International Can-It-Forward Day and Curried Fruit Compote from the Ball Blue Book

compote fruit assortment

Saturday, August 1 is the fifth annual Can-It-Forward day. This yearly event is organized and hosted by Jarden Home Brands, the company that makes all of our beloved Ball and Kerr products. In the past, they’ve offered a day of live streaming canning and jar usage demonstrations from New York City. This year, they’re bringing the festivities home to their new headquarters in Fishers, Indiana.

apricots

Last year, I hopped a train up to New York and joined the fun in Brooklyn. This year, I’m really excited to be heading to Indiana for the weekend to demonstrate my recipe for Sweet and Tangy Pickled Blueberries. I’ll have that recipe for you all in a couple weeks. Today, I want to talk about an entirely different preserve.

curried fruit compote recipe

As we were planning ways to get the word out about this year’s Can-It-Forward day, the nice folks from Ball Home Preserving suggested that I could pick out a couple of recipes from the Ball Blue Book to share with you guys. I went flipping through and picked out a handful of options. One that we settled on was the Curried Fruit Compote on page 134 of the newest edition of the book.

cantaloupe

I chose this one because I’ve been digging compotes lately (they’re so easy! And such a good way to capture fleeting summer fruit) and I was intrigued by the idea of an assortment of adding a savory spice blend like curry to a heap of sweet fruit.

curry powder

So, after a busy week of photo shoots and book edits, I went to my local product market to round up a ripe pineapple, a not too ripe cantaloupe (so that it would hold its shape after cutting), three pounds of peaches, and a lime (I already had the necessary apricots from last weekend’s half bushel).

bowl of chopped fruit

With products like this, the bulk of the work is in the preparation. Once you’ve peeled the peaches, pitted the apricots, seeded the cantaloupe, and tackled the pineapple, the cooking happens in a snap. I brought my curry-spiked syrup to a boil as I was finishing up removing all those pesky eyes from the pineapple and then once it was bubbling, heaped the fruit into the pot.

all the fruit in the pot

Once the fruit seemed to be heated through, I used a slotted spoon to portion out the fruit into a two-cup measuring cup and filled up the jars. The recipe in the book called for quart jars, but I opted for pints instead, because I knew that it would be a better, more usable portion for my household (and I kept the processing time the same, just to be safe).

finished compote

Once all the jars were filled, I had a few bobbing bits of fruit in the pot. I tasted a hunk of pineapple and the curry flavor was pleasantly mild. I think that come winter, I’ll be pairing this compote with scoops of cottage cheese for easy workday lunches.

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Mustardy Potato and Cauliflower Salad

finished potato cauliflower salad

Potato salad has long been one of my favorite summertime foods. I can be completely content to eat a bowl of it and call it a full meal. Sadly, it’s not really a nutritional powerhouse. In the past I would add some lightly blanched green beans, but they are one of my husband’s least loved foods and so if I’m cooking with the expectation that he’s going to join me, I leave them out.

maile horseradish mustard

Maybe a month or so ago, I was pondering the topic of potato salad (truly, this is one of the ways that I spend my time) and the thought occurred that adding blanched cauliflower would help lighten it and make it a more acceptable meal.

So I tried it and discovered that my hunch was right. It’s a delicious combination. The potatoes are creamy and the cauliflower (cooked with the potatoes for the last few minutes) is tender but sturdy. Of course, a few days after I made it, I was eating Indian food and was reminded that potatoes and cauliflower often accompany one another in that cuisine. I’m not nearly as original as I thought I was.

potato cauliflower salad on greens

To keep the dressing simple, I stirred together some store-bought mayonnaise with a healthy dollop of Maille horseradish mustard (this zippy mustard has become one of my favorite secret ingredients since I discovered it in a box of goodies sent to me by Maille), and half a minced red onion. I also like to return the drained potatoes and cauliflower to the hot pan after draining them and then pour a little vinegar over the top, to infuse them with bit of vinegar tang.

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Books at the Market at High Street and Headhouse Square Farmers Market

All set up at the opening day of the Headhouse Square Farmers Market. I'm here until 2 pm!

This weekend, I’m going to be at two Philadelphia area markets with stacks of my books to sell and sign. With canning season in full swing, this is a great opportunity to pick up a book and some produce for canning, all at the same time!

On Saturday, July 11, I’ll be at the Saturday farm stand at High Street on Market from 10:30 to 1:30 pm (the stand is open until 3:30 pm, but unfortunately I can’t stay that long). This French-style market features produce from Plowshare Farms and a rotating cast of special guests. This week I’ll be there along with Food and Ferments. If you can’t make it this weekend, Madame Fromage has the full list of future guest vendors.

Then, on Sunday, July 12, I’ll be at Headhouse Market from 10 am to 2 pm. Look for me positioned between The Food Trust’s table and the Buzby Produce stand.

I’ll have copies of both books with me, along with the last of the orange Food in Jars stickers for giveaway. The books cost $20 a piece and I can take cash or cards!

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Sweet Cherry Rhubarb Jam

cherries in colander (1)

When I got my box of fruit from the Washington State Fruit Commission back at the beginning of June, I had grand plans to dedicate a full week to my many delicious cherry creations. And then life got in the way (as it so often does). Instead, I’ve been publishing these tasty things in fits and starts.

measured sliced cherries

Today’s recipe is for a batch of cherry rhubarb jam, made with minimal sugar and set up with Pomona’s Pectin. The combination of cherries and tangy rhubarb make for a preserve that has a really nice balance of sweet and tart.

measured rhubarb

At this point, I must confess I am bereft of words to describe this recipe. The photo shoot for the next book started today (and I still have four more preserves I must make and deliver to the studio), my inbox is clamoring for my attention, and most difficult, my mother-in-law has been in the hospital since Friday night. Oof.

mixed cherries and rhubarb

I would like to point you to some of the other Canbassador projects I’ve posted in the past.

finished cherry rhubarb jam 1

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Home Canned Peaches in Fruit Juice + MightyNest Giveaway

This post is sponsored by our friends at MightyNest! Read through to the end for details about a giveaway worth $200!

row of jars side

There is a park near my apartment that hosts two weekly farmers markets. I almost always go to the Saturday market, but often miss the mid-week one. It takes place on Tuesdays from 10 am to 2 pm and so often, by the time I remember that it’s happening, I’ve already missed it.

empty week jars

Last week, though, the stars were aligned in my favor. I had been out running errands and on my walk home spotted the cheery row of white tents set up along the north edge of the square. It was nearly 2 pm, but the vendors all still had good things on offer. I bought three quarts of yellow and green beans for pickling, a half pint of black raspberries, and five pounds of hail-marked peaches for $5.

four pounds peaches

The peaches were a little beat up but it was nothing some careful work with a paring knife couldn’t fix. I set them out to ripen for a couple days and applied myself to the rest of the produce. I trimmed the beans, fit them into a large jar with garlic and spices, and covered them with brine (we’ll talk more about those next week when they’re finished fermenting). The raspberries? Those I ate with my lunch.

peach quarters

A few days later, the peaches were ripe and ready for canning (and eating! I did set aside a few for snacking). I considered turning them into jam, but I just discovered a cache of peach vanilla jam in the back of the cabinet, so that seemed unnecessary. Instead, I decided to can them in fruit juice for later in the year when all available fruit is being shipped from the other side of the world.

apple juice

Over the years, I’ve preserved fruit slices in syrups made from cane sugar, honey, and agave nectar, but when it comes to ease and virtue, there’s nothing better than plain old apple juice. When I first started working on my natural sweeteners book, I got into the habit of keeping a few canisters of 100% juice concentrate in the freezer because they’re so useful during canning season.

peaches in juice

I prepped the peaches by cutting them in quarters and laying them in a heatproof baking dish. Once they were ready, I put the pan in the sink (to help prevent large messes), brought a kettle of water to a boil and poured it over the peaches. This helps loosen the skins and when you’re working with relatively small amounts of peaches, makes for an easier peeling process.

peaches in jars

Once the peach quarters had sat in the hot water for about three minutes, I lifted a corner of the pan and tipped out most of the hot water. Then I ran some cool water from the tap over the fruit. Then, I peeled the skins off the peach segments. They lifted away easily enough, though some benefited from a little paring knife assistance.

peaches in jars top

I’d prepped the juice ahead of time (using the regular dilution of one can of concentrate to three cans of water) and brought it to a simmer in a four quart pot. After each peach segment was peeled, I dropped it into the hot juice. The acid content in the juice is enough to help prevent oxidation, and the heat helps the fruit release some of its trapped air, making for a finished product that should siphon less that peaches that were done using the cold pack method.

single jar of peaches

Once all the peaches were peeled and in the simmering juice, I pulled three clean, hot 1/2 liter Weck tulip jarsout of my prepped canning pot and filled them with peach slices. I ladled in enough juice to cover, leaving about 1/4 inch headspace (make sure to wiggle out any trapped air bubbles).

Finally, I wiped the rims, eased on the seals and lids, and clamped them in place with the metal clips. Because they were a hot packed product, these jars (which are the functional equivalent of pint jars) spent just 20 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

finished peaches

Once the time was up, I slide the pot off the hot burner, removed the lid, and let the jars cool for ten minutes still in the water. This is another way to help prevent the siphoning of the liquid to which whole fruit is so prone.

Finally, I pulled the jars out of the water and let them rest on a folded kitchen towel. You can always tell with Weck jars that they’ve formed a seal because the little rubber tab will point downward.

down turned tab

Now, here’s the fun part. Our friends at MightyNest are huge canning fans and want to help one lucky Food in Jars reader get set up for a very successful canning season. To that end, they’re letting me give away a canning pot, jar lifter, stainless funnel, and an assortment of jars. The total value is $200. Just plug your information into the widget below to enter.

Disclosure: MightyNest is a Food in Jars sponsor. Additionally, they provided the Weck jars you see featured in this post. However, all opinions remain entirely mine.

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Upcoming July Classes: Chestnut Hill! Lancaster County! Online!

class image revised

I’m teaching four classes this month! One is in Philly, two are out in Lancaster County, and one is another live, online class via Concert Window. I’m focusing hard on tomatoes a little earlier in the summer that I normally do, in the hopes of sharing those skills before the season starts rocking. I hope some of you can join me!

  • Wednesday, July 8 – Whole Peeled Tomatoes with Weaver’s Way. I’ll show you how to prep and preserve whole peeled tomatoes in the kitchen at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House. 7-9 pm. Click here to register.
  • Monday, July 13 – Live online class via Concert Window. This time, I’ll be making a small batch of peach jam. I’ll publish the recipe ahead of time, so that you can cook and can right along with me. Pay what you wish. Starts at 8 pm eastern time. Sign up here.
  • Saturday, July 18 – Jam making class and book signing at Goodwill at Homefields Farm (Manor Township – 150 Letort Road, Millersville, PA). 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. To register, contact Heather Conlon-Keller at 717-808-7060 or heather@homefields.org. Class fee is $22 per person, payable to Homefields.
  • Saturday, July 25 – Canning Tomatoes Two Ways at Christina Maser Co. We’ll cold pack whole peeled tomatoes and hot pack crushed tomatoes, all at Christina Maser Co. in Lancaster, PA. Class is from 10 am to 1 pm and costs $65. Click here to sign up.
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