Tag Archives | giveaway

Canning Peaches with True Value

I’m partnering today with True Value to share some canning tricks and recipe for canning peaches in syrup. Make sure to read through to the end for a chance to win a $50 True Value gift card! 

As someone who does a lot of canning, I am often asked about my favorite places to get canning jars and equipment. One of my favorite places to recommend is True Value hardware store. Most locations carry the canning basics (though it’s always a good idea to call your local store and ask about their stock before hopping in the car).

If they don’t have it in stock, you can almost always order the jars online and use their ship-to-store option. That way, you can get exactly what you need, you don’t have to pay for all those heavy jars, and you support a local business.

For this post, I took a little field trip out to a True Value location near me. They had a wide range of jars, as well as pickling salt, basic canning tools, a copy of the latest edition of the Ball Blue Book, and even a replacement pressure canner weight (while it looked like it had been there for awhile, those things don’t expire, so it was still good).

I came home from my outing with three cases of jars (regular mouth half pints, wide mouth half pints, and some of the new smooth-sided pints). I also picked up a new utensil set, some extra lids (because while jars and rings can be used over and over, the flat lids can only be used once), and some pickling salt (I was out!).

Any time you tackle a canning project, you want to take stock of what you have. You’ll need a large pot to serve as your boiling water bath canner (you can find more detail about that here), as well as a rack to drop in the bottom. This lifts the jars off the bottom of the pot and allows the water to circulate. I often use the flexible silicone trivet pictured above, but a round cake cooling rack is also a really good option.

You also need the tools that come in the canning Utensil Kit (jar lifter, wide mouth funnel, and headspace measure), and a heatproof spoon or spatula with which to stir.

When you’re ready to get started, take the jars out of their packaging. Remove the lids and rings and wash the jars, lids, and rings in warm soapy water. I’ve been in the factory where Ball jars are fitted with lids, boxed, and sealed and it not a sterile environment. Those jars my look clean, but they’re filled with factory dust and residue. Wash them.

Once your jars squeaky clean, fit your rack into the bottom of the canning pot and arrange your jars on top. Fill the jars with warm tap water and then fill the pot up to the rims of the jars.

Set that pot on the stove, add a healthy splash of white vinegar (this helps keep your jars and pot clean, and if you have hard water, will prevent any minerals from depositing on your jars). Bring the pot to boil and reduce the heat to your lowest simmer, to keep the jars warm.

The rule of thumb is that hot food needs to go into hot jars. While mason jars are designed to withstand temperature changes of up to 90 degrees F, any more of a change could cause thermal shock which will lead to breakage.

Now that your jars are ready, it’s time to start making your preserve. We’re in the midst of peach season here in Philadelphia and so I opted to make a small batch of preserved peach quarters, packed in a light syrup. For those of you concerned about the amount of sugar, know that it doesn’t really sink into the peaches too much, and will greatly help prevent the peaches from browning. However, if you prefer, you can also pack these peaches in fruit juice.

First, make the syrup. Combine 3 cups of water with 3/4 cups granulated sugar in a 4 quart saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice (this is present to help prevent browning) and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally to ensure that the sugar dissolves.

Cut three pounds of peaches into quarters, remove the pits, and arrange the peaches in a heatproof baking dish (it’s best to do this in your sink). Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Once it is hot, pour it over the peaches and let them sit for 2-3 minutes.

When the time is up, run cold water over the peaches. Provided that the peaches were ripe enough (peeling underripe peaches is torture), the peels should lift off easily. As you work, gently slide each peeled peach quarter into the hot syrup so that the amount of time the peaches are exposed to the air is limited.

Once all the peaches are peeled and in the pot, bring the syrup to a boil and cook for one minute. Remove the pot from the heat. Pull the hot canning jars out of the canning pot and arrange them on a folded kitchen towel. Position a wide mouth funnel on top of a jar and use a slotted spoon to portion the hot peach quarters into the jars.

Top the jars with syrup and use a utensil like a wooden chopstick or the bubbling tool that comes in the utensil kit to ease out any trapped air bubbles. Fill the jars with syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Center a clean lid on the jar and apply the ring. Tighten it only until it meets resistance. You don’t want to overtighten it, as that could cause the lid to buckle during processing. Place the jars in the canner, put the lid on, and bring the pot up to a rolling boil. Process the peaches in your canning pot for 20 minutes (if you live at elevations above 1,000 feet, you’ll need to increase your processing time. Check out the chart here).

When the time is up, turn off the heat, pull the canner off the hot burner, and remove the lid. Let the jars cool in the canning pot for five minutes (this helps prevent liquid from siphoning out of the jars and produces a stronger seal). Once that time is up, remove the jars from the pot and set them back on the folded kitchen towel.

Let them cool undisturbed for at least 12 hours. Once that time is up, check the seals. If the lids are concave and seem strongly adhered to the jars, you are good. Wipe any sticky residue off the jars and store in a cool, dark place. For the best quality peaches, eat them within a year.

This post was written in partnership with True Value hardware. As part of our agreement, they gave me $100 to spend on canning gear at my local shop. I only ended up spending about half what they allocated and so I’ve decided to share the remaining $50 True Value gift card with one of you! Please use the widget below to enter.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of True Value. The opinions and text are all mine.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of True Value. The opinions and text are all mine.
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Giveaway: Anolon Vesta Cast Iron 7 Quart Casserole

I bought my first piece of enameled cast iron cookware in the spring of 2007. It was from TJ Maxx and cost all of $40 (which felt like a fortune on my grad student budget). It was lime green, held about five quarts, and I thought it was the nicest thing in my kitchen. Heartbreakingly, the enamel began to chip and crack after only dozen uses.

Since then, I’ve had a number of pieces of enameled cast iron from a number of different makers, but continue to search for the unicorn of this category. A piece that is affordable enough that I can recommend it to someone on a grad school budget, that doesn’t chip easily, holds enough to feed a crowd, and is great for cooking down jams, fruit butters, and sauces.

Friends, I think I’ve finally found the mythical creature of enameled cast iron cookware and it’s known as Anolon’s Vesta Cast Iron 7 Quart Casserole. The outside is an elegant coffee color and the interior sports a matte black enamel interior. The underside of the lid is studded with raised nubs that are designed to channel flavorful liquid back into the food as it cooks. It conducts heat evenly, cleans up beautifully, and is far more affordable than other enameled cast iron pots of comparable size.

Now, if this pot looks familiar, that’s because I featured the braiser from this line a couple of years back. And while I still regularly employ that braiser, this seven quart casserole is the pot that’s taken up permanent residence on my stove top. I’ve used it for at least eight batches of jam, chutney, and compotes, as well as several rounds of soup and pasta sauce. It’s a work horse and I couldn’t be more pleased with it.

If you watched my livestream earlier tonight, you saw me scooping chutney out of this very pot! And happily, this week the folks at Anolon are letting me give away one of these highly useful, totally durable, and perfectly elegant casseroles away to a lucky blog reader! Use the widget below to enter!

For more information about Anolon and their cookware, follow them on social media. Here’s where you can find them.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube

Disclosure: Anolon is provided both the casserole you see here and the one I’m giving away at no cost to me. All opinions expresses are entirely my own. 

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Giveaway: Mrs. Wages Tomato Prize Pack

I look forward to tomato season all year. Because I don’t have a garden, it always starts for me when the hot house tomatoes appear at my local farmers market. Then, there comes a trickle of small tomatoes like sungold and cherry tomatoes. And then finally, the torrent. Tables heaped with heirlooms, slicers, and sturdy paste tomatoes.

Because I know that tomato season is fleeting, I make a point of canning at least 100 pounds of tomatoes each season (and sometimes more!). I can them whole, make puree, and cook pans of tomatoes down into thick, flavorful pastes. I also like to employ a little help and so occasionally turn to a package of Mrs. Wages salsa or pasta sauce. Made from spices, dehydrated herbs, citric acid, and salt, these packets are such a time saver and create a finished product that makes my home cooking delicious.

This week, I’m giving away a whole assortment of Mrs. Wages Tomato seasoning mixes. The basket will contain an assortment of mixes, including classic salsa, ketchup, and much more. If you’re interested in a chance to win this giant package of tomato canning goodness, use the widget below.

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Giveaway: Grater Set from EcoJarz

When I first started canning and collecting jars, finding cool jar accessories was nearly impossible. Happily, in the last ten years, a world of nifty accessories and adapters has exploded onto the scene. One of my favorite makers of useful things for mason jars is EcoJarz. They make drink lids, storage lids, and food prep accessories out of high quality stainless steel and food-grade silicone.

This week, I’m giving away one of their grater sets. This handy kit comes with a slicer lid, a grater lid, two silicone seals, a stainless steel ring, and a wide mouth half pint mason jar. It allows you to grate, slice, and store the excess easily.

If you want to win this nifty set, please use the widget below to enter!

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Giveaway: Maple Syrup from Tree of Life Maple Farm

This week’s giveaway comes to us from the Babiarz family at the Tree of Life Maple Farm. They are a small organic maple farm based in Northwestern Maine, just a few miles from the Canadian border. All the maple products they sell come from their sugarbush, which they tap while the trees are still frozen. This allows them to gather the cleanest and clearest sap as thaw arrives.

The Tree of Life syrup is available in three different colors. Each color has its own unique properties while retaining its essential maple qualities. The lightest syrups are generally made earlier in the season, while the darker hues typically come later.

Tree of Life Maple Farm sells their syrup in a variety of packages. They offer glass bottles in a handful of different sizes and shapes for gift giving, as well as in more conventional plastic jugs for those of us who like to cook and bake with our maple and want something a little easier to juggle in the kitchen.

They also sell some of the most gorgeous, light maple sugar I’ve tried (and I used a lot of the stuff while working on Naturally Sweet Food in Jars).

The team at Tree of Life believes that maple syrup is good for so much more than just pancakes. It’s something that is equally delicious in coffee, yogurt, baked goods, and more. And one lucky winner will get a chance to try some of their delicious syrup. This week, we’re giving away one 500 ml glass jug of Organic Golden Maple Syrup and one 500 ml glass jug of Organic Dark Maple Syrup to share. Please use the widget below to enter!

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Links: Upcoming Events, Cherry Preserves, and Winners

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope everyone had a good weekend. We’ve got a busy week coming up around Food in Jars HQ. On Monday, July 10, I’ll be doing a fridge pickle demo at the Exeter Community Library in Exeter, PA from 6:30-8 pm. On Thursday, July 13, I’ll be at the Glassboro Library doing a similar fridge pickle demo from 7-8:30 pm. Hope some of you local folks can join me! Now, links!

Big thanks to everyone who took the time to enter last week’s giveaway. I enjoyed reading all of your pickle memories.

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