Links: Pickling Cucumbers, Seven Day Pickles, and Winners

picking boxes

I got back to Philly last Monday morning, met Felicia Day on Tuesday (she was the keynote speaker at a conference my husband organized), dashed around on Wednesday trying to do work and then left town again on Thursday (it was a whirlwind week). The weekend of classes in Boston was terrific (thanks to everyone who came!) and now I’m home again and am scrambling to get ready for the photo shoot for the new book. Despite all the busy-ness, I managed to collect some links to share.

stack of canning towels


girlscantell winners The winners of the Girls Can Tell canning diagram towels are…

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Canning Questions, Communities, and Social Media

plate of tomatoes

We’ve hit that point of the summer when the number of canning questions arriving in my inbox each day is outstripping my ability to answer them in a timely manner. I hate that it can sometimes take me up to a week to answer your questions and so I’ve been searching around, trying to find a good solution.

It used to be that the Food in Jars Facebook page was a good way to the readers of the this site to engage with one another and get answers from a community of canners. However, Facebook has evolved in a way that has made it harder to use it in that manner.

Recently, Google Plus introduced Google Communities and it appears to be just the sort of thing I’ve been looking for. So I’ve created a little FiJ community and I’m throwing open the doors, in the hopes that it might just be a good place for ask questions, get answers, and share some favorite recipes. I’m hoping some of you will join me over there and help turn it into a vibrant place for conversation.

While we’re talking social media, don’t forget that you can also find me on FlickrTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Tumblr if you’re so inclined.

Finally, I’m headed to Boston tomorrow for three classes and a canning demo. There are still spots available in my dilly bean class tomorrow night (6-8 pm) at MassHORT as well as my Saturday morning jam and pickle class at Create a Cook. For those of you on a budget, I’m doing a free demo on Friday afternoon at  at the Hudson Public Library in Hudson, MA. The demo starts at 2 pm.

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Sweet and Sour Cherry Jam

sweet and sour cherry jam

Sour cherries have long been one of my favorite fruits for preserving. I mostly missed the season last year and so spent much of late June and early July this year trying to make up for my lackluster show in 2012. I picked at least 15 pounds on my own and when that didn’t prove to be quite enough, I bought a flat from Three Springs Fruit Farms.

Towards the end of my sour cherry extravaganza, I found myself with both sweet and sour cherries. I could have made a duo of small batches of jam, but instead decided to combine them for a sweet and tart preserve. I used a lower than usual (for me) amount of sugar and turned to Pomona’s Pectin to help me out in the set department. The finished jam has much of the sour cherries tangy bite, but with the deep richness of the sweets. I am very happy with the result.

jar cherry pitter

I realize that cherry season is rapidly drawing to a close throughout the country, but I wanted to get this one published to the blog in the hopes that maybe it will still be of use to some of you. Plus, I want to remember it for next year, as it’s a recipe truly worth repeating.

Speaking of cherries, the folks at Fillmore Container are hosting a giveaway this week, featuring this fun cherry pitter and one of the new blue heritage Ball jars. It screws on to a regular mouth mason jar and catches the cherry pits there (perfect if you want to use them for an infusion project). To throw your hat in the ring for a chance at it, head over to their blog.

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Giveaway: Canning Diagram Tea Towels from Girls Can Tell

stack of canning towels

More than four years ago, when this blog was just a wee sprout, I helped my friend Sara Selepouchin Villari (she’s the owner and illustrator of Girls Can Tell) brainstorm the best way to capture the bits and pieces of a canning kit in diagram form. We met for coffee, I described how everything was used, and she went off to sketch and label. A few weeks later, a diagram was born.

a drinky display

Since that conversation back in early 2009, a lot has changed for both Sara and me. I wrote a book, became a full-time blogger and freelancer and wrote a second book. She added many dozens of diagrams to her line, greatly expanded the number of stockists who carry her stuff, and then earlier this year, opened her own gift shop on E. Passyunk Avenue.

shake and enjoy

Called Occasionette, this new shop carries both a goodly number of pieces from Girls Can Tell, as well as cards, gifts, dishes, and other lovely things that you never knew existed but will desperately want the moment you see them.

foodie tea towels

Right now, Occasionette is carrying a number of jar-based items, including the Mason Shaker and an array of Cuppows. I hear tell that she’s also planning on stocking the newly released BNTO, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

washi tape

Occasionette a lovely addition to a commercial corridor that’s rapidly been coming back to life and vitality over the last few years. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, I urge you to hop down to 1825 E. Passyunk Avenue and check it out!

tea and coffee diagrams

Of course, every new beginning comes with a handful of endings. Because Sara has so much on her plate and only so many hours in the day, she’s begun to retire some of the older diagrams in the Girls Can Tell line in order to make room for new, fresh ideas and projects. One of the diagrams that’s being tucked into the vault is the one that features the canning tools.

canning diagram tea towel

In order to give this lovely diagram the send-off that it deserves, Sara suggested I give a few of these towels away. And so that’s what I’m going to do! We’re giving away three of the unbleached towels and three of the white towels for a total of six winners. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share your favorite preserve of the summer. Whether it’s something you made, picked up at a farmers market or got from a friend, I want to hear about it.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Friday, August 2, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, August 4, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.

If you can’t bear to take your chances with the giveaway, you can also order one of the last towels directly from Sara’s shop by clicking here. She also has a few of these cute notecards bearing the diagram left as well.

Disclosure: Sara is providing the towels for this giveaway at no cost to me. No money changed hands and my opinions are entirely my own. 

Links: Basil Jelly, Jam Ice Cream, and a Pie Box Winner

tubs of blueberries

I was in Portland with my parents, sister and nephew all last week and it was just about the best thing ever. The weather was beautiful, Emmett is cutest kid around (those curls!), and it was just so good to soak up time with these people I adore and don’t see nearly enough.

There was also plenty of good food, meals with friends, backyard blackberries, and couple of very fruitful thrift store outings. Truly, the only hitch in the whole trip is that instead of being at home now as planned, I’m stranded in a motel room in Chicago with no flight out until morning. Still, it seems a small price to pay for such a magical visit. Now, on to the links!

a peek at the pie

Thanks to everyone who entered the Pie Box Kit giveaway. The winner is Sharon, who said that her favorite thing about pie is, “Eating the flaky layers of crust, with the wonders of the great tasting fillings!”

If you didn’t win the giveaway, MightyNest is offering all Food in Jars readers 10% off on the Pie Box and the serving kit. Just enter FOOD10 at check out (and if you spend $50 or more, you get free shipping too).

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Cookbooks: Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin

Preserving with Pomona's Pectin

This has been a very good season for cookbooks dedicated to preserving. First came Sherri Brooks Vinton’s new book Put ‘Em Up! Fruit. Then came Little Jars, Big Flavors, quickly followed by Saving the Season. And now, I have one more to add to the roster. Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy.

Preserving with Pomona's Pectin

It’s a fabulous little book that covers a wide range of preserves, all set with Pomona’s Universal Pectin. What makes this pectin so handy is that it doesn’t rely on sugar or evaporation in order to set. It’s a variety of pectin (extracted from citrus peels) that is activated instead with calcium, which means you can make jams sweetened with just a little sugar, honey, or fruit juice concentrate.

Preserving with Pomona's Pectin

The book is divided into seven sections. The first gives a little bit of background about the Pomona’s Pectin company and defines the different kinds of preserves covered in the book. The comes a chapter that goes deep on how to use the pectin and preserve your product (my paternal grandmother was an illustrator and I can’t help but look at these drawings above and think how much she would have appreciated them). Then comes jams, jellies, preserves, conserves and marmalades.

Preserving with Pomona's Pectin

Each chapter contains tried-and-true basics (Allison calls them Simple Classics) as well as more inventive and sophisticated fruit and flavor pairings. I’m very excited by this Rosemary-Wine Jelly pictured above. I’ve been in Oregon the last week visiting my parents and they have a giant rosemary plant in their yard. Before I go home, I’m cutting a generous armload to bring home, in large part so I can make this jelly.

Preserving with Pomona's Pectin

I’m something of a fool for vanilla and while I’ve paired it with nearly every fruit I know, I’ve never done a jam with red plums and vanilla. This particular preserve (Allison defines preserves as something akin to a jam, but with much larger fruit chunks), sounds like a lovely way to bring them together and would be a great addition to a morning bowl of yogurt.

Preserving with Pomona's Pectin


For those of you who want more options in the world of low sugar preserving, this book is ideal. The recipes are concise, easy to follow, and appealing. The book is colorful and sturdy. It’s a welcome addition to my collection of canning books and might be to yours as well!

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