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.


  1. Angela
    July 11, 2013 12:10 pm

    Hi! I’ve been canning jams for a few years. Living in Alaska, we had unique things we could can. Fireweed jam was one of my favorites. We also had wild low bush cranberries in our backyard and I made cranberry banana jam every year! I’m also experimenting with making Kombucha (have not been successful yet) and saurkraut (successfully made my first batch a few weeks ago). Would love more canning info!! Thanks for the giveaway. (PS I’m also on your Facebook page)

  2. Tara
    July 11, 2013 2:41 pm

    I do Kombucha so far…but my GF LOVES fermented foods. OH…I’ve done lacto-fermented horseradish mustard too…that was a HIT. I love the look of this book…if I don’t win it, I will have to put it in my Amazon cart next to yours, lol.

  3. Melissa
    July 11, 2013 4:40 pm

    My boyfriend and I are happy canners! I am an avid pick-your-own fruit fan, and I tend to end up with way too many raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, you name it. Once we’re done making pies, then we’re making jams. It’s perfect because my other food passion is cheese, and I love combining just about any fruit jam with blue cheese and nice bread. Perfecto!

  4. Katie
    July 12, 2013 12:24 am

    I’ve been canning for a few years now. I’ve made pickles, pickled okra (can you tell I’m from the south?), dilly beans, and my famous salsa. Each year the requests for my salsa get bigger and bigger so my canning gets more involved. It’s a ton of work, but there is nothing like showing up to a party in the middle of winter with a jar of homemade goodness that tastes like summertime. 🙂

  5. Crystal
    July 12, 2013 11:00 am

    I have dehydrated jerky and fruits, I ferment a lot but I have never canned. I have the equipment I just haven’t done it yet. I plan on canning in a few weeks with the help of a neighbor.

    • Jill
      July 12, 2013 11:05 am

      Sounds like Food in Jars is perfect for you then, Crystal! After looking through it you’ll want to can everything. Thanks for your entry!

  6. Austin King
    July 12, 2013 11:02 am

    I just got a food dehydrator and have mad a couple batches of delicious pork jerky. Next up…dried pineapple rings.

  7. david
    July 12, 2013 11:11 am

    Just starting to experiment with canning. I’ll take all the tips I can get

    • Jill
      July 12, 2013 11:14 am

      Thanks for the entry, David. We’re in the same boat and I’m telling you, this book is IT. I love it and I think you will too.

  8. Wendy
    July 12, 2013 11:48 am

    HI! I have only been canning for a couple of years and so am just a beginner. It has definitely been a learning experience, but I love it! I love the feeling of being self-sufficient and am hoping to learn much more. I am constantly calling my mom and neighbors with questions when canning season comes around. I need all the help I can get!

  9. Lena
    July 12, 2013 2:19 pm

    I’m so totally new to all this. This will be my first attempt at it…I just begged borrowed and stole canning jars of all sizes from all my relatives, friends and co workers. I plan to preserve most of the fall treasures that we might be able to get our hands on in Southern Ontario before the snow falls. Since turning to a real food diet, these days I find myself with my nose in books and on the internet learning and planning and soon will be in the kitchen creating…wish me luck! ♥

  10. Liz
    July 12, 2013 4:01 pm

    I’ve yet to can—but that’s going to change! This summer!
    I (obviously) got started brewing kombucha, but even before that, I started by making my own sauerkrat. SO delicious and easy!
    And food dehydrating is another one I wasnt to put on my bucket list. I just love having healthier food and snacks available. And more interesting. Who has ever even SEEN cantalope jam?! I want that NOW.

  11. Bambi
    July 12, 2013 4:48 pm

    I’ve canned jams in the past (but can’t handle sugar anymore). Now I dehydrate veggies and am very pleased with dehydrated organic beets that I grind into a powder.

  12. Gloria
    July 12, 2013 10:34 pm

    I’ve been canning for years – mainly spaghetti sauce from a recipe that has been in my family since I was a little girl (we can’t figure out who it came from but I suspect one of the old Italian ladies in the neighborhood). I also have been canning chili sauce, stewed tomatoes, and other various veggies over the years. I give my sauces as Christmas and thank you gifts. I’ve also dabbled in jams and chutneys. I’m making some raspberry jam this weekend!
    I’m also a jar hoarder (I have my Mom’s entire collection) and am trying to figure out a better way to store all of them. I am looking forward to getting some of the Ball blue jars that were made this year for Ball’s 100th anniversary.

  13. Jenn Kelley
    July 15, 2013 11:40 am

    Hi Jill!
    I’m a total newbie to the food preservation world…honestly, I’ve never really gotten started in it because it intimidates the living daylights outta me! But both this book and your new one seem like the best places to get over that fear and jump right in! I hate buying off season produce and feel like this would be the perfect way to get my fixes for so many of my favorite summer fruits and veggies during the colder weather. I even found an amazing organic road side produce stand near my house that sells stuff so much cheaper than my local grocery store, so this would be just another excuse for me to help support local agriculture!

  14. Sara
    July 15, 2013 11:55 am

    I’ve done a little bit of canning- peaches from the tree, tomatoes from the garden. I’m looking forward to doing some fermentation- kombucha! I was planning on canning peaches again this year, one last harvest from an old & diseased peach tree. Unfortunately, it collapsed from the weight yesterday, so no peaches for me this year. 🙁

  15. Patti
    July 15, 2013 12:41 pm

    I’ve been canning for years – now living rural and canning my own veggies from my garden, which is so exciting! I do a lot of jams and pickles, they’re great barter items. I would really like a dehydrator, someday. I have an indigo vat, which is non-edible fermenting. 🙂
    I’ve signed up for your newsletter and am following you on Twitter.

  16. Meghan Finley
    July 16, 2013 12:05 am

    I can but that’s all I do.

  17. Liane
    July 16, 2013 10:28 am

    I have canned low sugar jams and some tomato.sauce. i would love to do so much more! I also pre ordered your book and I am very excited about that.

  18. Brittney Blair
    July 16, 2013 10:30 am

    I just started kombucha about a month ago and love it! I have the fermenting bug and am really interested how to do canning. I’m a foodie nerd that loves to learn so I can’t wait for your book and after seeing your lol isins on Instagram I so want a dehydrator! lolI follow you on Instagram and Facebook, thank you for the giveaway.

  19. Liane
    July 16, 2013 10:30 am

    I had mispelled my email in my first comment, is correct:)

    • Liane
      July 16, 2013 10:33 am

      Now my first comment disappeared. I am not trying to spam you, honestly, i am just typepad impaired. I do can. Mostly low sugar jams and some tomato sauce. I ordered your book, too and I am very excited about it!

  20. Sara Grambusch
    July 16, 2013 10:30 am

    I just started fermenting recently and need all the instructions I can get. I need some new ideas because I’ve really perfected sauerkraut, lol. Looking forward to your book as well!

  21. Sarah
    July 16, 2013 10:58 am

    I grew up with my grandmother canning and I remember her cellar full of canned fruits, jams and veggies! We have our own little urban garden and would like to see each and every veggie we grow be used and not go to waste. It is definitely the greatest feeling to grow your own food and then create something delicious and beautiful from it! I would love to continue my grandmothers legacy of canning…and then hopefully move on to dehydrating and fermenting!

    • Jill
      July 16, 2013 11:33 am

      Sarah, sounds like our grandmothers were of like mind. I love how our generation is getting back to these traditional foodways! And get that dehydrator STAT! Mine is going right now with apricots in it! Thanks for the entry.

  22. Shannon
    July 16, 2013 11:48 am

    I grew up helping my grandmother can, and now I love to can for my family! I like to can traditional things…sauce, pickles, beans, peaches, relish, etc…but I also like to try new “old” recipes that I find in old cookbooks! Last year I also got into dehydrating last year…and must have did 1 million cherry tomatoes to use in salads!! Yum! My garden isn’t doing to great this year because of all the rain…but I will still get my hands on fresh veggies to can!!!

  23. Courtney Stokes
    July 16, 2013 11:58 am

    I have canned before with my mom and grandma before! My dad is a pro with kraut… I want to dehydrate. Thinking tomatoes… Or beef jerky to start!

  24. Jeffrey
    July 16, 2013 12:22 pm

    I just started canning last year, we did tomatoes and jams with fruit from our garden. The grape jam turned out the best, it was really flavorful. I’ve also dehydrated tomatoes and some fruits.

  25. Jeffrey
    July 16, 2013 12:23 pm

    I get your email updates at jefflammers at rocketmail dot com.

  26. Kendall Kuhlmann
    August 9, 2013 7:30 pm

    I realize that I am “late to the party” but got excited reading about your adventure into canning. I grew up watching my mother can local fruit in Western Colorado which we ate all winter. As an adult I started doing the same and then my husband introduced me to pressure canning for green beans (I had only done water bath food until then). In my 40’s we had an adult foster care home with 5 elderly ladies living with our family of 5. We took advantage of the local produce and I canned cherries, peaches, pears, apricots, grape juice, tomatoes, green beans, beats, corn, and all kinds of pickles and jams. Later a friend taught me how to can pinto beans and venison stew. I am a lot older now but teaching my youngest daughter to can. Happened on some boxes of green beans yesterday so starting the process this year but different now with Paleo lifestyle. I will have to look for that book as it seems like it might give me new ideas. A good basic resource is the Ball Canning Book. Our local (Oregon now) extension service recommends it during classes. I took a couple when I got back into canning in 2011 because I noticed some recommendations and cooking times have changed. Good luck with your canning plan–will look forward to hearing about the results.

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