Tag Archives | canning

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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White Nectarine Jam with Rose Water

This simple, low sugar white nectarine jam uses a splash of rose water at the end of cooking to give it a hint of floral flavor. Try it stirred into yogurt!

White nectarine jam in jars

A couple weeks back, I got an email from one of my regular fruit dealers, asking if I might be interested in a half bushel of white nectarine seconds. Despite the fact that white nectarines need a bit of extra consideration in preserving (they’re lower in acid than their yellow counterparts), I said yes. Because they are transcendently good nectarines.

box of white nectarines

When I was in grad school and on a very tight budget, I’d go to the farmers market each week with $20 to spend on produce. If I was careful, I could get just enough to see me through the week. When these nectarines were in season, I would allocate one-quarter of my budget to spend on them. I would ration them throughout the week, so that I could have a taste of sweetness every day.

white nectarine jam beginning

So to have nearly 25 pounds of nectarines that had once been a major treat? I was all in. I’ve spent much of the last couple weeks working with these nectarines. I combined them with plums for a mixed fruit jam. I’ve pureed them down and made fruit leather with them. And I’ve also turned them into a pure white nectarine jam. This is a jam with plenty of lemon juice to make up for their lower acidity and a tiny bit of rose water, to emphasize the nectarine’s floral nature.

white nectarine jam end

As with all seconds, these needed a little careful knife work to prep for the jam. My rule of thumb when working with seconds is to cut away anything that looks particularly gross, but not to obsess too much over every single shallow bruise. Whenever I’m in doubt, I give it a good sniff. If the bruised part smells fresh and fruity, I use it. If it smells boozy and weirdly off, it gets thrown out.

white nectarine jam square image

The finished white nectarine jam retains a rosy color that I just love. This is one that I’m particularly careful about storing out of direct sunlight, so as to retain that pink hue for as long as I can.

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Canning 101: How to Use One Piece Lids

one piece lids

I find myself functioning within the “better late than never principle” more often than I like to admit. My frequent delays bedevils many in my life (particularly my punctual husband), but as I built this career as a writer/teacher/canning crusader, I find that there is nearly always more for me to do than there is time in which to do it. So tasks back up, I take days to answer questions and I don’t always do everything I promised within the timeframe I had hoped.

Like this post on canning with one piece lids. I had intended to write it the week I posted the Fillmore Container giveaway, but it just didn’t happen then. Happily, it’s happening today. Better late than never, right?

different lid styles

So. When it comes to home canning, the USDA and the National Center for Home Food Preservation recommend that we use mason jars with two piece lids. These two part lids are recommended because they are easy to use, known to seal reliably, and it’s easy to tell if the jars sealed (remove rings and grasp edges of lid. If it holds fast, it is sealed).

One piece lids are a little bit more mysterious. For a first time user, there’s not a lot of information about which one piece lids are right for home canning, how to prepare them for canning and even how tightly you should turn them to ensure a good seal.

covering with water

When you buy one piece lids for canning, you want to get ones that are lined with plastisol, have a button in the center (to better show that it has sealed) and are expressly designed for boiling water bath canning (do not order the ones that are for hot fill only). You don’t want to use lug lids, as they don’t fit mason jars.

When you’re ready to can with these lids, place them in a small saucepan (just like you would with your flat lids), cover them with warm water and place on the stove.

boiling lids

Bring the lids to a gentle boil, reduce the temperature and simmer the lids for approximately 10 minutes before applying the lids.

removing from water

When you’re ready to close your jars, use a jar lifter to pull the lids out of the water, one at a time. Make sure to have a towel or hot pad handy so that you don’t burn your hands while tightening down the lids. When you screw this lids on, you only want to tighten them to the point when you feel the rim of the jar make contact with the sealing compound. Don’t go any tighter or the air won’t be able to escape and you will have compromised your seal.

processing

Place capped jars into your boiling water bath and process as you would any other jar. When the time is up, turn off the heat, remove the lid from the pot and let the jars remain in the hot water for an additional five minutes. This extended heat exposure helps reduce siphoning and gives the sealing compound just a little bit more time to soften and develop a relationship with the rim of the jar.

sealed one piece lids

Remove jars from water bath and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. Don’t hover over your jars, give them some time to create their vacuum. These lids often take longer to seal than their two piece brethren, so don’t start panicking if they take an hour or more to finally pop.

When jars are cool, test seals by pushing down on the lid of the jar. If the lid is firm and the button is concave, they are ready to be stored in the pantry. If you have any doubts about the quality of your seal, place the jar in the refrigerator and use the product promptly.

 

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Driscoll’s Berries Canning & Preserves Twitter Chat Tonight!

strawberries

Hey folks! We are in the heat of canning season, and I know for many of you, that means you have lots of questions about processing times, sugar amounts and the best kinds of fruits and berries for jamming. I’ve teamed up with Driscoll’s Berries in order to throw an hour-long Twitter chat tonight from 7 – 8 pm eastern time.

Anyone can join in, however, if you want a chance to win one of five $20 Driscoll’s gift certificates, you’ve got to RSVP. Click here to get on the list!

If you’ve got a question you want to make sure gets an answer, you can tweet it now. Include the hashtag #berriesinjars and call out either @DriscollsBerry or @foodinjars (that’s me) and I’ll make sure to add you to the queue.

I’m looking forward to chatting with you all tonight!

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Deal Alert: Crate & Barrel’s Canning Kit

canning kit

Yesterday, an errand took me within spitting distance of Crate & Barrel. I’ve been wanting to stop into a physical C&B store since they re-released the Dansk cookware (of which I’ve long been a fan). However, before I was able to make it over to the Dansk display, another table caught my eye. It was a massive array of canning tools, Weck jars (sadly, they were the only piece of canning gear not marked down) and pots, much of which was on deep discount.

canning tools

Of all the items on discount, the one that caught my eye was the canning kit. Regularly priced at $12.95, it was now just $7.95. Though it includes two tools that I think unnecessary (the tongs and the jar opener), it’s still a great price if you’re in the market for a jar lifter, wide mouth funnel and lid wand. It’s a terrific little starter kit if you’ve got a friend who has expressed interest in canning but just doesn’t have the right utensils yet.

A note: I was not paid, compensated or even asked to post about this sale. I just happened to visit the store and spotted the bargain. 

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Orange-Ginger Marmalade

oranges-ready-for-chopping

I’ve never been much for marmalade. It wasn’t a condiment we kept around the house while I was growing up. When it came to peanut butter sandwiches, my sister and I preferred the strawberry jam that came in a blue plastic tub with white lid and handle, like a little bucket. My mom always had a stash of something homemade tucked in the back of the fridge for her toast, while my dad typically gravitated towards the squeeze bottle of honey.

Chopping in progress

The only person I knew who kept marmalade on her grocery list was my grandmother Bunny. She would often spread a fine layer on a piece of morning toast, or use a bit as a pork chop glaze. On occasion, she’d offer me a bite, and I always found it displeasingly puckery and not nearly sugary enough for my young taste buds.

Bubbling Marmalade

Several years ago, I watched the movie Gosford Park. There’s one scene, in the final third of the movie, in which Maggie Smith’s character is breakfasting in her room with her lady’s maid. She lifts a cut glass lid from a preserves jar and complains bitterly when she discovers that the marmalade it contains was bought, as opposed to being house-made. That scene settled into the depths of my brain and took root, sending out shoots that carried the message “homemade marmalade is always preferable to mass-produced.”

Filling the jars

Last week, that dormant message finally bloomed and I headed to the kitchen to make a batch of Orange-Ginger Marmalade. I did some research prior to applying knife to orange and discovered a wide array of marmalade recipes. Each was a bit different from the one before. Some recommended removing the zest from the fruit with a vegetable peeler, peeling the remaining pith off and then chopping, while other recipes instructed you to chop the whole fruit. After reading seven different recipes, I decided to wing it, basing my method on my previous jam-making experience.

Filling a jar

I chopped eleven medium, organic oranges into tiny bits (they yielded a bit over eight cups of orange) and combined them with four cups of sugar, two inches of grated ginger (next time, I’d use far more, as the flavor is very faint) and the juice of two lemons. I ended up using one packet of liquid pectin to get things to jell a bit, but if you happened to have some cheesecloth in the house, you could bundle up all the seeds and orange membrane and cook it along with the fruit, as there’s a lot of natural pectin in the seeds. I didn’t have any cheesecloth (I used up the last of mine on a yogurt cheese experiment a few weeks ago), so in went the pectin.

Jars in hot water bath

The resulting marmalade is sweet, but not cloyingly so. The chunks of orange peel are a bit more toothsome than I find to be ideal, but they add good flavor and texture, so I don’t regret their inclusion (in the future, I’ll try for an even finer dice). I do wish the ginger flavor was more aggressive, next time I make this, I’m going to mince it instead of grating it, and will use a generous three or four-inch length. However, all in all, I’ve produced a really delicious spread that is perfect on toast, scones or stirred into a dish of cottage cheese.

Sealed jars

For those of you who want to taste my marmalade, I’m giving away a half-pint. Leave a comment below if you want a chance at it. I’ll pick a random winner out on Friday, March 20, 2009 at 12 noon. For those of you who don’t win, the recipe is after the jump. This contest is now closed.

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