Pictures 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.


Cheryl’s gorgeous red pepper jelly. She put the recipe right into the photo description on Flickr, so click through to see it!

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A very pretty and colorful canning cabinet from Katvanb.

Spicy Pickles

Spicy pickles from Misty of Sticks in the Mud.

pickled tomatoes

Shira’s in progress pickled green tomatoes!


Looks like Meryl from My Bit of Earth has been making her own chai blend. It’s such a good drink for these chilly winter days.

Under Pressure

I think we’ve all been there, in the kitchen late at night, finishing off a canning project. This photo from Sharon evokes that moment and mood perfectly.

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Pictures from the Pennsylvania Farm Show


After years spent meaning to go to the Pennsylvania Farm Show, I got to spend two whole days there earlier this week. In between my canning demos and book signings, Scott and I wandered around the show. We ate a vast array of fried foods, gawked at the rows of cattle, and admired the chickens, rabbits, and ducks. The photos below are just some of the ones I took while there. The full set of images can be found here.

fried vegetables

Fried broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and onion rings, served with a horseradish dipping sauce. One of the most delicious things I’ve eaten in recent memory.

January 6

Such horns!

PA Dairymen's Shake

All milkshakes should be half chocolate and half vanilla.

make way for sliding ducklings

Ducklings are delightful, but they don’t like to go on the slide.

cider lovers

I am most definitely a cider lover.

Fillmore Container!

At the Fillmore Container Preservation Station.

baby bunnies

Baby bunnies!

battered and fried mushrooms

These breaded and fried button mushrooms were delicious!

whole fruits

Just some of the canned foods entered into the competition.

matching chickens

I loved how these two were standing in the same position.

green beans

Nice examples of pressure canned green beans.

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Links: Cave Raisings, Hot Toddies, and More

The last meal of Christmas leftovers. Open face turkey sandwich with beet dip and arugula. Made by my dad.

For most of November and all of December, I felt well and truly bogged down and overwhelmed but with the arrival of 2014, I’m feeling a welcome sense of lightness. I’ve been taking advantage of this wave of new energy by restarting my nearly nine-year-old personal blog (it doesn’t have much of a design at the moment, but the content is what’s important, I think) and trying to be more on top of the content I write here. Fingers crossed that I can keep it up! Now, links.

various half pint shapes

There’s no giveaway winner tonight because the current giveaway is still going on. If you haven’t entered yet, click over to this post and leave a comment.

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Monday and Tuesday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show


I mentioned this at the bottom of my straight sided half pint jar giveaway post on Wednesday, but I wanted to call it out here again in case you’re going to be in the greater Harrisburg, PA area tomorrow or the day after.

I’m going to be doing a series of canning demos and book signings this Monday, January 6 and Tuesday, January 7 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. I’ll be at the Fillmore Container Preservation Station on the Main Floor in the Family Living area. The demos will be at 10 am and 4 pm (I’m doing batches of Pear Vanilla Jam and Pickled Cauliflower each day). There’s also a very good chance that I’ll be demoing on the PCN Main Stage at 1 pm on those days as well.

I’ll be sticking fairly close to the Preservation Station when not demoing to answer questions and sell books, so if you’re at the show and pick up a signed copy of my book (or bring your copy to get signed), please come on by!

Also, if you haven’t done so yet, make sure to enter the Canner’s Treasure Chest giveaway that Fillmore Container is hosting on their blog.

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Photos From the Food in Jars Flickr Pool

I used to be in the habit of featuring photos from the Food in Jars Flickr pool here on the blog once a week. Then somehow along the way, that particular feature fell by the wayside. I really liked sharing reader photography here and so have decided to revive this column. If you have a photo of your jams, pickles, or other delicious things in jars, please do add it to the group (phone and Instagram photos are absolutely welcome!).


Christmas morning butter and jam by Meryl of My Bit of Earth.


Who knew that canned venison, turkey breast, dark turkey meat, pork, and chicken breast could look so pretty. Nice hoosier cabinet, too! Photo by 7thswan.

Chocolate Pistachio Sables (6 of 6)

Chocolate pistachio sables in jars from Sara of Three Clever Sisters.

Homemade Honey from The Honey Man

Glowing honey in a jar from Ryan.

7941 dill pickles

Some very nice looking pickles from Karen at Short Story Long.

quince preserve

Finally, some quince preserves from Rebecca at Cakewalk. This photo was from a post she wrote about her 2013 preserving season, which I thought was a very good read. I always mean to write such posts, but I never seem to make the time.

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Preserves in Action: Stovetop Toasties for a Snow Day

Toas-Tite and KwiKi-Pi

Like most of the northeast, Philadelphia woke up this morning to a thick layer of snow. Though I didn’t venture outside to measure, friends in the next neighborhood up from ours had 8 inches on their back deck and I hear that there were some areas that got even more. I had to cancel the class I was scheduled to teach and Scott’s office was closed, so we hunkered down for a cozy snow day.

January 3

Thankfully, I braved the pre-storm crowds at Trader Joe’s yesterday and so the fridge was fully loaded for a day at home (it was my first full shop since getting back to town on Monday, so things would have been pretty stark otherwise). As we contemplated lunch, Scott made an off-hand suggestion that I should write a post about using jams on a snow day.

sandwich prep

As soon as he said it, I realized that it was the perfect day to pull out my old stovetop sandwich makers and toast up a few jam-filled treats. I’ve had these two pie/sandwich irons for ages now and don’t use them nearly enough. My mom grew up making sandwiches in a Toas-Tite at her aunt’s house, and so when she spotted on at an antique mall some years back, scooped it up and gave it to me for Christmas. The KwiKi-Pi (don’t you just love the name?) cost a quarter at a Lancaster County garage sale some years back.

building a sandwich in the Toas-Tite

There’s nothing fancy about either of these gadgets, though I will say that the I find that the Toas-Tite delivers a better finished product than the KwiKi-Pi (it’s heavier and seals better). There are other vintage brands out there, like Nutbrown Sandwich Toaster and Jem Toaster, and there a handful of companies who still make these kinds of irons (like this round one). There are also electric sandwich makers that do the same sort of thing, but I like these lo-fi ones better.

Toas-Tite on the stove

The way it works is that you take a couple pieces of bread, flatten them out a little with a rolling pin to create a little extra filling space, and lightly butter the outsides like you would a grilled cheese. You fit the first slice into the bottom of the mold (don’t worry about the overhanging bread yet), and fill. Go light to the fillings so that the sandwich doesn’t ooze during cooking.

sandwich makers on the stove

Once the fillings are in, you line up the top piece of bread and close the Toas-Tite down. Then, using a paring knife, cut away the overhanging bread, taking special care around the hinges, as that spot can sometimes trap some large crumbs (save those crusts for homemade bread crumbs!).

Because I have a pokey old electric stove, I preheat the smaller burners to medium-high  while I construct the sandwiches. When the burners are hot, you just lay the sandwich makers directly onto the burners. If you have a gas stove, you proceed in much the same way, though you shouldn’t need to preheat. Turning regularly, your sandwich should be done in four or five minutes.

finished Toas-Tite sandwich

For my first sandwich, I used a combination of prosciutto, shredded cheese, and tart plum jam on whole wheat. For the second round, I flattened a couple hot dog buns that Scott had picked up while I was away and stuffed them with herbed goat cheese and apricot jam. Of course, you can fill your sandwiches with anything you want, but keep the number of ingredients fairly low. Any more than three or four ingredients and the flavors start to get muddy.

finished KwiKi-Pi sandwich

I realize that in some ways, these are nothing more than homemade Uncrustables, done with fancy ingredients. But made with kids, or on a snow day when you just feel like a kid, they’re a very fun treat. And they’re such a good way to use up your jams and chutneys in a slightly different way.

prosciutto, cheese, and jam sandwich

How are you guys using your preserves these days?

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