Upcoming Classes: Brooklyn! Phoenixville! Portland!

class image revised

Canning season is here in full swing, which means now is the time to sharpen your canning skills with a class. Here’s where I’ll be over the course of the next six weeks.

  • June 18 – Strawberry Jam at The Brooklyn Kitchen in Brooklyn, New York. The class runs from 6:30 – 8:30 and features two ways to make strawberry jam. For this class, you can get 15% off the class price of $65 by using the code “JamTime” when you sign up. Sign up here!
  • June 19 -  Pickles Two Ways at Cooking Spotlight in Phoenixville, PA. The class is from 6:30 – 9 pm and costs $59. Registration page is here.
  • June 22 - A pickling class at Greensgrow. We’ll make quick pickled cucumbers, as well as a batch designed and processed for shelf stability. Class is from 12 – 2 pm and costs $35. Registration page is here.
  • June 24 - A stonefruit jam class featuring Pomona’s Pectin at the Plymouth Meeting Whole Foods Market. Class is from 6:30 – 8: 30 pm and costs $35. Click here to sign up!
  • July 6 – Apricot Jam at The Brooklyn Kitchen in Brooklyn, New York. The class runs from 2 – 4 pm and features two ways to make apricot jam. The class costs $65 and you can sign up here
  • July 11 - Make two kinds of jam (peach and blueberry) at Cooking Spotlight in Phoenixville, PA. This class is from 6:30 – 9 pm and  costs $59. Click here to sign up.
  • July 13 – Plum-Apricot Preserves! This class will focus on boiling water bath canning and combining different kinds of fruits for successful pectin-free jam making. This class is from 11 am – 1 pm at Indy Hall in Old City, Philadelphia. Leave a comment to sign up.
  • July 6 - Apricot Jam at The Brooklyn Kitchen in Brooklyn, New York. The class runs from 2 – 4 pm and features two ways to make apricot jam. The class costs $65 and you can sign up here.
  • July 20 – Intro to low sugar jam making and boiling water bath canning at Longview Farm Market in Collegeville, PA. The class runs from 11 am – 1 pm and costs $35 to attend. Click here to sign up.
  • July 23 – Low sugar plum preserves in PORTLAND, OREGON! Class runs from 7 – 9 pm and will be held at the Subud Center in NE Portland. Class costs $40. Click here to sign up!
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Links: Granola, Pantry Inventories, and Winners

hulling strawberries

This was the first weekend in the last month where I wasn’t traveling and didn’t have to attend a wedding. I taught a canning class on Saturday morning and then went cherry picking and picnicking with friends. Scott and I slept incredibly late on Sunday morning, ate a lazy homemade brunch and went to Costco. A good combination of productive and slothfulness, if you ask me. Now, to the links!

Here are a few things that I’ve written lately for other people.

boiled dinner

Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor

food processor winners Last week was a very big week in Food in Jars giveaway land. Thanks to the incredible generosity of the folks at Hamilton Beach, I had eight of these Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processors to give away. Here are the winners!

Congratulations to everyone who won! I’ll be in touch shortly to get your contact information.

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Canning 101: Always Label Your Prepped Fruit

labeled container

When it comes to jam making, one of my favorite tricks is a maceration period. This is the step in which you clean and chop your fruit, mix it with sugar and pop it in the fridge until that moment (within 72 hours, ideally) when you have the time to cook it into jam. It breaks up the work and means that you can fit your preserving into your schedule instead of feeling at the mercy of the fruit.

One thing to know about macerating your fruit is that you don’t have to add the full amount of sugar the recipe calls for in order for it to work. This is particularly useful if you’ve funneled your fruit into a smallish container and only have room to add a cup or so of sugar.

There is just one problem here (at least if you’re me). You have to remember exactly how much sugar you included to the fruit so that when it comes time to cook, you know how much to add to round out the recipe. And here I say, make sure to label that sucker.

For years, I didn’t leave myself these little notes, always assuming that I’d remember how much sugar I added. Then I’d return to my macerating fruit and have to wonder, “did I add two cups of sugar? Or was it three?” A roll of duct tape and a Sharpie do the labeling job and make my life so much easier.

I know it sounds like a simplistic reminder, but it took me years to realize how useful these little notes can be.

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Grated Fennel Relish Recipe

fennel relish close-up

I am of the opinion that relish is one of the least-loved preserves on the condiment spectrum. I’m not exactly sure why this is the case, since it’s dead easy to make, uses up a ton of produce, and is a team player of an ingredient (with a jar of relish, you can make tartar sauce, salad dressing, or just a nice topping for grilled fish or chicken).

I’m afraid that I haven’t helped the cause of relish much over the years, as I’ve posted just one other recipe in all the years I’ve been writing this site. I think it’s high time to change all that.

two pounds of trimmed fennel

For this debut relish of the summer, I come bearing a recipe for fennel relish. Now, I realize that not everyone likes fennel (including my mother, who actively avoids anything in the fennel/anise/licorice family), but I’m a huge fan. I regularly slice it thinly and quickly pickle it and was ready to take the next step and preserve it for a longer length of time.

grated fennel

I used the Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor for the prep on this relish and it made very quick work of the two pounds of fennel bulbs, as well as the two onions that needed to be broken down. You get about 8 cups of grated fennel from the two pounds, and happily, the bowl of this processor is big enough to handle it.

8 cups fennel

Once the fennel is grated and the onion is minced (just put it in the bowl with the chopping blade and pulse until it is in bits), you combine all the ingredients in a pot and cook until everything is heated through. There’s no worry about hitting set points (like with jam) or minimizing heat exposure to protect texture (like with pickles). It’s a ridiculously stress-free preserve to make.

finished fennel relish

This recipe made about four pints, which felt like a huge batch after all the tiny batch projects I’ve done lately. But it’s so tangy and perfectly fennel-y, that I’m looking forward to finding all sorts of new ways to use it (I really want to pair it with some grilled bluefish).

Do you have a favorite relish to make with summer produce?

Grated Fennel Relish Recipe

Yield: Makes 4 pints

Ingredients

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs (approximately 2 pounds)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, roughly cracked
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 4 pint jars. Place lids in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Shred the fennel in a food processor or on a box grater.
  3. Finely mince onion (a food processor is easiest, but you can also do it with a knife).
  4. Combine grated fennel, minced onion, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, salt, fennel seeds, red chili flakes, and black pepper in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Cook the relish at a boil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the liquid has reduced some.
  6. Add lemon zest, juice, and parsley and stir to combine.
  7. Remove relish from the heat and funnel it into prepared jars, leaving approximately 1/4 inch headspace.
  8. Bubble jars well. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process jars in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  9. When time is up, remove jars from canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.

Notes

Recipe adapted from the Fennel Relish recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

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Giveaway: Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processor

Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor

One of the things I’ve learned in my years of canning is that once the produce starts coming on in great waves, it’s helpful to have a small appliance or two in your kitchen arsenal to help break fruits and vegetables down into preservable shapes and sizes. I often use my blender to help soften fruit for jam making (pulse, don’t puree) and often use the grater blade for my food processor to shred all manner of veg for batches of relish or salsa.

control buttons

Recently, the nice folks at Hamilton Beach asked if I’d be interested in trying out their new Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processor. Since I’m always curious about new appliances (particularly ones that can help out during canning season), I said yes. I’ve had this guy in my kitchen for a couple of months now and there are a bunch of things I really like about it.

chopping blade

First off, I really like its general concept. Instead of having to turn and lock the pieces into alignment, the components of this machine simply stack together. Once you’re ready to process, two little pieces click and hold the lid in place. When I first used the machine, I found it a little disconcerting that the bowl doesn’t lock onto the base, but it has proven to be plenty sturdy, so it doesn’t worry me at all.

I also really appreciate the fact that both the chopping blade and the slicing/grating disc fit into the bowl for storage (I’ve never found a good method for storing the accessory discs for my other food processor).

grate and slice blade

It’s also a seriously powerful in the shredding and slicing department. I have used it to grate many pounds of carrots, cabbage, potatoes, fennel, and very old, hard Parmesan cheese. It’s been a champ with them all. I also appreciate how wide the feed tube is. Makes it really easy to get large root vegetables in there.

The chopping blade is also a workhorse, though I was disappointed to find that it sits up a little too high to be truly useful for moderately sized batches of pastry dough and pie crust. Still, it makes quick work of larger batches of dough and things like these sunflower seed and cheddar crackers.

lid

My one complaint about this machine has to do with the length of the cord. It’s too darn short! Truly though, I find this to be the case with most modern appliances. Because my kitchen is 47 years old (and has never been remodeled), I have just a couple of outlets placed at either end of the room. I either end up positioning the processor at an awkward angle and stretching the cord to its full length or getting an extension cord. If you have a space with more generously positioned electrical outlets, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.

Overall, I’m quite impressed with this food processor. I’ve long used a first generation Cuisinart (my aunt Flora bought it sometime in the mid-seventies) for my processing needs and I was pleased to see that this inexpensive unit could do much of what I ask of my vintage machine.

Finally, the giveaway. Hamilton Beach has generously given me eight of these Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processors to give away to my readers. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite small kitchen appliance. Food processor? Coffee maker? Immersion blender? Hand-cranked coffee grinder?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, June 14, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway open US residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Also, make sure to check back tomorrow, when I’ll be sharing a recipe for fennel relish made right in the Stack & Snap (with action pictures and everything). If you’re a fennel fan, it’s certain to be a new favorite.

Disclosure: Hamilton Beach gave me one Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processor for review and photography purposes and they’re providing eight additional units for this giveaway. They did not pay for inclusion on the blog and my opinions remain entirely my own. 

 

Upcoming Canning Classes: The Brooklyn Kitchen

class image revised

Last fall, I did a canning demo and book event at The Brooklyn Kitchen (a ridiculously awesome culinary store in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn). Much to my delight, they’ve invited me back to teach a slew of jam classes throughout this summer.

Each class features two styles of jam making. I demo a batch of jam made with Pomona’s Pectin, while class participants break up into groups and get hands on with a small, pectin-free batch of jam. In the June classes, we’re working with strawberries. In July, we’ll transition to apricots and in August, it’ll be all about plums.

It’s a fun class with plenty of take-home treats. If you’re in the New York area, I’d love to see you in one of these sessions! Just click on the date that works for you to sign up!

Thursday, June 13, 6:30 pm
Tuesday, June 18, 6:30 pm
Saturday, July 6, 2 pm
Thursday, July 18, 6:30 pm
Wednesday, August 7, 6:30 pm
Sunday, August 25, 2 pm

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