Sponsored Post: Growing Heirloom Tomatoes Class Giveaway from Craftsy

growing heirloom tomatoes

For most of my adult life, I’ve lived in an apartment without so much as a square foot of outdoor space. In the wintertime, it’s a boon because it means that I’m not responsible for shoveling snow, but during the summer months, I am keenly aware of the fact that I don’t have any place to grow a little bit of food.

Years ago, there was a brief but glorious period when I had a plot in a community garden and tended my own teeny time patch of land. Of course, when I started spending the bulk of my summers traveling to teach classes and promote cookbooks, it wasn’t something I could sustain and so I surrendered my little garden.

Click here to enter for a chance to win Growing Heirloom Tomatoes! 

heirloom tomatoes

Of all the things I grew, I got the most satisfaction from the tomato plants. Of course, my yields weren’t particularly great, but I loved doing it and playing a role in such a delicious miracle.

As I think ahead to next summer, I’m starting to wonder if I might be able to get my hands on a garden plot again (I’m really hoping to make next year a bit more mellow than this season has been). However, before I set plants to soil, one thing I would do would be to take Marie Iannotti’s Craftsy class, Growing Heirloom Tomatoes in order to maximize my success.

scooping heirloom tomato

Because they want to help spread the word about this most excellent class, the folks at Craftsy are offering up one registration for giveaway to a Food in Jars reader. Just click the link below to enter (it will take you over to Craftsy, where you’ll create an account with them in order to toss your hat in the ring).

Click here to enter for a chance to win Growing Heirloom Tomatoes! 

All photos in this post are printed here courtesy of Craftsy. I don’t have any tomato images that are nearly so beautiful.

For more about this series of sponsored posts and my year-long partnership with Craftsy, please visit this post.

Official disclosure statement: This is sponsored post from Craftsy. I was compensated for this post. However, all opinions remain my own.

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Cherry Preserves with Honey and Rosemary for the Whole Journeys Challenge + Giveaway

Sweet Cherry Preserves with Honey and Rosemary | Food in Jars

While I was out on the west coast a few weeks back, I got an email from a very nice woman from the Whole Foods Market corporate offices. She was writing because they’ve recently launched a travel company called Whole Journeys and were partnering with bloggers as a way of shining some light on some of their featured trips and destinations.

halved cherries | Food in Jars

In this particular round of promotion, they were inviting a few bloggers to create a preserve would combine seasonal produce with an ingredient from one of the regions visited on a Whole Journeys itinerary.

Despite my crazy schedule, I just couldn’t say no to this very interesting recipe development challenge. Plus, they were kicking in a gift card to cover supplies and another one to give away to a FiJ reader (more about that at the end of the post).

mountain forest honey | Food in Jars

When I got back to Philadelphia, there was a package waiting for me that contained a few jelly jars, a little tub of raw mountain honey, and a sheaf of paper telling me all about the Dolomites, which is a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps.

honey cherry rosemary | Food in Jars

I spent a goodly amount of time wondering what I could make that would be both appropriately Italian and evoke a mountainous region. So much time, in fact, that I missed the challenge deadline and still didn’t have a plan. Oops.

cooking cherries | Food in Jars

Last Thursday, I stopped thinking and started canning. One of the details included in the material they sent was the fact that the Dolomites is known for cheeses, speck (it’s a lovely, smokey cured ham), and wines. I decided to make a preserve that would go nicely with all those things.

dirty pot | Food in Jars

I took 2 1/2 pounds of cherries, split them in half, popped out the pits and piled them in a low wide Dutch oven. I added the honey that had come in my box (it was a 16 ounce jar), along with a fragrant stem of rosemary (I brought a gallon size bag of rosemary clipped from a giant shrub in my parents’ front yard back to Philly with me). I let it sit for a bit, until the honey dissolved and the cherries released some juice.

empty jar | Food in Jars

Once it was juicy, I put the pot on the stove and brought it to a boil. I cooked it at a rapid bubble for about 20 minutes, until the cherries softened and the syrup thickened a bit. I didn’t add any pectin because I wasn’t going for a jam, but instead wanted tender cherries in a rosemary and honey flavored syrup. Towards the end of cooking, I added the juice of one lemon and just a pinch of sea salt, to help sharpen the finished flavor.

spoonful of preserved cherries | Food in Jars

The preserve is a perfect accompaniment for cheese and cured meats, so I think I hit my mark. It’s one that I look forward to cracking open later in the fall when the evenings turn crisp and the days shorten.

Now, the giveaway. I have one $50 gift certificate to send out to one of you. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you would have made given the same challenge!
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, July 26, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, July 27, 2014.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

For more about Whole Journeys, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: Whole Foods Market gave me a gift card to cover the cost of supplies for this challenge (along with a few jars and a little tub of honey) and has also provided the $50 gift card for this giveaway. My thoughts and opinions remain, as always, entirely my own.

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Links: Fermenters, Pickles, and a Winner

My food swap offering tonight? Salted butterscotch squares and Italian plum star anise jam.

I spent the weekend in Orlando at the Food and Wine Conference (it’s put on by the team behind Sunday Supper). I gave a short talk, but mostly spent my time catching up with Maggie and Merry Jennifer, and soaking up all the good knowledge and experience that the rest of the presenters and bloggers had to share. It was good and I’m so glad I went. Now, links!

felix doolittle labels

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Felix Doolittle giveaway! The winner is #159/Erin. She said, “Oh what beautiful labels! I would choose the fox branch label.” Happily, you’ll be able to just that, Erin! Enjoy!

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Newsletters, Email Subscriptions, RSS Feeds, and More

How to subscribe to Food in Jars

I realized a while back that some people are totally confused by the various methods of communication I have listed on this site. So, in the hopes of clarifying things a little, I’m writing this blog post to show you the differences in the various methods and how you can sign up for each.

First up is the newsletter. This is an email I send out about once every two weeks. It details my upcoming events, rounds up some of my favorite recent blog posts, and very occasionally includes an exclusive recipe.

Next is the RSS Feed. If you use a feed reader like Feedly or Bloglovin, this is the button for you. You can either follow this link or just paste my URL into the “add content” field in your feed reader of choice.

Finally, there’s the Subscribe via RSS option. If you sign up for this, you will get a copy of every blog post I write delivered to your email inbox. I think that there are lots of you who sign up for the newsletter who are really looking for this option. Now you know!

In addition to these options, I regularly post my happenings, blog entries, and upcoming events to TwitterFacebookPinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr. If one or two of those are your preferred channels, please do follow there as well.

If you have any questions about any of this, please do let me know. You can either leave a comment on this post, or you can drop me a line via my contact form.

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Cookbooks: Pick a Pickle and Pickles & Preserves

two pickle books

We are in the thick of the canning season now. Pickling cucumbers are appearing in heaps at the farmers markets and orchards are selling summer stone fruit by the bushel basket. If ever there was a time to add a new recipe or two to your repertory, now is it.

This summer, there have been a few books that keep floating to the top of my stack as I search out a fresh crop of preserves. Two that I haven’t yet mentioned here on the blog are Pick a Pickle and Pickles and Preserves.

pick a pickle splayed

Pick a Pickle comes to us from celebrity chef and regular Top Chef judge, Hugh Acheson (he’s also a spokesperson for Ball). This charming but unwieldy paint chip-style books contains 50 recipes for a wide array of pickles, relishes, condiments, and vinegars.

I like the looks of many of the recipes in this book, but I find it so hard to physically maneuver that I keep getting frustrated and surrendering before ever managing to cook from it. I also find one element of the recipes slightly strange, in that he never gives processing times. Instead, we are told for all canning-safe recipes to, “Cap with lids and bands, cool for 2 hours, and then either refrigerate or process according to the jar manufacturer’s directions.”

classic chow chow

Knowing that processing time varies depending on density, acid content, and the size of the jars, it seems impossible to me that the jar manufacturer would have processing times available for the specific recipes Acheson has included in this book. It’s as if we are not actually expected to preserve from it.

Still, I find the ideas compelling enough that I regularly pick it up, read a few cards (just until inspiration strikes), and then head for the kitchen with a kernel of an idea that was born thanks to Pick a Pickle.

pickles & preserves

Next up is Pickles and Preserves by North Carolina-based food writer Andrea Weigl. Published by the University of North Carolina University Press, as part of their Savor the South series, this slim hardback book offers a carefully edited array of beloved southern preserves. You’ll find everything from sweet potato butter to a flexible batch of vegetable relish, designed to help use up odds and ends from an end-of-season garden.

corn sweet pepper relish

The only flaw that some might find in this book is its lack of photography. However, I found that Weigl is such an able writer that her words painted images enough to illustrate this collection. For lovers of southern preserves, as well as those looking for accessible recipes with a no-nonsense attitude, this book is a good one.

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Preservation Dinner at High Street on July 22

High Street course 1

Back in May, Chef Eli Kulp and I decided to team up for a series of dinner at High Street that would feature seasonal preserves. The first dinner was on June 3 and was a riot of delicious courses that all highlighted fresh, seasonal preserves. The second dinner in our series is Tuesday, July 22 and with summer produce beginning to reach its zenith, it is going to be well worth attending.

(The pictures in this post are from that June meal. Please forgive the focus issues, the room was quite dim).

High Street course 2

The way the night works is that you come in, get settled at a table and order a drink if you so desire. Sometime after the first course is served, I’ll come around to your table to say hi and see how you’re doing.

Soon after the second course shows up, I’ll say a few words about canning, preserving, and some of the delicious things that are currently in season. I’ll have copies of Preserving by the Pint with me and am also entirely delighted to sign copies you already own.

High Street scallops

The cost is $25 per person (plus beverages, tax, and gratuity). The menu will be released at 12 noon, the day of the meal and service begins promptly at 9 pm. Reservations are highly recommended, and you can make them by calling (215) 625-0988.

And if you can’t make the dinner next week, mark your calendar for September 30. That’s the night of the final dinner, which

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