Tag Archives | Naturally Sweet Food in Jars

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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The Cookbook Stall + Food in Jars = Signed Copies for the Holidays

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars spine

We are firmly in the season of wish lists, gift guides, and holiday shopping. If getting or giving a signed copy of one of my books is on your mind this year, I’ve got good news. I’ve teamed up with my friend Jill Ross at The Cookbook Stall (Philly’s only cookbook-only book shop) to offer a way for you all to buy signed copies of my books.

To get a signed copy, head over to The Cookbook Stall’s online shop and put a copy of Food in Jars, Preserving by the Pint, or Naturally Sweet Food in Jars into your cart and head to check-out.

In step five of the check-out process, there’s a field where you can add comments about your order. Use that space to tell us to whom you’d like the book to be signed and if there’s a specific message you’d like me to convey in my note (Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Good Solstice! Happy Birthday!)

Deadline to order your signed book is December 9. I’ll head into the shop the following week to sign the books you all ordered and then she’ll get them into the mail for you guys, in plenty of time for holiday giving.

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How to Find White Grape Juice Concentrate

Struggling with how to find white grape juice concentrate to use as a sweetener in canning? I’m here to help!

A canister of apple juice concentrate, which is easier to find than white grape juice concentrate.

In my newest book, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, I devote an entire chapter to recipes that used 100% fruit juice concentrates as their source of sweetness. Though the work of the developing that book is behind me, those juice concentrates continue to be a favorite tool when I need a relatively neutral natural sweetener.

White grape juice concentrate is my preferred flavor and I reference it in the book often. During the time I was writing the bulk of the recipes in the book (a mere year and a half ago), it could easily get it at both Wegmans and Acme. However, in the last few months, it’s become harder to find (of course!), and I’m hearing from a number of you that you’re also struggling to find it in your stores.

For those of you who are experiencing sourcing issues, don’t give up. There are a few ways around this.

1. Go to your grocery store’s customer service desk and ask if they can special order some for you. Make sure you specify that you want the version that is 100% fruit juice (not fruit cocktail). If you need a brand name, ask for either the one made by Welch’s or the Old Orchard version.

2. Instead of torturing yourself to find the frozen concentrate, boil down a bottle of white grape juice until you have a concentrated strength. Most of the time, it is sold in bottles holding half a gallon, which means you’re starting with eight cups. Cook that down to a syrupy two cups and you’ll be good to go.

3. Use apple juice concentrate instead. However, while it’s more readily available than white grape, it’s not as sweet. To compensate for that intensity, use 25% more apple juice concentrate that you would white grape, to make up for the different in flavor.

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Upcoming Events: A Week in the Chicago Area

jars at chicago food swap

Hello Chicago area readers! I am headed your way very, very soon and want to make sure that you know about all the various events, demos, and book signings I’m going to be doing while in your fine region. Please mark your calendars, tell your friends, and come say hi while I’m in town.

Oh, and books will be available for sale at all these events, so no need to get a copy ahead of time. That said, I am also always entirely happy to sign copies you already own, so make sure to bring those too!

Sunday, June 5
Chicago Botanic Garden! Canning demo and book signing in the Garden Kitchen Amphitheater. 10:30 a.m. Admission is free but seating is limited, so get there early!

Monday, June 6
Mundelein, IL! Canning demo and book signing at the Fremont Public Library. 6:30 pm. Free.

Tuesday, June 7
Gurnee, IL! Canning demo and book signing at the Warren-Newport Public Library. 6:30 pm. Free. Register here.

Wednesday, June 8
Lake Zurich, IL! Canning demo and book signing at the Ela Public Library. 6:30 pm. Free.

Thursday, June 9
Northfield, IL! I’ll be speaking at a luncheon starting at 11:30 am to benefit Canning for Kids and The Ferrer Foundation. More details here. Buy your ticket here!
Chicago, IL! Later that evening, I’m teaming up with Local Foods and Read It and Eat from 6-7:30 pm for canning demo and book signing. This event is free, but we ask that you sign up in advance.

Friday, June 10
Chicago, IL! Canning demo and book signing at The Chopping Block’s Merchandise Mart location. 5:30-6:30 pm. Free.

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Links: Small Batches, Granola, and Winners

cherry clafoutis

This past week was on the quieter side of things, filled with the mundane activities of life. I cooked food, taught classes, made jam, filled bags for donation, went to the gym, had dinner with friends, and still managed to get to bed before midnight more often than not. It was a satisfyingly mellow seven days. Now, links!

Whiskey cover - Food in Jars

I’ve got two giveaways to wrap up this week. First is the giveaway of Whiskey. The winner there is #76/Linda C. Second is the giveaway of three copies of my new book. The winners there are #3/Lauren, #38/Holly H., and #503/Karen C.

Congratulations, everyone!

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Links: Roasted Carrots, Rhubarb, and a Winner

Date Night In carrots

Friends, thank you all for the lovely birthday wishes. I had a fabulous weekend of celebration and I’m feeling decidedly cheerier about 37 than I was last week.

Now, let me tell you about some phenomenal carrots. When I was in Seattle last month, I had the good fortune to teach a class at The Pantry at Delancey. They’ve recently expanded their space and now have two classrooms. The night I was there, I taught in their newer kitchen, while the very talented Ashley Rodriguez led a class next door, featuring recipes from her book, Date Night In.

At the end of the evening, we swapped leftovers. I offered her team what remained of my spread of jams, pickles, and chutneys, while they made me a plate of roasted carrots with maple and coriander and butter lettuce salad. The salad was excellent, but the carrots were transcendent. The moment I got home, I ordered the book so I could recreate them and I’ve now made them twice in the last ten days.

The trick it to get carrots with their greens and leave an inch or so of the stems intact. They turn crisp in the oven, which just a hint of caramel from the maple syrup. In combination with the tender, slightly blistered carrots, they are my very favorite thing to eat right now. I highly encourage you to get your hands on a copy of this book so you can make them yourselves. They are worth it. Now, links!

Foolproof Preserving giveaway pack - Food in Jars

A couple weeks ago, I posted a giveaway featuring Foolproof Preserving from America’s Test Kitchen, but neglected to announce the winner. Well, without further delay, the winner is #28/Amber V. Congratulations Amber!

Also, don’t forget that I’m also currently giving away three copies of my new book, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. If you haven’t entered yet, you have until Saturday!

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