Tag Archives | 2016

Gift Guide 2016: Stocking Stuffers

We’re in the final stretch before Christmas and the start of Hanukkah. Thus far in my series of short gift guides, I’ve featured a couple upgrades for the canner who has it all, things I give to my favorite coffee lovers, and lovely things for your favorite home cook. In this, the final gift guide, we’re talking stocking stuffers. These are all relatively small, useful, affordable items that I reach for all the time.

1. AnySharp Pro – This is a small, powerful knife blade sharpener that suctions to your countertop and makes quick work of your knives and scissors. It doesn’t entirely replace occasionally professional sharpening, but it’s a huge help on busy cooking days.

2. Cuppow – The classic Cuppow is perfect for any jar lover looking to expand the utility of their jar stash. Pair one with a skinny glass straw for a waste-free way to drink more water.

3. GIR Wine Stoppers – These low-profile silicone wine stoppers make a leak-proof seal on all manner of bottles and look good doing it.

4. GIR Scraper – The best tool for easing sticky bread doughs and batters out of mixing bowls. I use mine nearly every time I bake.

5. The Ringer – Made from stainless steel chainmail, this scrubber is designed to remove tough bits of food from cast iron while leaving your seasoning intact.

6. Bürstenhaus Redecker Bottle Brush – I have used a lot of bottle brushes in my day, but this the best one ever. You can tell I use it a lot, because when I grabbed it for this picture, it hadn’t had time to dry between uses.

7. ThermoPop – The best little instant read thermometer money can buy.

8. Blossom Trivet – Good for canning and for protecting your surfaces from hot dishes.

9. Caramel Pot – Years ago, a PR firm sent me this little pot from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s cookware line. I use it all the time. It’s great for caramel sauces, but is also magical for homemade bechamel and cheese sauces.

10. Stuff Every Cook Should Know – Written by my friend and Local Mouthful co-host Joy Manning, this little book is packed with useful tips and information for home cooks of all skillsets.

And that wraps up my gift guide series for another year. May your holiday celebrations be joyous!

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The 2016 Class of Canning, Preserving, and Culinary DIY Books

In need of a new canning, preserving or DIY book for the holiday season? Look no further than this list of books published in 2016!

Oh friends, this last year was a very good one for canning and preserving books. I’ve done a thorough search of my shelves and stacks and have come up with 18 lovely volumes that came out in 2016. Let’s flip through the stack!

The Forager’s Feast – Written by Leda Meredith, this book contains everything you need to know about foraging wild edibles and transforming them into all manner of tasty things. If I can ever find enough rose hips, I plan on making the Rose Hip Freezer Jam. (Amazon | Powell’s)

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars – My third canning book, this volume features recipes sweetened with honey, maple, agave, coconut sugar, fruit juice concentrates, and dried fruits. It makes a fabulous gift for anyone who is looking to reduce the amount of refined sugar in their home cooking. (Amazon | Powell’s)

A Prepper’s Cookbook – While not specifically a canning or preserving book, this slim paperback by Deborah D. Moore is an incredibly useful volume for those of us who have a homemade pantry that we’re trying to put into better use.  (Amazon | Powell’s)

The Big Book of Kombucha – I’ve been a semi-regular kombucha brewer for years with mixed success. It wasn’t until a copy of this hefty book by Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory came my way that I actually starting having consistent success with my finished product. (Amazon | Powell’s)

Preserving Italy – This book by Domenica Marchetti is the best one on the market about canning, preserving, curing, and infusing in the Italian style. If you’re looking to make jams, cured meats, pickles, and liqueurs like the ones your nonna used to make, this volume should be on your shelf. More here. (Amazon | Powell’s)

Foolproof Preserving – Written by a team from America’s Test Kitchen, this book is a nice addition to the small batch canon. I don’t love that so many of the recipes aren’t safe for a water bath, but the flavor combinations are spot-on and recipe variety is appealing. More here. (Amazon | Powell’s)

The Art of the Cheese Plate – On the face, this book by Tia Keenan doesn’t much look like it belongs in this stack. But any cheese plate book worth its salt contains a trove of recipes for tiny batches of fabulous condiments and boy, does this one deliver. There’s sweet potato butter, apple chutney, pickled blueberries, and so much more. (Amazon | Powell’s)

The Modern Preserver – This charming book by UK-based professional preserver Kylee Newton bursts with appealing recipes and beautiful pictures. There is nothing in this volume that I don’t want make and many things I wish I’d thought of first. More here. (Amazon | Powell’s)

Food Swap – Whether you’re an active food swapper or not, there is so much in Emily Paster’s useful and clever book to like. It’s got jams, pickles, syrups, and baked goods, all that travel well, are easy to create, and make great gifts. (Amazon | Powell’s)

Beyond Canning – Smoky carrot coins. Banana ketchup. Hibicus lime jelly. You’ll find those things and so much more in this creative and varied book by Autumn Giles. If you’re tired of the same old thing, this book will breathe new life into your canning practice. More here. (Amazon | Powell’s)

The Cultured Club – I picked up this book while in Ireland in October. Written by fermentation expert Dearbhla Reynolds, it contains a wild range of ferments (fermented potato mash and lacto-fermented pestos!) and I can’t wait to explore it even more than I already have. (Amazon)

Batch – This massive book by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison is the most comprehensive preserving book that we saw this year. It contains more than 200 recipes for jamming, pickling, dehydrating, infusing, and fermenting as well as  cooking, baking, using, and serving those varied preserves. It’s a must-have for avid canners. More here. (Amazon | Powell’s)

Not Your Mama’s Canning Book – This book by Rebecca Lindamood is totally brilliant. When I first opened it up and flipped through the recipes, I found myself wished fervently that I’d thought of the Instant Hummus-In-A-Jar or the Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie filling first. The recipes are unusual, approachable, and unlike anything else you have on your shelves. (Amazon | Powell’s)

Canning for a New Generation – The updated and expanded edition of this now-classic book by Liana Krissoff was published this summer and it’s even better than the original. If you don’t have the first edition on your shelf already, make sure to seek out this new one. (Amazon | Powell’s)

The Joy of Pickling – Another new edition of an old favorite, this volume by Linda Ziedrich is another must-have for an avid canner. An earlier version of this book was my first pickling primer and I’m delighted to have this edition, with its expanded section on pickling theory. (Amazon | Powell’s)

The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving – This new giant Ball book is gorgeously photographed and exhaustively tested. I’ll confess that I didn’t manage to use any of the recipes this summer, but everytime I flip through its pages, something catches my eye and I add it to my to-make list. (Amazon | Powell’s)

The New Milks – It’s a tiny bit of a stretch to include this book by Dina Cheney on this list, but its sneaking through on its DIY cred. I like it because I dig the non-dairy milks and I appreciate all the ideas for how to use them in my cooking and baking. (Amazon | Powell’s)

Fermented Foods at Every Meal – You’ve got a fridge full of fermented foods, but you struggle to use them up. Hayley Barisa Ryczek is here to help you weave those ferments into every meal of the day. So smart! (Amazon | Powell’s)

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Gift Guide 2016: Things for Your Favorite Home Cook

Here we are with the third installment of my brief gift guide series. In the title of this post, I call this a guide for your favorite home cook, but really I had my sister in mind when I put this list together. She has two young boys, cooks a lot, and loves to have friends over casual dinners. If you’ve got someone like her on your list, I imagine they’d love any one of the items on this list.

1. How to Celebrate Everything – This book by Dinner: A Love Story blogger Jenny Rosenstrach is perfect for parents of young kids who are in the process of building their family rituals and traditional celebrations.

2. A Beautiful Cutting Board – A lovely board is an easy way to up your cheese board game and make it look like you’ve put more effort into your array of snacks than you did.

3. Wooden Weck Jar Lids – These pretty lids transform Weck jars into storage canisters. They come in a variety of sizes and would make a fabulous present for a jar lover.

4. Tart Cherry Jam from Three Springs Fruit Farm – A delicious preserve for someone who loves tart cherries but either can’t get them in their region, or just didn’t have time to can this summer. It’s been made with my recipe, so you know it has to be good. Use the code FoodInJars at check-out for 10% off your order.

5. Salve from Folk Potions – This time of year is rough on hands, particularly if you cook and do dishes. Treat your favorite cook to a tin of All Purpose Salve-Vation or a jar of Shea Mango Body Butter to prevent those fingertip splits and cracks.

6. Old Blue Raw Honey – Sweet, sustainable, and raised by good people, this honey is some of the best I’ve had. The limited edition Winter Honey Sampler is an especially great option, because it’s a way to taste flavor variations and is really fun to pair with cheese.

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Gift Guide 2016: For the Coffee Lovers

Driftaway Coffee for the Coffee Lover Gift Guide

Today’s gift guide features things that coffee lovers of all stripes would like to receive. These are things that I either use in my own kitchen on a regular basis or am actually planning on giving to a family member this year. Oh, and if you need suggestions for travel mugs and drinking jars, check out last year’s guide on that topic!

1. Driftaway Coffee Subscription – A Driftaway subscription is just the thing to give to someone who is starting to explore the wider world of coffee. Every subscription starts with four 2-ounce packets of freshly roasted, single origin coffees, so that your gift recipient can hone in one their favorite flavors and origins. As they drink through their sampler packs, they use the Driftaway app to input tasting notes and rate the coffees the beans they tried. The folks at Driftaway use those notes and rating to determine what coffee they send next. It’s a delicious and interactive way to get your morning brew!

Coffee dripper and pour over kettle for the Coffee Lover Gift Guide

2. The Little Dripper from Constellation Supply Co. – This lovely ceramic coffee dripper is just the thing for someone who is looking to start a pour over routine, or who is currently using a beat-up plastic dripper and needs an upgrade. It’s sturdy, beautifully made, and comes in three different colors. If that one is out of stock, a classic white Bee House dripper is a nice option as well.

3. Hario Pouring Kettle – These spouted kettles were pricy and hip when they first hit the US market several years ago. Now that the hype has died down, their price has come down and they’ve become more accessible for the average coffee brewer. If you’ve got the patience for the slow pour over technique, it’s great for controlling water flow for the perfect cup.

Handmade mug and milk warmer for the coffee lover gift guide

4. A Beautiful, Handmade Mug – As any coffee drinker knows, while a beautiful mug isn’t required, it sure does improve the experience of your first (or fourth!) cup. Over the years, I’ve amassed a wide collection of lovely, handmade ones that bring me great pleasure. The one pictured here is made by Melissa Bridgman of Bridgman Pottery and is a favorite. If you’re feeling really flush, Melissa offers a three-month subscription wherein the recipient gets a new cup or mug every month.

5. Dansk Milk Warmer – Pots for warming milk come in many different shapes and sizes. The one I use is a vintage Dansk version that I got at an antique mall in Portland last year. The handle was coming off so it was dirt cheap (my dad fixed it for me before I left town). If you can’t hold out for vintage, you’re in luck. This is one of the pieces that Dansk has reissued and you can get it in turquoise, navy, red, or yellow.

Disclosure: The folks from Driftaway sent me some beans to feature in this post. Everything else are items that I use, love, and bought. 

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Gift Guide 2016: Things for the Canner Who Has Everything

gift-guide-canners-everything-1

This week, I’m running a handful of short gift guides featuring some things you might like to give or get this holiday season. I’m kicking off the series with a couple things that you could give to your favorite canner who already has every other canning tool and gadget imaginable.

You might look at this guide and think it’s really short. And it is. You see, I’ve recommended a lot of gear over the years and you just don’t need me to suggest the same things over again (I’ve linked to those prior gift guides below, if you do need more ideas). But these are two things that a canner who has everything he or she needs might just enjoy having.

  1. Wusthof Epicure 2-Piece Prep Set – This lovely knife set is a gorgeous and useful upgrade for anyone who spends lots of time in the kitchen. I’ve had these knives in my tool kit since the spring and I reach for them all the time. The wooden handles are comfortable to hold and just get more gorgeous over time.
  2. GIR Ladle – I’ve used a lot of ladles in my life and this is the best one I’ve encountered. The bowl is made of flexible silicone. That means that you can scrap every last drop of jam out of the pot. It also holds a full cup, which is just enough to fill a half pint jar.

For more gift giving inspiration, check out some of my gift guides for years past. You’ll find favorite tools, good gear for cooking and canning, and my favorite mason jar drink lids.

And finally, because it’s Monday and the folks at Wusthof are kind and generous, I have one of the knife sets you see above to give away. Let’s do it the old fashioned way this week.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me share something you’re looking forward to giving this holiday season.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, December 10, 2016. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, December 11, 2016.
  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.

Disclosure: Wusthof provided the knife set you see pictured above, and is providing the giveaway unit, both at no cost to me. GIR also provided the ladle as a review unit. However, my opinion remains entirely my own. I both am sent and buy a lot of kitchen gear every year, and these are stand-outs! 

The winner of this giveaway is #165/Mary H. Congratulations Mary! 

August Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, Mrs. Wages, Orchard Road, Punk Domestics, and Mason Jar Lifestyle

mrs wages freezer pectin

Welcome August! It’s the beginning of the month, which means it’s time to thank the companies that help make Food in Jars possible! Tell them you appreciate their support of my work with a purchase or a social follow!

Back in the top spot are our friends at 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. Parents and kids love their EIO set, with its grippy silicone sleeve and a lid that makes for easy sipping.

Lancaster, PA-based and family-owned Fillmore Container are next! They sell all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear (and recently, they added Mrs. Wages products to their line-up). This month, they’ve teamed up with Countryside Magazine to offer four weeks of canning-centric giveaways, so make sure to enter! I have two blog posts and giveaways featuring their products coming up this month, so stay tuned!

Our friends at Mrs. Wages are on the roster again this month. They make 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 mix. If you need a little help getting your produce into jars, remember to seek out their products!

Orchard Road makes mason jars, lids, and rings for home canners. Their jars are sold in packs of six and come in sturdy boxes that can be used for storage. Orchard Road’s physical distribution is limited, but their online store is open for business, so you can now order them straight from the source.

Looking for a culinary travel adventure? Don’t miss the Italian tours that Sean Timberlake from Punk Domestics leads. He’s currently booking a trip for the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It takes place October 6-12 and is not to be missed!

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 lids, straws, and cozies to transform your mason jars into travel mugs, make sure to check them out!

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. Leave a comment on this post or drop me a note to learn more!

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