (check out their new glow-in-the-dark lid). Recently, they launched a Kickstarter to help fund their newest innovation, the reCAP EXPLORE. It glows and has a build-in magnification lens.

Fillmore Container is a family-owned business based in Lancaster, PA and sells all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear. They also publish a blog that is a very useful resource for canners. Recently, they wrote about knowing when to can or freeze, and posted about the new honey jars they’re carrying. Make sure to check their blog on Monday, when they launch a giveaway of Brown Eggs and Jam Jars.

MightyNest is an amazing resource for non-toxic, natural, and organic products for homes and families. Check out their new subscription program called Mighty Fix. For $10 a month, you get a reusable product and everything else you buy ships for free! Subscribe using the form in this post and get your first month free (offer good until October 10).

Mrs. Wages makes pectin, vinegar, and more canning mixes than I can count. Their website is an incredible preserving resource and I can’t say enough good things about their salsa mixSign up for their newsletter for monthly installments of canning goodness.

Jar-Z is new to the sponsorship line-up and I’m so happy to have them on board. They make neoprene cozies for jars that slip on easily, provide insulation, and offer an easy grip as well. You can order basic covers, or place a customized order for weddings, parties, and family reunions!

Fermentools offers a brilliant fermentation starter kit that involves a heavy-duty glass pickling weight, an airlock, a lid with a reusable rubber seal, and mineral-rich salt. Get one (or several!) to help turn your CSA goodies into naturally fermented pickles.

Hobby Hill Farm is another new sponsor. Based in Powhatan, Virginia, they sell locally made jams and preserves, homemade pretzels, candies, and cheese making kits. What’s more, if you’re in the area, owner Sharon regularly teaches cheese making classes around central Virginia. They’re launching a brand new website an minute now, so make sure to head over see how great it looks!

If your company or small business is interested in becoming a sponsor, you can find more details here. I offer discounts for multiple month purchases and am always happy to work with your budget.

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CSA Cooking: Fermented Hot Sauce

finished hot sauce bottled

I made my first batch of fermented hot sauce in 2012. It was one of my very earliest fermentation projects and while technically the making of it was uneventful, the finished batch was so incredibly spicy that even one drop gave me immediate heart burn. At the time, I figured that homemade hot sauce just for me and moved along.

hot sauce ingredients

Then last fall, I was visiting Alana and had a chance to taste her hot sauce. It was bright, funky, spicy,  and made everything it touched just a bit better. I decided that I’d give making my own another try when next I had the chance.

chopped peppers and garlic

Well, that chance finally came earlier this month. My September Philly Foodworks share included a pound of hot peppers and a pound of sweet. Wanting to avoid my previous error and not make a sauce that would incinerate my digestive track, it appeared to be the perfect combination of ingredients.

chopped veg in jar

I took inspiration from a number of sources for my batch. I referenced Alana’s post, took a little inspiration from Well Preserved, and also made sure to see how Amanda over at Phickle does it. (By the way, all three of those bloggers have books coming out soon. Alana’s and Amanda’s books are hitting this month. Joel and Dana’s book will be out in the spring).

finished hot sauce mash above

After reading their various techniques and mixing it up with what I generally know about fermentation, I started my batch. I chose to make a brine (1 quart filtered water and 3 tablespoons fine sea salt) rather than directly salting so that I’d end up with a goodly amount of liquid for my final puree (I like a drippy sauce rather than a chunky one).

fermented hot sauce mash

I combined the peppers (sweet and hot), a full head of garlic (peeled, of course), and a big hunk of ginger in the bowl of my food processor and pulsed until I had a relatively uniform mash. I scraped it into a half gallon jar, added the brine, popped an airlock on top, tucked it into a corner, and forgot about it for a couple weeks.

hot sauce yield

I deemed the sauce finished when it had gone from bright green to olive drab, it was super tangy, and I found myself entirely happy to sip the liquid from a spoon. I divided the sauce into two batches, ran it through the blender, and was done. While different from the sauce that inspired it, it is still bright, tangy, and so, so good.

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Giveaway: Mason Jar Lifestyle Gift Cards

mason jar lifestyle lid

Friends, let me introduce you to a website called Mason Jar Lifestyle, a one-stop shopping site for a very wide array of canning jar accessories! We truly live in the golden age for mason jar lovers.

mason jar lifestyle gear

They’ve got silicone drink lids, fruit infusers, silicone jar seals (great for those times when you want to ensure that your jars aren’t going to leak), copper regular mouth lids (fun for gifts!), and even pin cushion toppers.

straw with ridge

They carry straws of all shapes and sizes. You can get glass ones, stainless steel ones, super skinny ones, and even rounded-end straws with a little bump so that they stay put inside the drink topper. They also carry brushes designed to clean straws, so that you don’t get any funky growth.

mason jar lifestyle airlock

You’ll also find an array of useful fermentation gear available on Mason Jar Lifestyle. One particularly clever thing is that they’ve created a line of silicone toppers that work both with straws and airlocks, so you can choose how you use them. Here’s the complete fermentation kit.

mason jar lids with designs

Other cool items they have in stock are soap dispenser pumps (in so many different finishes!), wax warmers, a mason speaker for your phone, solar light inserts, and mason jar handles and caddies.

mason jar tealight holder

If some of this gear is floating your boat, and you don’t want to wait to see if you win the giveaway below, I have a couple offers for you. The first is that all Food in Jars readers can get 10% off your purchase by using the code ” jars10.” Second, shipping is free if you order more than $25 worth of gear (if your order is less than that, shipping is a flat $4).

mason jar lifestyle sticker

Now, for the giveaway. Maggie from Mason Jar Lifestyle has offered up two $25 gift cards to the site. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post, sharing a jar accessory you’d like to have.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, October 3, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, October 4, 2015.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents only (and is void where prohibited).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog.

Disclosure: I received an assortment of gear from the folks at Mason Jar Lifestyle for review and photography purposes at no cost to me. My opinions remain my own.

Links: Chocolate Applesauce Cake, Chard Stalk Hummus, and Winners

stove while canning

Last Wednesday night, just before we slipped out of town to escape the weekend of Pope-centric festivities taking over Philadelphia, I spent the evening canning (as I often do just before a trip). I canned up a roasted sungold sauce and processed some fermented hot sauce (heating it does kill all the beneficial bacteria, but I just don’t have the fridge space for half a gallon of sauce). I’ll have both those recipes for you guys this week. Now, links!

T-fal Clipso pressure cooker

Time for winners! This week, I have two giveaways to wrap up. First is the T-Fal Clipso Pressure Cooker giveaway that I posted on Monday. The winner there is #25/Jo-Ann (congratulations!).

Second up is the $100 gift certificate from The Home Depot, that was offered in conjunction with the release of all those Can-It-Forward videos last Tuesday. The winner there is #70/Nikki A. Hooray!

Thanks to all of you who took the time to enter!

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Sponsored Post: Adopt a Beehive with Cox’s Honey

Cox honey bear

Honey is magical stuff. Made by bees from nectar, enzymes, and hard work, it is wonderfully sweet, tastes of its time and place, almost never goes bad, and is even said to have healing properties. I always have a few varieties in my kitchen and use them daily to sweet preserves, enhance my tea, or mellow the sharpness of a homemade vinaigrette.

Cox creamed honey

I have always longed to have my own hive, but as an adult, have never lived in a place where it was possible (darned high rise living). As a consolation, I make a point to support the bees by buying honey raised and gathered by conscientious humans and being educated about the honey bee situation in our country.

honey from Cox

Back in the spring, I got an email from someone at Cox’s Honey, asking me if I’d like a beehive of my very own. Intrigued, I wrote back. Sadly, they hasn’t invented a hive I could attach to my 20th story window. Instead, they were inviting me to join their Beehive Adoption program.

Cox clover honey

There are four levels of beehive adoption (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum), with various price points to match. No matter what level you choose, you get a welcome kit that includes a Certificate of Adoption, the GPS location of your hive, glossy pictures of your hive and the bees, a 12 ounce honey bear and 20 ounce container of creamed honey, and 10% off all online purchase at coxshoney.com. Cox’s Honey will also donate 10% of your payment to The American Bee Federation.

bee hive pictures

You also get regular shipments of honey with your adoption. The amount depends on the level you select (bronze level memberships get 9 pounds over the course of the year, silver gets 15, gold gets 20, and platinum gets 30). You can pay in either monthly installments or in a single, monthly payment. So many options!

adoption certificate

Being the honey lover I am, I said yes to Beehive Adoption and soon after, received my first shipment of Cox’s Honey. I love using their clover honey in my preserving projects because it has a mild flavor that complements fruit incredibly well. I recently made a batch of this Pear Vanilla Drizzle sweetened with honey and it is ridiculously good.

buzzing bee pictures

I realize that for some of you, it might be too early to start thinking about this, but if you’re beginning to ponder holiday gifts, a Beehive Adoption might be just the thing for someone on your list. Bee fans and home canners alike will appreciate both the thought as well as the quarterly shipments of honey!

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this post, the folks at Cox’s Honey enrolled me in their Beehive Adoption program at the platinum level, which has a value of $270. However, my thoughts and opinions remain my own.

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Cookbooks: The Canning Kitchen, Preserving, Preservation Society Home Preserves, and Preserving the Japanese Way

stack of four 2015 preserving books

One of the things I find intriguing is that when I’m deep in the process of writing a book, I have a very hard time digging into cookbooks by other authors. I’m not sure if it’s fear of inadvertently borrowing a line or concept, or if it’s simply that my brain is so entrenched in my own ideas that there’s no room for others.

Whatever the reason, over the last six months I’ve really struggled to engage with new cookbooks. However, as I come to the end of the editing process with Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, I’m suddenly once again hungry for the words and recipes of others. These four preserving books have all come out during this foggy period of mine, and now that I’m seeing more clearly, I’m so delighted by them. I think you’ll be as well.

The Canning Kitchen

The Canning Kitchen by fellow blogger Amy Bronee, came out back in May and is a sturdy paperback, filled with homey, family friendly preserves.

The book is divided by kind of preserve and includes delicious sounding things like Lemon Raspberry Jamalade (page 54), Coconut Lime Marmalade (page 93), and Chipotle Cherry Tomato Relish (page 130). Every recipe has its own picture and Amy shot all the images herself (a feat I could never dare replicate).


Preserving was originally published in France in 1948 under the title, Je Sais Faire les Conserves (I Know How to Make Preserves), by famed French food author Ginette Mathiot. The book has been updated and translated by author and food blogger Clothilde Dusoulier and is now accessible to a new generation of home cooks.

This comprehensive volume offers its readers guidance on how to dry, salt, cure, jam, confit, and otherwise put up the fruits of the growing season for the colder months. While there are some recipes that might be seen as relics of an earlier age, like the Stuffed Goose Neck (page 90), even the quickest glance through the book reminds me how much of the book’s knowledge is still relevant today.

One particularly useful technique is the one for Flattened Apples (page 220). It instructs the reader how to prepare, dry, and store whole apples, so that they can later be rehydrated and included in stews and tarts. I am confident that there are many out there in possession of an apple tree who would find it incredibly useful.

Preservation Society Home Preserves

It is always interesting to see the differences between preserving books written by home cooks and those written by folks who make a living by making jam. Preservation Society Home Preserves is a book firmly in the latter category. As far as I can tell, having a wider audience for their preserves often leads the professionals down a more varied range of culinary trails and I’m often surprised and delighted to see where those paths lead.

Written by Preservation Society founder and head preserver Camilla Wynne, this book definitely pushes well beyond the traditional array of flavor combinations and leaps right into the edible creative fray. The book features an array of intriguing things, including Fig Jam with Secrets (page 22), Sea Buckthorn Jelly (page 68), pickled Maple Chile Onions (page 117), and Pickled Raisins (page 118).

Another nice element of this book is that it includes a small section towards the back that offers insight into how Camilla likes to put her preserves to use. Onion Jam Poutine, anyone?

Preserving the Japanese Way

Last up in the stack of books is the beautiful and immersive Preserving the Japanese Way, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu. Nancy is a native Californian who married a Japanese farmer and has spent the last two and a half decades living, raising children, and feeding a family in rural Japan.

Over her years in Japan, Nancy has made a point to learn many of the traditional making and preserving skills, both to preserve the knowledge and because the resulting sauces, pickles, pastes, and other preserves are so much more flavorful and delicious.

As I type these words, I feel like I’m only just skating around the edges of this book, as it is a huge volume, both in the number of pages and in the sheer mass of information it offers. When I approach it, I feel much the same as I do when I open one of Sandor Katz’s books. I know that I can dip in and find the information I need to proceed in that moment, but that the words and concepts on the page deserve more than a quick visit. I look forward to finding the time to dive more deeply into this one.

Disclosure: I received copies of The Canning Kitchen, Preserving, and Preservation Society Home Preserves for review. Preserving the Japanese Way, I bought.

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