Early January Links + Eat Real Food Calendar Winner

January 7, 2013(updated on December 6, 2021)


It’s taking me longer to get situated into the new year than it has in the past. Normally, I leap into January with both feet, excited for the clean slate. This time, I feel uncertain and a off-balance (it doesn’t help that I’m currently writing at a wobbly coffeeshop table). While I gather myself and clear out the mental fog, here are some good things that other people have written and published lately.

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One of my hopes for 2013 is to get back into the habit of answering canning questions and writing helpful tutorials (like I’ve done in the past under the heading Canning 101). If you have a question related to canning, preserving or anything jar-related, please send it my way and I’ll do my best to answer. Leave it in the comments on this post, or shoot me an email!

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calendar winner

The winner of the Eat Real Food 2013 Calendar is Alyson (commenter #19) from The Hasty Quilter. If you didn’t win and you’re pining after the calendar, there’s still a handful of them available for purchase at Seedling Design.

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I’m taking the month of January off from giveaways and product-centric posts. They’ll be back after a fashion in February, but I just need a break from the focus on stuff.

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20 thoughts on "Early January Links + Eat Real Food Calendar Winner"

  • Any tricks for canning pie filling? In 2011 I made apple pie filling using the recipe from the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. (I think it’s the same book available under the Ball name in the US.) It turned out pretty well, but was the thickest, stickiest product I have ever made. Getting it into jars and removing any airspace was a real challenge and it felt like I would overcook the first jar while I filled the last few. I was going to try wide mouth jars this season, which I think would be somewhat easier to fill and debubble, but the apple tree didn’t cooperate. Pie filling is not really something I use from the store, but if it were home grown/canned I would be more likely to make a quick cobbler, crisp, or pie in the winter. Plus, I have like a pound of ClearJel that I’ll need to use in something.

    I would also be curious to know if there is any research about canning pie filling in larger jars (say 1 L). My guess is that it’s so thick it wouldn’t heat through in a reasonable time in the water bath, and that’s probably why there is no 1L option listed with the recipe. Two cups of filling seems a little cheap for a fruit pie… but maybe I just need to make smaller pies!

    My other pie related/canning question relates to lemon curd. I’m keen to try canning some (I have chickens and therefore eggs, and lemons are in season now) but there seems to be some controversy on the web about the safety of canned lemon curd. Are we just too well trained to not put any fat into a high-acid product, or is there so much lemon juice that the pH will be sufficiently acidic to produce something safely canned in a hot water bath? “National Center for Home Food Preservation” sounds pretty official and they have a tested recipe they claim is safe, but I’d love to have it confirmed.

    1. HazelJ – Marissa has a citrus curd recipe in her book so I guess she comes down on the “okay” side of the controversy. Her cookbook does suggest using within a couple of months.

  • Oh my gosh, thank you! I’m super excited because the calendar combines two things that I love very much…good food and good fabric!

  • I am going to be making Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce this year, will let you know how it all turns out.
    Thanks very much for your site, you have some good tips and recipies as well as good links.

  • This year I’m hoping to explore more sugar-free or sugar-alternative canning. Last year I focused on just following recipes and remembering how to do this whole canning thing and I had a blast! But now I’d like to try and reduce the amount of processed sugar in my products. I’m also hoping to get more use out of my pressure canner. You mentioned that you made a lot of chicken broth. I’m hoping to add this to my shelf and stop buying it at the grocery store. Do you freeze it or can it? Any info you might want to share regarding canning with less processed sugar or canning using a pressure cooker would be great!

    I love your blog (and book!). Thanks for sharing all your recipes and tutorials – they’ve brought me back to canning! 🙂

  • I noticed that some of the recipes for pickled vegetables I’ve read say to keep the jar refrigerated and eat it all within a month, and some say the canned item should last up to a year at a cool-ish room temperature. Does it just depend on the recipe/vegetable? Or should most pickled veggies be eaten within the first month or two?

    1. If it’s a “refrigerator pickle” it doesn’t get processed in a water bath or pressure canner. You let it cure a bit then eat fairly quickly. Canning buys you some storage time, but once the jar is open you need to refrigerate & eat within a month or so.

  • Marisa, I’d love to have you cover some ideas for how to use canned products that didn’t quite turn out the way one has planned. I’ve personally had two disappointing experiences in the past year: a batch of fermented pickles that are too sour, and a batch of meyer lemon marmalade that is too bitter. For the marmalade, I followed the suggestions on some of your previous posts about soaking the fruit peel, too, but it still turned out more bitter than I’d like I canned it anyway because I hate waste, but I’m stumped as to how to use it now. As a glaze for meats, perhaps? As for the pickles, I canned them, too, but even using them in pickle soup was a disappointment. Maybe I just have to dump them to free up the jars and chalk it up to experience. 🙁

    1. I made a mixed citrus marmelade that turned out bitter, but made a wonderful glaze for chicken and beef. I made Marissa’s Apple Lemon Honey Jam but for some inexplicable reason the family didn’t like it until I put some in the slow cooker with a pork roast. Not perfect jams are also often wonderful in jam cookies.

  • One of my “burning questions” is– what is the most environmentally sound and space-saving way to freeze things? I’m accustomed to freezing fruits and veggies in plastic freezer bags, but I’m not sure if those can really be “reused” and besides, I’m not wild about the plastic anyway. Is there a better container or method out there? I know I can freeze sauces, jams, soups and such in my jars, but I’m most curious about freezing fruits and veggies. Those are the ones that usually get stuck in plastic.

    I stumbled upon your blog recently and love it! I’m sure I’ll be referring to it quite a bit when canning season rolls around again.

  • Marisa, thank you in advance if you can advise me. I make a date/golden raisin haroset that is like a conserve. Since Medjool dates aren’t in season until Sept./Oct. I have to freeze them until Passover. I would love to can the haroset for gifts/year long eating, as it is so good. Is this possible? The conserve recipes in your book gave me the idea, but I notice yours are a combo of fresh and dried fruit.

    1. Niko, it really depends on the acidity of the finished product. Without knowing the entirety of the recipe, I can’t even begin to guess whether the haroset can be canned or not.

      1. The Recipe is:
        1 cup packed, pitted dates
        1 cup flame and/or golden raisins
        1/2 cup kosher Concord grape wine
        1 tsp cinnamon
        1 1/4 cups toasted walnuts or pecans
        fresh lemon juice (usually to taste, can be substituted with lime or vinegar, though I never have)
        sea salt, to taste
        1 1/2 cup of boiling water is added to soften the dates and raisins for about an hour. Process dates, raisins, wine, and cinnamon until blended in a smooth paste. Move mixture to a bowl. Without rinsing the food processor, pulse the nuts. Stir nuts into date/raisin paste. Add lemon juice, salt.
        It makes about 4 cups and is great added to yogurt. I’m new to canning and obviously don’t know if this is something that can be adapted to canning since there’s no fresh fruit or not enough acid.
        Sorry for not including the recipe in my previous comment.

  • Bergamot marmalade? You BRAVE lady. My speed on bergamot at this point is somewhere closer to waving at one when I pass it in Formaggio Kitchen. Thanks for a great recipe that is not from That Book. (your book, of course, is lovely)

  • Thanks for the shout out, Marisa. I LOVE that whole millet crust idea. So glad you shared it. Speaking of whole grains… I added the Liana Krisoff book on to a recent amazon order 🙂

  • I’ve always been reluctant to pressure can because I was taught (in the early 70s) that after opening the jar you have to boil the heck out of veggies, broths, etc. before eating to avoid botulism. Always seemed too inconvenient so freeze or purchase from store.

    Does your pressure canned broth require any special care before using, or is it just open the jar and start cooking?

  • I come from a family that has a long history of canning. I grew up helping my mom can anything we gathered a lot of and could not eat all of before it began spoiling. My grandparents on my father’s side literally willed my mom canning equipment which has many years since been passed to me. I honestly thought this was an art form that was disappearing until I happened across your blog. Kudos for your ideas, your easy to follow directions and for sharing what so many others are doing concerning canning! It may be the end of January but I feel like I just got a Christmas gift after reading about the merging of pears and dark chocolate. I will be making this lovely combination before February is over and gifting it to family and friend valentines. Thank you for sharing it! Then for my own pleasure persimmon oat cakes will be stirred up and baked. Yum, yum, yum. I cannot remember the last time I found a recipe involving persimmons!