Cookbooks: Canning, Pickling, and Freezing with Irma Harding

Irma Harding cover

In the 1940s and 1950s, the company International Harvester had a fictional spokesperson named Irma Harding (much like the beloved Betty Crocker). She was the face of their refrigeration division and helped women across the country learn to prepare food for the fridge, freezer, and the canning pot.

Irma Harding spine

In recent years, Irma Harding was mostly forgotten, but in a new book by Marilyn McCray, her memory has been heartily revived. Canning, Pickling, and Freezing with Irma Harding is a volume that serves up the history of Irma herself, along with chapters detailing a number of food preservation techniques.

Irma Harding testing page

Each chapter features both a words of wisdom from Irma, along with relevant and up-to-date information about how to safely pickle, jam, can, ferment, and freeze food. Many sections also have useful line drawings instead of pictures for illustration. They are both whimsically vintage in look, but entirely accurate.

Irma Harding fermenting

If you want a little dose of canning history with your instructions and recipes, this book would make for a fun addition to your preserving library.

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Livestream Canning Demo at the Chemical Heritage Foundation

peach salsa demo at Linvillla

This picture is not of me at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, but it’s one of the few I have of me demonstrating somewhere.

Friends! Just a quick note to let you know that I’m doing a pair of canning demonstrations tonight at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Old City, Philadelphia. These demos are part of First Friday events and are free and open to the public (should you want to stop by).

If you can’t make it in person, CHF will also be streaming the both presentations live (5:30 and 6:45), so you can see me in action, even if you’re far away.

I have embedded the livestream code after the jump in this blog post, so you can watch directly from this page. Or, if that’s not working in an ideal manner, you can also watch here.

Finally, if you can’t catch one of the demos live, they will live on indefinitely on the CHF Youtube page.

Continue Reading →

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Peach Vanilla Drizzle

peach vanilla drizzle vertical

Nearly two weeks ago, I bought a 25 pound case of visually imperfect peaches. They were a little hard when I first got them, so I arranged them on rimmed cookie sheets and set them around the apartment, pretending all the while that it is entirely normal to have a half bushel of fruit ripening on every surface of one’s home (this week, I have trays of Italian plums scattered about).

By day five, many of the peaches were perfectly ripe and so I began to preserve. I tested some recipes for the new book (the honey sweetened peach rosemary jam with a touch of salt was revelatory), and made a batch of peach salsa for my personal pantry. I was weary of peeling, so I convinced myself I was letting the rest of the peaches ripen up while I took a break from the canning pot.

peach drizzle pot

And then, on Tuesday, I realized I’d let things go a little too far. The remaining peaches were heady with fragrance and speckled with brown soft spots. I took them to the kitchen and started to cull. I threw away the furthest gone fruit and set about to salvage the remaining useful bits.

After an hour spent trimming, I had 8 cups of usable peach hunks. I combined the chopped (but unpeeled) fruit in a pan with 2 split and scraped vanilla beans and 2 cups of sugar. As soon as the sugar was dissolved, I popped a cover on the pan and shoved it in the oven at 350 degrees F for a couple hours (can you tell that I was feeling a little weary of dealing with fruit?).

peach vanilla drizzle labels

Once two hours had passed, I pulled the pan out of the oven and fished out the vanilla beans. Then I pulled out my beloved immersion blender and blitzed the peaches until they were entirely smooth. I tasted, added the juice of 1 lemon for balance, and pureed again.

Once I liked the flavor, I poured it into a collection of half and quarter pint jars (the yield was 3 1/2 pints when all was said and done) and processed them in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

peach drizzle in orchard road jars

The end result is a product that exists someplace between a syrup and fruit butter. It’s sweeter and thinner than my standard butters, but manages to have far more body than your standard syrup.

I’m calling it a drizzle, because it does just that very nicely. I ate the two tablespoons that wouldn’t fit into a jar over yogurt, but it would be a great pancake or waffle topper. If you’ve got some end-of-season stonefruit that is giving you fits, I highly recommend this treatment.

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October Sponsors: Cuppow, Felix Doolittle, Spice Ratchet, Fillmore Container, Orchard Road, and Mrs. Wages

Cuppow with straw

It’s the first of the month and that means that it’s time to dedicate a blog post to the sponsors who help make this site possible. Please do take a moment to read this post and if they offer something that clicks for you, I know they would so appreciate your business.

First up is jar accessory maker Cuppow! They are 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. I’ll have a terrific giveaway from them later this month!

Next up is Felix Doolittle (you may remember them from the giveaway post I hosted back in July). They make whimsical labels for canning jars, cookbooks, and other food gifts. As you prep jars for holiday giving, consider getting some custom labels printed to make your gifts pop.

Back for again is Spice Ratchet. They make the blossom trivet that I use as a canning rack, and just recently, they released a line of silicone Blossom uCaps for mason jars. They are available as a storage cap, a sipping cap, and a flower frog. I’ve been using

Back for a second month is Orchard Road. They are new-to-market makers of mason jars, lids, and rings for home canners. Their online store is now open for business, so you can now order them straight from the source.

Next is our friends at Fillmore Container. They sell all manner of canning jars and lids, as well as a handful of books and jar accessories. They’re a family-owned business based in Lancaster, PA and they happily work with home canners and commercial producers alike. I’ll be paying them a visit on October 11 for a day of canning workshops. Click here for details.

Mrs. Wages is also back for another month of canning goodness! I’ve written for them for the last three summers and this year, we’re teaming up for an official partnership. They make all sorts of pectins and canning mixes. Make sure to sign up for their newsletter for monthly installments of canning goodness.

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Giveaway: New Products from EcoJarz

EcoJarz giveaway products

One of the continuing joys of running this site is having a professional mandate to stay on top of the many different products people are making to work with mason jars. Back when I started writing, you could get screens for seed sprouting in canning jars, but that was about it. Now we live in a time when you can turn jars into travel mugs, cocktail shakers, spice jars, and even nut choppers.

EcoJarz is one company that have been consistently innovating in the area of mason jar attachments and recently they sent me three of their new products to try out.

blendit

The first item is a sturdy coiled spring called a Blendit. It’s designed to be popped into a mason jar when you want to shake something up. It’s a useful tool for emulsifying salad dressings or mixing protein powder into liquid.

ecojarz dose

Next up is the EcoJarz Dose. It’s a pour over coffee brewer that attaches snugly to a wide mouth mason. It comes with stainless steel filter, a stamper, a stainless steel flat lid, and a reusable cloth filter. The whole thing packs down to fit into a wide mouth pint jar, so it can go on the road with you.

jarhugger holster

Last up is the JarHugger Holster. It’s a demin cozy (complete with pocket) that helps pad your jars and allows you to take them on the go. It comes with EcoJarz standard drink top converter as well.

The nice folks at EcoJarz have offered up five sets of the products described up above for this week’s giveaway. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what your dream mason jar add-on product would be. Does it already exist? Or do you long to invent something new?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, October 4, 2014. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog by the end of the day on Sunday, October 5, 2014.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.

Disclosure: EcoJarz sent me the items you see above for testing and photography purposes. They are also providing the prizes for the giveaway. No additional compensation was provided. 

Upcoming Events: Philly! Princeton! Lancaster!

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

The book tour frenzy is quieting down, but there are still ways to see me over the next few weeks. If you’ve been thinking about picking up a copy of one of my books for a gift, come on out!

September 30, Philadelphia
It’s the final meal in the series of preserving-focused dinner at High Street at 9 pm. You come, you have a lovely meal, I say a few words about canning and preserving, and you head off into the night. It costs just $25 and you can call (215) 625-0988 to reserve your seat.

October 2, Downingtown, PA
I’ll be demonstrating small batches of jam and book signing at the Growing Roots Partners Farmers Markets, 3-8 pm.

October 3, Old City, Philadelphia
I’ll be at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Old City for a pair of small batch jam demonstrations at their monthly First Friday event. Demos are at 5:30 and 6:45 pm and the evening is entirely free. I’ll have books available for sale and signature. This event will also be livestreamed and once I have the link, I’ll share it.

October 4, South Philadelphia
I’ll be at Fante’s in the Italian Market from 11 am – 2 pm to demonstrate my small batch technique and to sign copies of Preserving by the Pint. This is a free, drop-in event.

October 5, Havertown, PA
I’m teaming up with the nice folks at the Havertown Free Library to teach another hands on class. This time we’re making pickles! The class runs from 2-4 pm and costs just $5 to sign up (it’s a steal of a deal). Click here to sign up.

October 8, Swarthmore, PA
I’ll be teaching a canning class Harvey Oak Mercantile from 6-8 pm. There will be books available for sale and signature. Registration details to come.

October 9, Princeton, NJ
Thanks to a friend who has made all the arrangements, I’m headed to Princeton to offer a batch canning demonstration at the Whole Earth Center. Event is from 7-9 pm and tickets can be obtained here. Books will be available!

October 11, Lancaster, PA
I’m spending a Saturday at Fillmore Container, offering a pair of canning classes in their warehouse. The first class is from 10 am – 12 noon, in which we’ll focus on preserving pears in batches large and small (including information about how to use Pomona’s Pectin). From 1-3 pm, we’ll dig into how to preserve tomatoes, including how to make tomato jam and how to preserve whole peeled tomatoes. To register for both classes (they’re $35 a piece), click here. We’re also going to offer a book signing at the end of the day.

October 12, Cherry Hill, NJ
I’m hopping over the bridge to South Jersey for a small batch jam demonstration and book signing at Williams-Sonoma at the Cherry Hill Mall. The event is from 1-3 pm and is free and open to all.

October 14, Philadelphia
I’m teaching a sauerkraut class at the German Society of Pennsylvania from 7-9 pm. Everyone will make their own quart jar of sauerkraut to take home with them. Class fee is $15 and you can register by emailing librarian@germansociety.org. More details about this class can be found here.

October 18, Philadelphia
Canning demos and book signing at the Weaver’s Way Farm at Saul HS Harvest on Henry Festival. I’ll do a couple of demonstrations and will help judge the pie contest! More details can be found here. The festival runs from 1-5 pm and is open to all.

 

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