Links: Quick Pickles, Creamy Nut Butters, and a Winner

breakfast with tea and jam

Throughout my high school and college years, it happened without fail. The moment the stress and pressure of the semester had passed, I’d come down with a cold, the flu, or some other strange virus that would force me to do nothing but rest and watch bad TV for at least a week.

I thought I was done with that kind of stress-related sickness, but apparently old patterns are hard to break. The moment we were through with my mother-in-law’s memorial service and had done the bulk of the cleaning out of her apartment, I came down with something resembling the flu. I spent most of the last week in bed or on the couch, trying to sleep my way back to health.

I finally feel better today and it’s not a moment too soon, since I leave for IACP and then book tour activities next week! Fingers crossed that my health holds out! Now, links!

New Ball Jars - Food in Jars

The winner of last week’s fabulous Ball Canning giveaway is #479/J. Anderson. Congratulations and enjoy the jar bounty!

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Giveaway: New Products from Ball Home Canning

New Ball Jars - Food in Jars

For the last several springs, Jarden Home Brands (maker of our beloved Ball Jars) has brought out limited edition colored jars as part of their Heritage Collection. The first year, they released pint sized blue jars with a regular mouth. In year two, we got green jars, in a wide mouth quart and a regular mouth pint. Last spring delivered purple jars in wide mouth quarts and regular mouth pints.

New Ball Product Line 2016 - Food in Jars

Sometime back in the fall, I’d heard that there wasn’t going to be a Heritage Collection this spring. I took that to mean that there wasn’t going to be any new products at all. Happily, I was very, very wrong. Late last week, two giant boxes filled with jar goodness landed on my doorstep. I’ve been looking forward to sharing the fun with you all, so let’s dig in.

New Blue Jars from Ball - Food in Jars

First up is all the new jars. I was delighted to see the new Collection Elite Color Series Jars, which currently come in blue and are available in regular mouth half pint, wide mouth pint, and wide mouth quart. What’s particularly exciting is that these jars are here to stay. They’re not a limited release like the previous Heritage Collections were. They’re sold in cases of four and the price ranges from $7.99 to 9.99.

New Half Gallon Ball Jar - Food in Jars

Next up is the Super-Wide Mouth Half Gallon Jar (the round jelly jar is just there to give you a sense of scale. We’ll talk about those in a minute). Much like the gallon version that’s been available for the last few years (I have two of them!) this jar is designed to be used for food storage, as a design element, and in crafting applications.

You could use these jars for refrigerator pickles and fermentation, but the lid isn’t designed to be in contact with acidic ingredients and would eventually corrode. I find these do best with dry goods or tea bags. This jar typically retails for $9.99. [Ball | Amazon]

Round Jelly Jars - Food in Jars

Now, to the round jelly jars, brought back by popular demand. Their official name is the Ball Collection Elite Design Series Jam Jar and this jar wasn’t been in production since 2006 (though you can often find them in thrift stores and at rummage sales). They hold 8 ounces of product, have a cheerful fruit-themed embossed exterior, and are sold in packages of four for $5.49.

Pour and Measure New Lids - Food in Jars

Also new to the product line this season are lids. You’ll find blue metallic lids and bands in the Collection Elite Color Series (in both regular and wide mouth) as well as a nifty new Pour & Measure Cap. I’m especially excited about the Pour & Measure Cap, because it offers a new way to serve from a mason jar.

The bottom half of the cap remains screwed onto the jar and the top half pulls off with a gentle tug, revealing two pouring options. I can see using it for milk (when you need room and so pour the remains of a bulky container into a smaller one) or homemade yogurt. The only thing I wish is that it had a silicone seal, to prevent any chance of leakage.

The blue lids and bands retail for $3.99 to 5.49. The Pour & Measure Cap costs $3.99 when purchased independently or $5.99 for a cap and jar combination.

Pour and Measure Cap - Food in Jars

Thanks to the good people at Jarden Home Brands/Ball Canning, I have one set of everything you see pictured in this post up for giveaway. You’ll get all the new blue jars, the super wide mouth half gallon, the round jelly jars (I’ll have another chance for you to win some of those in the coming weeks, as well), the blue metallic lids, and the pour cap to give away to a very lucky person. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and me which item in this post you’re most excited about
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, March 19, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, March 20, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States only (so sorry!). Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Jarden Home Brands sent me everything you see pictured here for photography and review purposes. They’re also provided a second set for the giveaway. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

Upcoming Events: Greensgrow! Local Mouthful Potluck!

class image revised

Friends! My west coast book tour is coming very, very soon! However, before I fly off California, Oregon, and Washington, I want to make sure you guys knew about a couple Philly area events I have coming up this week.

First off is an Introduction to Natural Sweeteners class at Greensgrow Farms this Saturday, March 19 from 12 noon to 2 pm. I’ll show you the basics of how to swap these sweeteners into your favorite recipes, teach you how to use Pomona’s Pectin to get a good set, and make sure that you go home feeling comfortable with the canning process from beginning to end. We’ll make honey sweetened pear jam and blueberry jam sweetened with fruit juice.

Next up is the first ever Local Mouthful Cookbook Club potluck. Local Mouthful is a weekly podcast I’ve been making since last summer with fellow food writer Joy Manning. In January, we kicked off a cookbook club as part of the podcast, always with the goal to turn it into a mechanism to get together with fellow food lovers in the real world.

This Sunday, March 20 is the first of those real life gatherings. We’ll be holding a potluck at CultureWorks Philadelphia at 5 pm. All we ask is that you sign up in advance so that we know that you’re coming and that you bring a dish from one of the books we’ve focused on this year so far – Lucky Peach’s 101 Easy Asian Recipes, The New Persian Kitchen, or The Indian Family Kitchen.

Click here for my complete calendar of events

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Links: Canning Myths, Co-ops, and a Winner

January 26

Slowly but surely, we’re making our way back to normal again. My mother-in-law’s memorial is now behind us. The apartment is mostly back together after hosting the family for sandwiches, cookies, and comforting beverages. And we’ve made headway in clearing out her apartment.

It’s been an exceptionally bittersweet time, because as much as my heart is heavy, there’s also been a goodly amount of joy. Amazon started shipping Naturally Sweet Food in Jars last week and I’ve been heard from so many of you that you have it in your hands, that you’re flagging recipes, and that you’re even already cooking from it. It’s been a real bright spot in a bleak time.

Now, some links.

Beyond Canning Cover - Food in Jars

The winner of the Beyond Canning giveaway is #55/WendP. Congratulations!

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Other People’s Preserves: Genki-Su Drinking Vinegar

Genki-Su Drinking Vinegar - Food in Jars

Other People’s Preserve is my opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the very delicious jams, pickles, and preserved foods being made by some of the many dedicated professionals out there. If you see one of these products out in the wild, consider picking up a jar, tub, or bottle!

I first became aware of drinking vinegars (also known as shrubs) about five years ago, and started making my own soon afterwards (here’s the very first recipe I posted!). These days, not a week goes by when I make myself a concoction of sparkling water and a splash of sweet and tangy drinking vinegar.

Spoonful of Genki-Su - Food in Jars

When I first started making my own drinking vinegars, there were hardly any commercial versions available, but happily a number of small batch makers and producers have jumped into the fray in the last few years. One that I’ve been enjoying is Genki-Su. Made by hand in Portland, OR and using their old Japanese family recipes, these shrubs are brightly flavored and highly concentrated.

Drinking Vinegar and Seltzer - Food in Jars

Their product line currently consists of five flavors – Yuzu-Citron, Nashi (Asian Pear), Ginger-Honey, Shiso, and Cranberry. Of those five, I tried the Ginger-Honey and the Shiso. The first was earthy, with gentle heat coming from the ginger. The shiso variety is herbaceous and wonderfully green.

As we head into warmer days, there’s nothing like a little splash of drinking vinegar in a tall glass of fizzy water (gin or vodka are also nice additions!).

Disclosure: The folks at Genki-Su sent the two bottles pictured here for review purposes. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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Links: Jam Bars, Kinda Bars, and Winners

honey sweetened lemon curd

Friends, things are quite sad over here at Food in Jars HQ. My mother-in-law died on Sunday morning. She had spent the last nine months struggling with metastatic colorectal cancer and had gone into hospice just a week and a half ago. We knew the end was near, but we didn’t expect it to arrive quite so quickly. Right now, we’re wading through the details and arrangements, trying to keep our heads above the fog of grief.

I have a couple posts lined up for the next few days, but on the whole, posting it going to be a little bit slow around these parts during the later part of this week. Thank you for your compassion and understanding.

Now, some links.

New Cuppow Colors - Food in Jars

Here are the winners in last week’s Cuppow/BNTO giveaway.

I will email all the winners in the next couple days. And don’t forget to enter the Beyond Canning giveaway I’m running this week. It’s such a fantastic book!

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