Tag Archives | giveaways and winners

Holiday Giving: Gifts for Jar Lovers

Weck Jars

Last week, I wrote about some of my favorite canning tools and the reasons they might just make good holiday gifts for the canners in your lives. This week I want to feature some of the odds and ends that aren’t canning necessities  but make a jar-filled life a little bit prettier and more fun (of course, I intended to get this posted on Monday, but that knock-out flu I had has put me behind in my posting. So sorry!).

First on the list is Weck Jars. They’re good for canning, for dry goods storage, and if you spring for a set of snap-on plastic lids, they make fantastic leftover containers. Because they’re a bit pricier than your average box of jars, they’re an indulgence, but isn’t that what the holiday season is all about? Once hard to find, they’re now available for online order from the U.S. distributor, Kaufmann Mercantile and Mighty Nest, and in Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel stores.

Enamel ladle

For someone who has all their jar needs met, what about a pretty ladle? It’s good for filling your jars, scooping up servings of soup and chili and it looks fab sticking out of a crock of utensils. Available from Kaufmann Mercantile, it costs $32 and would be fun tucked in a stocking.

stainless steel funnel

I love my stainless steel funnel. The one I have is made by RSVP and I use it all the time. Not only is it useful during the canning process, but it’s also great for filling jars with dried goods and helping pour leftover soup into storage jars. I even take it to Whole Foods with me when I use my own container for bulk foods, because it allows me to funnel the food into my jars cleanly.

If I didn’t already have a stainless steel funnel, I might opt for this one, because it has a strainer that can fit into the base should you need it. That would be an awesome helper for those moments when you find yourself pouring stock into jars and want to do a final strain.

jar drink toppers

Drink toppers are another fun gift for jar lovers. I’ve written about these a lot lately, so I won’t go into crazy depth about them, but they’re great. There’s Cuppow, EcoJarz, and a lid specifically for iced coffee from the Mason Bar Company (they’ll also sell you a straw if you want a plastic one. I like these stainless steel babies better).

jar cozy!

Once you turn your mason jar into a drinking cup, you need something to absorb the moisture and heat. That’s where a jar cozy or sleeve comes in. There are so many different Etsy shops making these. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Mason Bar Company (cute hand-crocheted cozies from the folks who sell the drink lids mentioned above).
  • Greyslater (sleek waxed canvas sleeves).
  • Fine + Dandy Knits (hand-knit cozies made from organic cotton, pattern is available).
  • One Robin Road (charming cozies made from recycled sweaters. No two are alike).
  • Cadron Creations (hand-crocheted cozies made to fit a variety of sizes, including the newly reissued pint &  half jars).
  • Two Tired Bike (mason jar sleeves made from recycled bike inner tubes. Great for jar lovers who adore their two wheeled transportation).
  • Hide and True (hand-stitched leather sleeves. Spendy, but gorgeous).
  • The Stowe (another leather sleeve, this time with a built-in handle).

lunch tote

Finally, the ultimate gift for jar loves is the Jars to Go tote from A Tiny Forest. Since I first wrote about the original two-jar bag, Kim has expanded the offerings in her shop to include a four-jar bag and single sleeves that fasten up over the top of the jar (perfect for packaging up super-special gift jars).

And since no gift guide is complete without a giveaway, here’s what I have for you today. There are two giveaway packs and we’ll have two winners. The first is from Kaufmann Mercantile and consists of a six-pack of 1/4 L straight-side Weck Jars and that lovely white enamel ladle pictured above. The second is a four-jar Jars to Go tote from A Tiny Forest in Kim’s signature blue-striped fabric (like this one).

Here’s how to get in on the giveaway:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite edible or culinary stocking stuffer (my favorite edible stocking stuffer is Pocky and my favorite culinary stocking stuffer is this little microplane nutmeg grater).
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, December 8, 2012. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday.
  3. Giveaway open US 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. I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Kaufmann Mercantile sent me the ladle seen above for photography purposes. Kaufmann Mercantile and A Tiny Forest have both provided the giveaway items at no cost to me. No vendor mentioned above paid for placement. 

Holiday Giving: Prettifying Your Jars + Giveaway


Judging by Thanksgiving’s rapid approach and the number of Black Friday commercials playing on TV, we are now officially in the thick of the holiday season. This means that it’s time to start thinking seriously about gift giving.

In my household (and I suspect in many of yours as well), this means taking stock of the jams and pickles that are good enough to give and spending a little time trying to make them presentable (because my standard labeling method is a quick scrawl across the top of the lid).

Because my skills as a crafter and designer quite lousy (I have many other talents, but a visual artist I am not), I’ve taken to outsourcing my labels. Here are some folks that make lovely tags, labels, and stickers that will have you set for gift giving in no time.

Don’t forget to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to check out the giveaway! 

Once Upon Supplies

This sweet online shop offers brown kraft paper labels, hang tags, and fun washi tape. If these tickle your fancy, shopkeeper Linda is offering all Food in Jars readers 15% off their orders. Just us the coupon code FIJ15OFF.

River Dog Prints

RiverDog Prints makes customizable canning jar toppers and labels, as well as printable recipe cards, gift tags and even really cute recipe dividers (for those cards that you ordered). Shop owner Cyn isn’t just a designer, she’s also a canner herself, so she understands what works on a jar and what doesn’t. Her Etsy shop can be found here.

Sew Love The Day

For a touch of whimsey, nothing tops the hand-sewn jar toppers from Sew Love the Day. You can get them themed for your particular preserve, or you can get ones for the holidays that feature bows, baubles, and peppermint candies. They are even more adorable in person.

Modern Harvest Home Canning Labels

First off, I apologize for the lousy picture. These labels are hard to photograph not on jars and I could not muster the energy to shrink one to a jar earlier today (I’m fighting a bit of a cold). The way they work is that you write the contents on the label, as well as the month and date when the product was made. Then, you slip it around the jar and dip the jar, label and all into hot water.

The temperature change causes the label snug up around the jar, in a style reminiscent of Shrinky Dinks. Once you’ve eaten everything in the jar, all you have to do is slip a knife under the label, make a little slit and it pulls right off. Because there’s no glue involved, you never have to scrape any sticky residue away. They come in a variety of different sizes and cost $5.49 for 36. It’s a seriously good deal. Click here to see all the size and design options.

Jigsaw Graphics

Finally, for those of you who are slightly more crafty than I, this kit that allows you to customize your fancy labels might be the thing for you. These are made by Jigsaw Graphics, a company based in Portland, Oregon (my home town!) and are pretty darn nifty. The labels can be used either with permanent markers or with dry erase ones (if you want to reuse them). Click here to check out all the buying options.

The giveaway goodies:
Once Upon Supplies: 20 mason jar labels, atching baker’s twine, and 20 gift tags.
RiverDog Prints: A collection of labels and tags.
Sew Love The Day: Your choice of three sets of six toppers.
Modern Harvest: A variety pack of labels.
Jigsaw Graphics: Jar kit with labels, tags, markers, and hemp string.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share how you label your jars for gifting.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, November 23, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post. I do not accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: These five vendors provided samples for review and photography, as well as units for giveaway. However, they did not pay to be included in this post and my opinions about their products were all my own. 

Photos From the Food in Jars Flickr Pool + Marmalade Winner

Just about every week, I flip through the recent submissions in the Food in Jars Flickr pool and feature a few jar-and-canning-themed photos that are interesting, impressive, seasonal or pretty. Fancy cameras or professional skills are not required and Instagram photos are always welcome!

Apple Cider Syrup

Apple cider syrup from Teela. She writes the lovely blog My So-Called Modern Life. This is one of my favorite things to make when cider is in the markets. A few jars in the pantry means that a mug of hot cider is never far away.

Pears, pears, pears

It’s a pear party from Lynn! She made quarts of preserved pear halves, pear vanilla jam (one of my favorites!), and a batch of pear hazelnut jam (I wonder if this just has bits of chopped hazelnut strewn throughout?).

Cranberry/Orange Chutney

It looks like wyld lil is getting ready for Thanksgiving with a batch of cranberry and orange chutney. I really should be following suit! I’m entirely unprepared for the holiday next week.

Garden Grub 118

I saved the most jaw-dropping for last. Check out the shelves of preserves that sisters Eleanor and Liz have made this season. Make sure to click over to the photo on Flickr to see the complete list of items they’ve made this year. Well done, you two!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Time for our Marmalade winner! Random.org drew #96 out of its digital hat of numbers. That means the winner is Susan, who said, “I’ve trying making a few marmalades, some successful, some not so much. I add the not so much ones to my morning oatmeal to sweeten it. Would love the book so I can improve my techniques.”

Susan, I hope the book helps you take your marmalade making to a whole new level!

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Beautiful Cookbooks: Marmalade

Marmalade cover

Last fall, when I was still trying to pick myself up from the blow of being laid off from my job, I got a email from my editor at Running Press. She was working on a marmalade project and wanted to know if I’d be interested in making a sampling of recipes from book for the photo shoot. My need for work, coupled with the fact that I was very much excited to see a world of new-to-me marmalades, meant that I said yes within moments of receiving her note.

before you start

In early January, I spent about two weeks digging deep into the world of marmalades. I simmered, sliced, grated, and jarred up 12 recipes from the book. I went crazy trying to find yuzu, passionfruit, and Seville oranges in Philadelphia. Without question, I got far more than my daily recommended dose of vitamin C during that period.

blood orange marmalade

Now, many months later, Marmalade is here and it is gorgeous. Written by food writer and marmalade obsessive Elizabeth Field and photographed by award winning food blogger and photographer Helene Dujardin, this book is a pleasure to hold and use. It contains a variety of marmalades (sweet, savory, citrus, and beyond), as well meals that can incorporate these spreads and baked goods that can serve as vehicle for them.

quince paste

Of course, I get particular pleasure flipping through this book, because nearly every preserve and spread pictured is something I made in my own kitchen. It’s ridiculously satisfying to look at the photos and recall the flavors and aromas of each recipe.

I’m also happy to have this volume in my hands, because while I made a dozen of the recipes it contains, I didn’t actually get to keep any of them. I’m very much looking forward to revisit the Tangerine and Vanilla Marmalade, as well as the “In the Pink” variety made from ruby red grapefruit.

red onion marmalade

Recently, I queried my Twitter followers, asking what they were looking for in a preserving book. An internet acquaintance of mine said that she was looking for something that would allow her to push her preserving skills and move beyond the basic “Canning 101” recipes that are so readily found. Happily (at least, if she likes marmalade), this is a book that might serve her well. While it’s plenty accessible for new canners, there’s also plenty here that will satisfy those looking to broaden their canning.

dragon fruit variations

I’m afraid that I’m responsible for this variation on the Passionfruit Marmalade recipe in this book. When I tested these recipes, I marched up and down the length and breadth of Philadelphia, trying to find passionfruit. I came to the conclusion that it was impossible to source in January.

Instead of admitting defeat, I created a version that used dragon fruit, in the hopes that it might trick the camera. It didn’t, but instead of tossing that batch, the powers that be decided to add a variation to the book, in order to make the photo work. I was greatly relieved that my efforts weren’t wasted. It’s also fun to see the small impact I had on this delightful book.

Thanks to Running Press and my editor Kristen, I have a copy of this sweet little book to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share some tidbit about marmalade in your life. Do you like it? Hate it? Have you made it? Constantly on the search for Seville oranges? Whatever your story, I want to read it.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, November 10, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway open to all.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post. I do not accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Running Press gave me two copies of this book, one to review and one to give away. Despite this, my opinions remain entirely my own. 

Giveaway: EcoJarz Reusable Canning Jar Drink Toppers


First, there was the ReCap (looks like they’re going to have the wide mouth version available soon. Be still my heart!) Then came the Cuppow. Now there’s a new kid on the mason jar accessory block and it’s called the EcoJarz. It’s a stainless steel lid, fitted with a silicone gasket to prevent leaks and it fits any regular mouth jar.


This lid has been designed so that the primary drinking hole can either be used as a spot for sipping or as space for a straw. The hole has been sized so that most standard straws fit it nicely. I find that like this lid better for use with a straw than for sipping hot beverages, as if you have a hot drink in the jar, the lid transfers the heat directly to your lips. However, as long as you’re not drinking scalding hot tea or coffee, you should be fine drinking directly from the lid.

The EcoJarz lid costs $7.99 and can be purchased through their website. They’ve also got it packaged up with handled mason jars, for an easy travel mug in a single.

EcoJarz with straw

The EcoJarz team is made up of a group of jar-lovers based in Ithaca, NY and Denver, CO. They’re committed to challenge our throwaway culture and get people to start thinking differently about the stuff we consume. Just the kind of attitude I embrace!

Updated: Here’s a link to the stainless steel straw I paired with my EcoJarz. Just a tip, only the bent straws made by RSVP Endurance fit this lid. The straight ones are a tiny bit too wide.

Thanks to the EcoJarz folks, I have five of these reusable drinking tops to giveaway. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share your to-go cup routine. Travel mug? Disposable cup? Thermos? Ceramic mug tucked precariously between your knees while driving like my dad used to do? Let’s hear your stories!
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Friday, October 26, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway open to everyone, no matter where you live.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post. I do not accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: EcoJarz provided me with six of their reusable jar toppers, one to keep and five to give away. My opinions remain entirely my own. 

Cookbooks: Desserts in Jars, Ripe, Jam On & The Preservation Kitchen

favorite books from this summer

It has been FAR too long since I’ve done one of these cookbook round-up posts. Amazing books have been stacking up all around my apartment (quite literally, there are piles nearly everywhere you look) and there are so many I want to share with you. So I’m going to get back into the business of featuring the best of the food-focused books that are crossing my threshold. Today’s post features four such books that came out in the last three or four months and would all make great additions to your culinary library.

Desserts in Jars

This summer was a really good time for jar-focused cookbooks (including mine!). One such book is Shaina Olmanson’s first, called Desserts in Jars. You might know her from her blog, Food For My Family. Shaina did all the writing, recipe development, food styling and photography for this book. My hat is off to her and the beautiful, accessible book that she created.

interior from Desserts in Jars

Desserts in Jars features all manner of cakes, pies, custards, puddings, fruit desserts and frozen desserts. There’s also a section in the very back filled with mixes for giving. There are a number of people on my holiday list who will be receiving jars of her Spiced Hot Chocolate Mix in their gift baskets this year.


Many words of praise have been heaped on Nigel Slater’s Ripe since it was published (it’s been out since 2010 in the UK, but has only been available in the US since late spring). It deserves every ounce of adulation too. It is beautifully written and photographed. The recipes are creative and allow you the space to adapt and explore the featured main ingredients.

interior from Ripe

The recipes in Ripe are named things like “A sharp damson pickle for cold meats” and  “A high-summer jam to serve warm.” How could you not want to make things with such romantic and descriptive handles? One dish that I’m hoping to make in the very near future is his “Apples and quince baked in cream.” Just saying the name makes me feeling like I’ve been transported to a small village in the English countryside.

Jam On

Written by the founder of Brooklyn-based Anarchy in Jam, Laena McCarthy’s Jam On is a really masterful preserving book because it doesn’t just contain a series of recipes. Laena has included the how and why of jams that she has learned throughout her career as a professionals fruit preserver. For instance, there’s a chart that breaks down which fruits are high in pectin, which have moderate amounts and which are quite low in pectin. That’s the kind of knowledge that makes it possible for cookbook users to explore fruit and put together their own jams, butters and marmalades.

interior from Jam On

Jam On has sections devoted to jams and jellies; preserves, marmalades and chutneys; sugar-free jams and fruit butters (I get lots of questions about sugar-free canning, those of you interested in this topic should definitely check out this book!); pickled fruits, syrups and shrubs; and pairings. I’m most enamored of the last two sections, as they have given me so many great ideas.

The Preservation Kitchen

Written by Chef Paul Virant of Chicago’s Vie and co-authored by Kate Leahy, The Preservation Kitchen is an incredible book for canners who want to expand their preservation habit beyond their traditional jams and pickles. One of the best things about this book is that it takes a very scientific approach to the formatting of the recipes, listing the ingredients in volume, ounces, grams and percentages. This makes it easier to scale the recipes up or down, which is so useful when you need to work with the produce you have and not an exact, recipe-prescribed amount.

interior from Preservation Kitchen

Particular gems in this book include chapters on Bittersweet Preserves (this includes aigre-doux and mostardas – both incredible with cheeses) and Pressure Canning. The pressure canning section is only three recipes deep, but all are winners, particularly the garlic conserva (detailed here by Hank Shaw) which allows you to have shelf stable, oil-packed, tender garlic.

I’ve found myself with an extra copy of The Preservation Kitchen and so am doing a super quick weekend-long giveaway. If you’d like a chance to get your hands on it, here’s what to do.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share the source of your favorite preserve recipe.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Sunday, October 21, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway open to everyone, no matter where you live.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post. I do not accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: I received all books featured here at no cost for review purposes. However, my opinions remain my own. Also, links to Amazon used here are affiliate links. I get a few cents if you click over and buy something.