Preserves in Action: Tomato Jam

greens, ricotta and tomato jam on toast

I have fallen into something of a lunchtime routine. I start a couple slices of toast, pull out a jar of tomato jam, and then rummage around, looking for some leftover to add to bridge the toast and jam. Earlier today, I piled the toast high with some leftover braised collards and a little ricotta cheese before spooning on a little jam.

fromage blanc and tomato jam

 

Last week, I spread my toast with a little fromage blanc and then added the the tomato goodness (I also had a giant salad of arugula, baby lettuce, and chopped apple). I’ve also used this same formula with leftover roast chicken, baked tofu, and even cold steamed broccoli.

How are you guys using your preserves these days?

Comments { 18 }

October Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, Eat Boutique, and More

inside the Eat Boutique box

It’s the beginning of October and that means it’s time to mention and thank the current Food in Jars sponsors. These are the companies make it possible for me to spent time testing recipes, writing tutorials, and answering canning questions.

In the top spot is Cuppow. They are the maker of the original mason jar travel mug topper and, more recently, of the BNTO (they sponsored last week’s awesome giveaway). Their products are the best things ever for hitting the road with your precious canning jars.

Next up is Fillmore Container. They sell all manner of canning jars and lids, as well as a handful of books and jar accessories. They’re a family-owned business based in Lancaster, PA and they happily work with home canners and commercial producers alike. They sponsored last week’s Itty Bitty Jar giveaway!

New to the sponsorship round-up is Eat Boutique, an online magazine and market that discovers and celebrates the best small batch foods by boutique makers. They sell specialty gift boxes and regularly host tastings and pop-up markets.

I’m happy to welcome Preserving Now back for another month! Operated by Lyn Deardorff, Preserving Now is both a website and school dedicated to helping people expand their canning and preserving skills. If you’re in the Atlanta area, make sure to check out her schedule of upcoming classes and events!

Another sponsor that’s new this month is The Clay Studio. This Philadelphia-based non-profit was founded in 1974 and is dedicated to affirming the importance of the ceramic arts. They work to make clay an accessible medium to a broad range of people. They sell a number of pieces in their shop that are both lovely to look at and to hold.

I am always delighted to welcome new sponsors to the site. Ads start at $75 a month. More information can be found here.

Comments { 1 }

Giveaway: Big Mouth Flat Pack Funnels

Big Mouth Funnels

In my years as a canner, I’ve tried nearly every available wide mouth funnel on the market. I own nearly a dozen different models made in materials ranging from plastic, to tempered glass, to stainless steel. One thing all these funnels have in common is that they’re bulky (much of my collection lives in a wicker basket in the living room, because there’s no room for them in the kitchen).

Big Mouth Funnels

Happily, Robin Bristow, a designer based in Australia, has recently developed a funnel designed to fit in kitchens with even the most limited cabinet space. Called the Big Mouth Funnel, this tool comes in two sizes and packs absolutely flat for easy storage.

Big Mouth Funnels

The small size is perfect for filling salt shakers, pepper mills, and spice jars, while the larger size can handle all manner of hefty jars. I’m planning on using one for trips to Whole Foods when I’m buying from the bulk section. I’ve often taken conventional wide mouth funnels with me to help dispense from bin to jar, but having a flat pack funnel in my kit will make the job even easier.

Big Mouth Funnels

I will say that I’m a little wary of using these funnels when filled up hot jars with jam or chutney just off the boil. They make no claims that they’re heatproof and so I plan to continue to use my traditional funnels for anything that is piping hot. Even setting them aside for those tasks, I can see them becoming invaluable over time.

Thanks to Robin and Big Mouth Funnels, I have ten pairs of flat pack funnels to give away! Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a kitchen or canning tool that you wish you could reinvent or redesign.
  2. Comments will close at 5 pm east coast time on Saturday, October 5, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted on Sunday, October 6, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Big Mouth Funnel sent me a set of their funnels to try and is also providing the ten for this giveaway. My opinions remain my own. 

Upcoming Classes: Pressure Canning! Pie Filling! Fall Chutney!

class image revised

 

We are well into the season for apples, pears, and quince, and cranberries should be arriving any day now. Come take a class with me and learn how to preserve some of this fall bounty!

October 9 – Pressure canning class at Cooking Spotlight in Phoenixville, PA. I’ll demonstration how to make a batch of onion and rosemary jam, and will show you how to preserve it for shelf stability with a pressure canner. The class is from 6:30 – 9 pm and costs $55. Click here to sign up.

October 12 – Spiced Apple Pie Filling at Indy Hall! Get a jump on your holiday pies by helping peel, chop and process 10 pounds of apples down into a batch of fragrant, spicy apple pie filling. Class is from 11 am to 1 pm and costs $50 per person. Leave a comment or email me to sign up.

October 19 – Canning at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. The morning class will be a jam making session, featuring a batch of pear vanilla jam. The afternoon class will be a make your own pickle party, starring water bath processed pickled carrots. Call the USBG to sign up.

October 26 – Canning demo and book signing at the Williams-Sonoma at the Bellevue in Center City Philadelphia. Demo starts at 1 pm and I’ll be onsite, selling and signing books until 5 pm.

October 29 – Chutney making class with the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market. We’ll make a batch of apple pear chutney (using all local fruit) from 6-8 pm in the Rick Nichols Room. Click here to sign up.

October 30 – A hands on pickling workshop with the Lower Merion Conservancy. We’ll make cauliflower pickles, taste a few things from my pantry, and dig into the basics of the boiling water bath canning. Class runs from 7 – 8:30 pm and costs $35 for LMC members and $45 for non-members. Click here to register.

November 1 to 3 – Join me in Western Mass. for a weekend-long canning class at the Rowe CenterMore details can be found here.

November 16 – Spiced applesauce class at the Tyler Arboretum. We’ll cover the basics of boiling water bath canning and walk through the steps necessary to make a batch of delicious, low sugar applesauce. Class is from 10 am – 12 noon and costs $60 for Arboretum Members, $70 for non-members. For more details, click here and select the “Health and Wellness” drop down.

November 17 – Mulled Cider Jelly class at Wyebrook Farm in Chester County, PA. Class runs from 2 – 4 pm and a registration link is coming soon!

November 18 – Prep for Thanksgiving and make cranberry preserves with me at the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market. Class is from 6-8 pm in the Rick Nichols Room.Click here to sign up.

 

Comments { 6 }

Links: Plums, Gingersnap Granola, and a Winner

I am so happy to have delicata squash back!

Fall is here, things are slowing down for me a little, and I am feeling grateful. I turned in one of the final rounds of edits for the next book last week, which feels both entirely liberating and just a bit surreal. This new book, which now is now officially called Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, will be out on March 25 and is even now available for pre-order. The promotional dance will be here before I know it, so I’m enjoying the relative peace of these early fall days all the more.

FiJBittyJarsGiveaway640

So many thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Itty Bitty Jar and cookbook giveaway that Fillmore Container sponsored last week. The winner is commenter #624, left by Letty. She said, “These jars are so stinkin’ cute! I would obviously have to purchase more, so I could make some type of pepper jelly, a marmalade, and some pear jams. Nothing like giving recipients a choice!” So true, Letty!

For those of you who didn’t win, make sure to check back tomorrow, because I’ll have another giveaway to share with you then!

Comments { 3 }

Small Batch Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

a pound and a half of tomatillos

Back when this blog was a wee fledgling, just finding its feet, I posted a recipe for oven roasted tomatillo salsa. It was one I learned to make by watching a woman named Teresa (for a handful of months, we were co-workers of sorts). Most of the time, when I find myself in possession of a small amount of tomatillos, I make some variation on this salsa and remember those days when I was fresh out of college and still trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do with myself.

halved tomatillos

The one problem with that first recipe was that it wasn’t designed for canning. I’ve gotten more emails than I can count over the years, asking me whether it could be canned and I always had to say no. However, it feels like a hole not to have a recipe on this site for a water bath safe tomatillo salsa (happily, there’s one in the cookbook, so I’ve not entirely neglected my duties).

roasted

When I found myself in the kitchen with a pound and a half of tomatillos earlier today, I determined that it was the perfect moment to come up with a very small batch of water bath safe tomatillo salsa. I used the tomatillo salsa recipe on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website as a starting point and then adapted.

In the end, I essentially divided the recipe by five and omitted a few low acid ingredients. I skipped the green chiles and hot peppers with a single jalapeño that had been sitting in the fruit basket so long that it had turned red. I increased the volume of tomatillos a little to replace the missing chiles. I added a tablespoon of minced cilantro. And I kept the levels of additional acid constant.

Leftovers from a tiny batch of roasted tomatillo salsa. If only I had chips!

For those of you who feel uncomfortable with me altering a tested tomatillo recipe in this manner, I point you in the direction of this abstract. It details pH testing of tomatillos and reveals that their pH was found to be consistently below 4.1. That is well below the cut-off of 4.6 pH. What’s more, that study also found that pH levels remained in the safe zone when tomatillos and onions were combined and at least 50% of the volume of the jar consisted of tomatillos.

After roasting the tomatillos, I had approximately 1 3/4 cups of pulp. To make this salsa, I combined that acidic tomatillo pulp with approximately 3/4 cup of low acid ingredients (onions, garlic, cilantro, 1 jalapeno, and a little ground cumin) and the acidified with three tablespoons of bottled lime juice (my starting recipe used 1 cup and yielded 5 pints. My recipe was appearing to yield about 1 pint. There are 16 tablespoons in a cup, so I divided that by 5 to arrive at 3 tablespoons). My single pint of yield was more than 50% tomatillos by volume and contains a great deal of additional acid.

finished tomatillo salsa

The combination of the tomatillo concentration and the added acid makes me feel entirely comfortable processing this salsa in a boiling water bath. However, the recipe makes just a pint (with a few spoonfuls leftover for immediate eating). If you’d prefer, you can always just pop it in the fridge and eat it up over the course of the next week or two. Up to you.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 55 }