Monthly Archives: July 2013

Giveaway - Food in Jars

This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you to everyone who entered!
I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m totally INTO fermentation.  I mean, you can see that link over there on the right-hand side that proudly proclaims, “BUY MY BOOK!” can you not?  And, duh, it’s called Fermented so to say that I’ve devoted a portion of my life to wonderful fermentation is not a well-kept secret.
However, I didn’t first get in to fermentation because of all the wonderful things it does for the body, I got into it because I wanted a way to preserve food.  I have a food dehydrator (and I love it!) for making all kinds of dried fruits, jerky, preserving fresh herbs.  And then I got a SCOBY from my friend Liz so I could start making my own kombucha.  After that I kind of went down the fermentation rabbit hole and didn’t look back.  Sure, I still regularly dehydrate all kinds of goodies, but for me, fermentation is the stuff.
Here’s the thing – dehydration and fermentation aren’t the only ways to preserve food.  In fact, they’re probably among the least common ways to preserve food.  Dehydration usually means you need to get a dehydrator (although not always), and for a while now fermentation has been making people nervous with its proliferation of bacteria.  (We live in a world that hates and fears bacteria!)
Other ways to preserve food – pickling, freezing, salting, smoking, refrigeration, vacuum packing.  But perhaps the most well known way to preserve food is canning!
I have always had a fascination with canning and yet I have little to no experience with it.  My grandparents had a fruit cellar off of the main part of their basement where my grandma would keep all of her canned goods (Others call a little cool room like that a larder, but she called it the fruit cellar.)  And I’m not talking about cans she bought at the supermarket, I’m talking about the stuff she canned herself in her own kitchen.   I think this was a really common sight in an Italian-American home, right?  Shelves loaded down with jars and jars and jars and jars of canned tomatoes. I know canning isn’t an Italian thing, per se, but canning tomatoes seemed to be a ritual that is associated with my people.
Anyway, canning!  This year I am going to get into it!  My friend Jenna has been canning for a while now (and boasts that when her grandma passed away, she was lucky enough to inherit her jars!), and of course, my fermentation inspiration buddy Liz is interested too.  The three of us were going to start to can this summer.  We started planning and came up with our Grand Can Plan where we mapped out all that we needed to can, what we want to can, when it is in season, and when we will have our big canning sessions.
And then our plans were derailed a bit.  Jenna is moving away to Atlanta, GA!  I am so so sad to see her leave, although totally STOKED for my friend because she is moving there for her dream job.  So I’m selfishly sad, but overall I’m thrilled for her to get to go on to pursue her professional goals.
This put a big sadface on our Grand Can Plan to say the least.  Our canning guru is leaving, thus leaving Liz and me to our own devices.  I have almost zero experience canning, and Liz has some.
Now that there will be two noobs in the kitchen, but we are soldiering on!  We will not abandon the Grand Can Plan!  We have a list of things we want to can and we’re gathering some serious resources to help us along the way.
I put out a call on Facebook a few weeks ago to clue me in to some of your favorite canning resources – books, websites, recipes, advice.  I got some good responses and it lead me to rediscover a book I’ve had for a few months, Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan.  I positively LOVE this book!!!!!
Food in Jars cover
First of all, Marisa’s blog is gorgeous.  Have you been there yet?  Seriously, put it on your regular read list.  The photos are gorgeous, the information is top-notch, and she’s an urban canner!  I can so relate!  And if that weren’t enough, she’s a fellow Pennsylvanian.  Keystone State represent!
What attracted me to Marisa’s blog in the first place was the fact that she lives in a big city AND she preserves food.  This is totally my jam (pun intended).  Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect and admiration for those of you who are country dwellers and have copious land and wilderness around.  You have beautiful gardens!  I envy your giant eat-in kitchens, basements, garages, and tons of storage space for things like big fermentation crocks and jars of preserved goodness.  For the longest time I didn’t think I could bother with fermentation or canning or any other kind of preservation because I didn’t think my wee urban kitchen had enough room for all the equipment and the storage.  Marisa has given me so much hope with Food in Jars!  The recipes are for small-ish batches of wonderful things that are perfect for a newbie canning enthusiast (like me and maybe you!), BUT they are so unique and inventive that those of you who have been canning for a while can find something really unusual and fabulous to add to your canning repertoire.

first thing to try(Look at this!  Cantaloupe jam?!  Brilliant.  It’s tops on the Grand Can Plan!  This is just one example of the really unique recipes in this book.)

I have a few dozen pages marked with tabs on the recipes I MUST make right away, and notes strewn all over my copy of this book.  It is going to be my canning guide and bible this year as I take my first forays into the canning world.  I have read and reread it and I love it.  And now I want to put one in your hands.

So many bookmarks(The Grand Can Plan is growing!  I hope Liz and I have enough time and jars to can everything we have on our master list!)

I’m giving away a copy of Food in Jars to one of you lucky readers!  Who is excited?!  (Meeeee!)
Here are the details:
1. Leave me a comment and tell me about your experience with food preservation  Do you can?  Ferment? Dehydrate? If you’re totally new to the game, let me know where you’d like to start. Share your story with me!
2. Sign up for my newsletter for an additional entry. I swear there will be no spam or excessive letters from me clogging your inbox.
3. Come on over and join me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for even more entries.  And don’t forget to give Marisa some love too and join her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
4. One bonus entry if you pre-order the book I did write, Fermented: A Four Season Approach to Paleo Probiotic Foods.  Just forward along your pre-order confirmation to me via email and you’ve just earned yet another shot at winning The 30 Day Guide.
Here is the fine print:  Because I think this book is so great, I’m going to leave this giveaway open for 5 days.  You have until Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at noon EDT to enter.  I’ll then pull one name at random from all the entries, and that person will be the winner.

News About Fermented!

Hello, friends!
I am so so so so so so pleased (really!) to announce to you that on Friday, August 16, 2013 I am throwing a little fete for Fermented.  I want everyone to come out and celebrate!
celebrate fermented
Here’s what you need to know:
Where: It will be held at Espresso a Mano right here in Pittsburgh (That would be the Lawrenceville neighborhood for those of you are local or are well versed in Burgh ‘hoods.)  My friend, Matt, owns the joint and he is letting me use his beautiful coffee shop as the launching grounds for Fermented.  The address is 3623 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, 15201
When: Friday, August 16, 2013 from 6pm to 9pm.  A day of significance for a few reasons.  I’m so happy that it is working out that this celebration can be on this day.
Why: Why not?
Additional details: If you’ve already pre-ordered Fermented, you ought to have it in your hands by then.  Bring your copy along and I’ll be delighted to sign it.  If you’d rather wait, buy your copy there at the party and I’ll still sign it!
If you buy/bring a book to sign, you’ll get a free cup of coffee for your generosity.
There will be snacks, beverages, and maybe even a few party favors for the first several dozen of you who come on in.  The theme will be fermentation, of course, and (hopefully) you’ll be leaving the soiree with a very thorough how-to manual on the topic.
Please stop on by and say hello, check out the book, have a cup of coffee, some snacks, and toast the world of fermentation.