August Sponsors: Fillmore Container, EcoJarz, McDonald Paper, and Mason Jar Lifestyle

Happy August, dear readers! It’s the start of the month and that means that it’s time to thank the businesses that help make this site possible. Please do show them that you appreciate their support with your time and attention!  

Lancaster, PA-based and family-owned Fillmore Container are first! They offer all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear and carry just about every Ball jar currently available , so if you’re looking for a particular style, check them out. Additionally, this month, they’re participating in the Preserve the Harvest giveaway from Countryside Magazine. Check this blog post to see what you can win from Fillmore each week and enter here.

Our friends over at EcoJarz are another stalwart sponsor. They make an array of products designed to fit on top of mason jars, including cheese graterscoffee brewers, and stainless steel storage lids. Later this month, they’re releasing a new product, so stay tuned for more details on that front soon.

Back for another month is McDonald Paper & Restaurant Supply. Based in Brooklyn, they are open to the public and sell all manner of culinary supplies. Restaurant supply stores are a great way to get affordable, durable kitchen gear (including jars!). I’m a big of their big food storage containers for macerating fruit for jam.

Mason Jar Lifestyle is a one-stop shopping site for all the jar lovers out there. They sell all manner of mason jar accessories and adaptors. If you’re in the market for lidsstrawssprouting lidsfermentation weightsairlockstea light converterscozies, they are there for you.

And if your company, shop, or family business is interested in reaching the food-loving and engaged Food in Jars audience, you can find more details here. Leave a comment on this post or drop me a note to learn more!

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Pasta and Kosher Dill Pickle Salad

This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.

Yesterday, I showed you how to make the Kosher Dill Pickle Spears from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products. These spears are my ideal pickle in both form and flavor. They are brightly flavored, have a hint of sweetness, and thanks to the addition of Ball® Pickle Crisp, hold on to their texture nicely.

These pickles are good for so much. They are obviously perfection alongside a sandwich. You can nestle one into the bun with a hot dog or grilled sausage. And they make a really delicious addition to all manner of summer salads.

This version of pasta salad takes some elements from classic macaroni salad, but tweaks it so that it’s less sweet and more vegetable-forward than the versions you get at your local deli.

I use just 8 ounces of pasta with 1 1/2 cups of pickles, along with chopped celery, red onion, hard boiled egg, chopped parsley, and a dressing made from mayo and pickle juice. It can be served warm or chilled and is the perfect thing to make ahead and keep in the fridge for a week of easy meals.

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Kosher Dill Pickle Spears from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products

This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.

Last month, I teamed up with my friends at Ball®Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands to share their recipe for Honey Cinnamon Pears and the Honey Cinnamon Pear Sorbet I made with it. (Back in May, I did their Mixed Berry Jam and made Jammy Baked Oatmeal.) This month, we’re talking pickles.

Kosher Dill Pickle Spears, to be precise. These pickles are the exact image my brain conjures when I think of a classic kosher dill and they live up to their name in both form and flavor.

This style of pickle is one of the most versatile in the homemade pantry. They are great with sandwiches, tucked Chicago-style into hot dogs, or diced and stirred into dressings and relishes.

It’s an incredibly easy pickle to make. You start (as with most canning projects) by placing your jars in a canning pot, filling it about two-thirds full of water, and bringing it to a low simmer. While the canner heats, grab a few pounds of pickling cucumbers, trim the ends (make sure to remove the blossom end!), and cut them into spears.

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once the canning pot has come to a simmer and the jars are hot, remove one jar. Working quickly, place dill, garlic, Pickle Crisp®, and spices into the bottom of the jar. Pack the cucumber spears into the jar, fill it with the hot brine to 1/2 inch headspace, and wiggle out the air bubbles (top with more brine if the level has dropped below 1/2 inch).

Wipe the rim, apply the lid and ring, and return the jar to the canner. Repeat the process with the remaining jars. Once all the jars are filled, process them in the boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. When the time is up, turn off the heat, remove the lid and let the jars stand in the hot water for an additional five minutes

Once the jars have finished cooling in the water, remove them from the canning pot and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. These pickles like to have at least a week in the jar to allow the flavor to infuse before you open them up. Check in tomorrow for a recipe that will show you how to use them in a most delicious way.

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Cookbooks: The Fruit Forager’s Companion

There is little I like more in life than discovering a free-for-the-picking cache of fruit, somewhere in my neighborhood. When I was growing up, we would gather wild blackberries from a field around the corner from our house and windfall apples from a pair of gnarled apple trees planted in the parking strip. These days, I stalk wild mulberries and wineberries in the parks of Philadelphia and seek out fig trees that lean out of yards and into public areas.

If this sounds like you as well, then you must check out The Fruit Forager’s Companion by Sara Bir. This book is part memoir, part cookbook, and part journey through the always-growing, edible landscape that so often we miss in our hurry from one place to another. And if it’s not yet you, a few moments with this book and you’ll forever be scanning your neighborhood trees and shrubs for signs of pickable fruit.

The book is ordered alphabetically by kind of fruit. It starts with apples and wraps up with sumac. Each chapter is filled with stories, history, and recipes, as well as tips on harvesting, storage and culinary uses.

Truly though, the thing that makes this book special is Sara’s voice. She is a delightfully good writer, with a literary personality that is smart, funny, and none-too-precious. The following two sentences about figs on page 129 made me laugh out loud.

“Figs are nutrient-packed, offering more minerals per serving that other common fruits. They’re also high in fiber and sugar, keeping people on the move in multiple senses.”

A book that is useful, charming, and includes a tasteful poop joke? Sign me up!

If you’re looking for ways to connect with your local landscape that is both meditative and productive, let this book be your guide.

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Sour Cherry Apricot Jam

sour cherries and apricots in a pot

Sour cherries and apricots are two of my very favorite summer fruits, so it’s hard to believe that I’ve never combined them before. And yet, here we are.

Sour cherries and apricots after maceration

I love the flavor that combining these two brings and the finished color practically glows.

Cooked sour cherry apricot jam in the pot

I realize that in some parts of the country, sour cherries are now out of season. Know that this jam could be made with frozen cherries if fresh are now but a memory.

four jars of sour cherry apricot jam

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Upcoming Classes: Princeton! Glen Mills! Rhinebeck! Philadelphia!

I have a few really great classes coming up still this season. If you’re in New York, New Jersey, or the Philadelphia area, there might be something here for you!

Tuesday, July 31 (Princeton, NJ)
I’m teaching a demo-style canning class at Miele Experience Center in Princeton, NJ. I’ll show you how to make Blueberry Maple Jam and Spiced Blueberry Chutney (everyone will go home with a small jar of the chutney). 6-8 pm. $50. Register here.

Wednesday, August 1 (Glen Mills, PA)
I’ll be offering a pickle making demonstration at the Rachel Kohl Community Library in Glen Mills, PA. The demo starts at 7 pm and will go about an hour. This one is free!

Friday-Sunday, August 3-5 (Rhinebeck, NY)
This is my weekend-long canning workshop at the Omega Institute (Rhinebeck, NY). It’s an in-depth, hands on workshop in which we’ll make 12-14 various preserves. Participates will go home with a box of jams, pickles, etc and the knowledge to replicate the work at home. Details here.

Wednesday, August 15 (Philadelphia)
This is a demo-style stone fruit canning class at the Culinary Literacy Center of the Free Library of Philadelphia. I’ll show you how to make three different preserves and will give you a chance to taste all the recipes made in the class. It’s from 6-8 pm and costs 15. Sign up here.

Saturday, August 18 (Philadelphia)
This is a hands on salsa making class at Glen Foerd on the Delaware. The workshop is from 11 am – 1 pm, costs $35, and everyone will go home with a finished jar of salsa. Details here.

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