Giveaway: Cheese Making Kit from Hobby Hill Farm

Hobby Hill Farm cheese making kit

This week’s giveaway comes to us from brand new sponsor Hobby Hill Farm. Based in Powhatan, Virginia, Hobby Hill Farm offers locally made jams and preserves, homemade pretzels, candies, and cheese making kits. What’s more, if you’re in the area, owner Sharon regularly teaches cheese making classes around central Virginia (she tells me she has 3-4 a week on the books straight through to November).

inside cheese kit

It’s those cheese making kits that I’m here to talk about today. The kit that Hobby Hill Farm sells retails for $26.95 and is designed to get you making your own mozzarella or ricotta cheese in just 30 minutes (they also sell an array of more advanced cheese making supplies). The kit contains cheese salt, citric acid, rennet, butter muslin, and easy-to-follow instructions. All you have to add is a gallon of milk and you’re ready to go.

I’ve completed many a DIY food project over the years, but until this kit arrived, I was always a little wary of trying my hand at cheese. However, I’ve made a batches of both mozzarella and ricotta so far and am loving how easy and satisfying a project it is. I’ll be back tomorrow with some pictures from my own experimentation.

cheese making ingredients

Thanks to the kind folks at Hobby Hill Farm, I have one cheese making kit to give away this week. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about a time when you tried to make something new in the kitchen.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, September 12, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, September13, 2015.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents only (and is void where prohibited).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.

If you can’t wait, know that Hobby Hill Farm is currently offering all my readers 10% off their purchase. Use the code “FIJ” at checkout to get the deal.

Disclosure: Hobby Hill Farm is a Food in Jars sponsor. Additionally, they provided the kit you see here, as well as the one up for giveaway (along with a sack of the most delicious pretzels ever). 

Links: Late Summer Jams, Soggy Pickles, and Winners

omega workshop kraut

This last week has been such a good one. My mom got into town on Tuesday night and it’s been so fun to have her here. We’ve done a bit of preserving together, have gone on some very nice, meandering walks, and have generally enjoyed being around one another. When we weren’t just hanging out together, we were with extended family, celebrating the marriage of our cousin Amy to her partner Jean. They’ve been together for more than 30 years and it’s been such a joy to see them legally wed.

Now, links!

flip caps

The winners in last week’s Flip Cap giveaway are #24/Sue F. and #167/Pamela. Congratulations winners! And don’t forget, if you like the sound of the Flip Caps, you can get them here.

Comments { 2 }

September Sponsors: Cuppow, iLids, Mason Jar reCAP, Fillmore Container, and More!

flipped open flip cap

It is the beginning of September and that means that it’s time to thank the companies who help make this blog possible. If you like the products and services these folks offer, please do show them your appreciation by giving them your business.

Cuppow is the creator of the original mason jar travel mug topper and the BNTO, a small plastic cup that transforms a canning jar into a snack or lunch box. They also recently expanded their product line to include branded jar coozie and they’ve teamed up with the EIO Kids Cup folks to bring the manufacturing of that kids drinking system onto US soil. I used my coozie just today!

iLids is a Seattle-based small business that makes both storage and drink lids in both regular and wide mouth sizes for mason jars. Their storage lids are water tight and the drink lids can accommodate a straw. Best of all, their lids come in a whole bunch of different colors, so there’s something for everyone!

Mason Jar reCAP is a company based right here in Pennsylvania. They are the producers of the original reCAP pour lid and have since expanded to include the reCAP Flip. They also sell pump and spray caps to fit regular mouth mason jars! I’m currently giving away two of their Flip Cap Kits, so make sure to enter!

Fillmore Container is a family-owned business based in Lancaster, PA and sells all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear. They also publish a blog that is a very useful resource for canners. This week, they’ve been talking pressure canning!

MightyNest is an amazing resource for non-toxic, natural, and organic products for homes and families. Check out their new subscription program called Mighty Fix. For $10 a month, you get a reusable product and everything else you buy ships for free!

Mrs. Wages makes pectin, vinegar, and more canning mixes than I can count. Their website is an incredible preserving resource and I can’t say enough good things about their salsa mixSign up for their newsletter for monthly installments of canning goodness.

Fermentools offers a brilliant fermentation starter kit that involves a heavy-duty glass pickling weight, an airlock, a lid with a reusable rubber seal, and mineral-rich salt. Get one (or several!) to help turn your CSA goodies into naturally fermented pickles.

Orchard Road makes mason jars, lids, and rings for home canners. Now in their second year of business, you should be seeing their jars in more physical stores. Their online store is now open for business, so you can now order them straight from the source.

If your company or small business is interested in becoming a sponsor, you can find more details here. I offer discounts for multiple month purchases and am always happy to work with your budget.

Comments { 0 }

Gingery Pickled Peaches

finished pickled peaches

Last weekend, I taught a canning and preserving workshop at the Omega Institute in the Hudson Valley. On my drive up there, my car was packed to the gills with pots and pans, jars, bowls, cutting boards, jars (I brought 13 cases and ended up dashing out between sessions for two more boxes of quarter pints), and well over 100 pounds of produce.

pickled peach segments

Of the 12 preserves we made over the course of the weekend, a full five featured peaches. We canned them in quarters, made peach salsa, tossed slices in cinnamon and dehydrated them, did a batch of chunky, vanilla-laced jam, and finally made jelly out of the peach-flavored juice leftover from canning the quarters. It is, after all, the season for peach canning.

filling jars with pickled peaches

One thing we did not do was make pickled fruit (though I did consider it when building the class schedule). We were making a chutney and doing a couple of other styles of pickling as well, so there just wasn’t room. However, had we had just a little more time, I would have slipped in this recipe for pickled peaches.

full jars pickled peaches

There is something about pickled fruit that I just really like. A few slivers spooned from a jar easily serves as a sweet, bright, and tangy counterpoint to any number of meals (and is particularly welcome during the relentless cold and grey of winter). I particularly like to braise well-salted chicken thighs in a slurry of browned onions slices and pickled peach segments. Served over creamy millet, it’s a winner of a dish come November.

pickled peaches overhead

The eagle-eyed among you might look and this recipe and think that it looks familiar. If you have this thought, you are not wrong. The brine is identical to the one I use for my Gingery Pickled Blueberries and works equally well with peeled pear slices. Pickled fruit. It’s hard to go wrong.

Note: You may notice that in these pictures, the peaches are not peeled, yet in the recipe below, I tell you to peel them. I was feeling particularly lazy the day I made these and skipped the peeling step. If you don’t mind having the skins on, feel free to be like me. However, for a more refined pickled peach, remove the skins.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 19 }

Giveaway: Two Flip Cap Kits

flip caps

Friends, have you seen the Flip Cap yet? It’s the latest product from the folks who make the reCAP Pour lid and it’s pretty terrific. It’s a lid designed to fit on a regular mouth mason jar with an easy opening flip top.

flipped open flip cap

They’re great because they give you easy access to your homemade foods with just a simple flick of the lid. Pop them on your pickles, or the jam your kids reach for most often. They’re also useful if you struggle to open a screw top lids (my grandmother would have loved them).

flip cap add-ons

They also make a pair of shaker tops for the flip caps, which attach with a simple twist. I have a jar of homemade citrus salt that I plan on pairing with the fine shaker top so that I use it more (as things stand, it often gets pushed to the back of the shelf).

flip cap with wide screen

I have two of the Flip Cap Kits to give away this week. Each winner will get a Flip Cap and a set of screens to to fit. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you’d use a Flip Cap in your kitchen.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Sunday, September 6, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Monday, September 7, 2015.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents only (and is void where prohibited).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.

Disclosure: The folks at reCAP provided the sets you see pictured here and the units for giveaway. They are also Food in Jars sponsors. However, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

Canning Projects for Late August + Reminders

bowl of peaches

I am about to dash off to teach a weekend-long workshop up at the Omega Institute, but I wanted to drop in with a couple reminders as well as some suggestions for good things to can this time of year.

First up is a reminder that tomorrow is last day to get your first month of MightyNest’s MightyFix for free (it’s $10 a month after that). Make sure to use the widget in this blog post to get that deal.

Our friends over at Fillmore Container are sponsoring a couple giveaways right now and I thought you guys might like to know so you can toss your hats in the proverbial ring. On their blog, they’re offering up a Mason Jar Meal Kit to help with packing lunches and eating well. And over at Countryside Magazine, you have a chance to win a water bath canner and a Fillmore Container gift card.

Finally, the winner of last week’s Wusthof Clip Point Paring Knife giveaway is #290/Amelia.

peach mostarda

Peach Mostarda. This tangy, slightly spicy condiment is wonderful with cheese or cured meats. I’ve also used it as a component in braised chicken thighs, to very good results.

peaches in the pan

My Low Sugar Spiced Peach Jam is a winner for anyone looking to capture the flavor of summer without bogging down their jam with buckets of sugar. It’s a classic and is delicious on a nut or seed butter sandwich.

finished plum jam

This Plum Cardamom Jam works beautifully with the late summer Italian prune plums that I’m seeing in the markets these days and a jar makes a very nice holiday gift. And speaking of plums, these pickled slices are awfully good as well.

peach chutney

On the honey sweetened front, might I suggest either this chutney, a slow cooker butter, or my beloved lazy peach preserves?

So, those are my suggestions. Now it’s your turn. Tell me what you’re preserving this weekend!

Comments { 18 }