It’s National Sugar Awareness Week!

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It seems fitting, as we’re leaving that holiday eating and last year’s baggage behind us and begin to focus on the little ways to make this year better! I was surprised at the number of people who’ve told me that they don’t make jam (or allow themselves to enjoy jam) anymore because of the amount of sugar most recipes contained. While many traditional recipes have called for almost as much sugar as fruit, the world of jam making and preserving has changed quite a bit!

Pomona's Ball iLid Giveaway1

 

With products like Pomona’s Pectin (which don’t require sugar for the set), one can significantly cut back on the sugar, or substitute it all together with alternative sweeteners. Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin will help you on your journey to reduce or to substitute the sugar content.

 

 

 

 

Marisa McClellan’s Naturally Sweet Food in Jars is filled with preserving recipes that do allow you to use sweetening agents like maple syrup, honey, apple juice, agave and more! Naturally Sweet Food in Jars cover low res

At one of Marisa’s classes here at Fillmore Container, she made her Pear Vanilla Jam with Honey and discussed some tips on preserving without processed sugar. You can find more of our favorite Low Sugar Jam recipes that Marisa McClellan shares on her blog Food in Jars.

If you’re fortunate enough to enjoy some apples from some local orchards, this Low Sugar Apple Ginger Butter  will make your home smell marvelous on these cold & damp days we’ve been having!

You’ll find many recipes sans sugar or with reduced sugar on our board, here.

 

It’s worth recognizing that sugar does have another role in the preserving of jams & jellies. The higher levels of sugar helps to keep water activity lower – which helps to keep the product more stable. It can also help maintain brightness of color a bit longer on the shelf. Once low sugar preserves are opened, they can often have a shorter refrigerated life, so canning in small jars and being careful not to contaminate the contents becomes quite helpful.

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NEW Smooth Sided Jars from Ball®

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We are giddy over these sleek new jars from Ball. The new Smooth-Sided Jar Collection offers a smooth face on three sides of the jar, with a minimized Ball logo on one side. We love it, because these new jars will accommodate a wide variety of labeling for preserves, increase decorating options for crafting, decor, gifting and sharing.ball-smooth-sided-jars-fillmore-container-text

The creative possibilities are endless for labeling, and these jars are safe for canning, but also ideal for storage too: candy, buttons, popcorn kernels, nails, potpourri and more.ball-smooth-sided-jars-fillmore-container-3text

  • Each case includes 12 jars, 12 lids and 12 bands
  • Smooth sides with a minimized Ball® logo offer plenty of labeling and crafting space
  • Safe and perfect for canning
  • BPA free
  • Made in the USA

The new Smooth-Sided jars are available in three sizes:

 

 

We are often asked which Ball products we carry, so we’ve put a full list together for you.

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We Just Added the reCAP Fermenter

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We added another useful tool to our fermenting products. Introducing The reCAP® Fermenter: an easy to use waterless airlock set for making ferments. It fits the pour spout of the pour caps  which means it can work with both regular mouth and wide mouth Mason jars!


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reCAP® Fermentation
is different than some other fermenting systems because it is a low-profile, waterless airlock with a one-way valve to let gases escape and absolutely not let air in. This eliminates the need to monitor the jars every day, but makes it easy to peek in and taste when desired.

What makes the reCAP Fermenter so special:

  • EASY – Low profile, Waterless Airlock (no maintenance) & interchangeable between regular and wide mouth Mason jars. Quick Clean Up & Dishwasher safe.
  • SAFE – Rust-free, BPA-free, Food Safe Plastic. True One-way Valve (allow gases to escape and will not let air in)
  • DURABLE – An Economical, Multipurpose Solution that will last for many years.
  • NO Maintenance or monitoring required.

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Mason jars are a popular vessel for fermentation. reCAP Mason Jars converts the pour cap into a fermenting tool with the reCAP Fermenter.  The waterless airlock and stopper fits perfectly into reCAP’s pour cap. Once the ferment is complete, simply remove the stopper, press down the pour lid and it’s ready for storage!  The reCAP Fermenter can then be used in another batch.  No need to scramble for lids and rings.

The reCAP® Fermentation comes as a 3-pack. It is dishwasher safe and made of BPA-free, food safe plastic. Order yours here.ferment 3-pack

Recipes and Resources

We highly recommend the book Ferment Your Vegetables by Amanda Feifer. It’s a great guide to making your own pickles, kimchi, kraut and so much more. Amanda’s blog Phickle is also a wealth of resources and recipes. Batch, by the folks at Well Preserved covers a variety of preserving methods including fermenting.

A few of our favorite ferment recipes:

Simple Sauerkraut

Kale Kimchi

Mirepoix Sauerkraut Recipe

If you are totally new to fermenting, don’t be scared. Watch this video to see how easy it really is!

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the new addition to our Fermenting Supplies, we put together a fun fermenting package. We will pick one lucky winner. Enter below.

Fermenting Package includes:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Quick Pickling for the Holidays

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Pickling isn’t just for summer time! Looking to add something crunchy to your relish trays at the upcoming Holiday gatherings, or even to share with your neighbors? Grab some cucumbers or other veggies and get pickling!

Quick Pickles, AKA Refrigerator Pickles are stored in the refrigerator, so there isn’t any need for a boiling water bath. Yes, you will need to have a little room in your refrigerator, but perhaps it’s a good time to do a little clean out anyway. Pickling Spices in Jars Fillmore Container

Don’t have fresh Dill or spices on hand or know that you’re going to be super short on time?  You can buy spice mixes like Mrs. Wages Refrigerator Pickle Mixes, which are available in Kosher Dill, Polish Dill and even Bread & Butter!

If you’re lucky enough to have some of your pickling spices on hand from the summer, you can find a wide selection of Quick Pickle recipes or even Fermented Veggie Recipes to try! Because the canning process isn’t needed for these, it gives you the opportunity to use some jars that you might feel uncomfortable using in the canner. (You might want to do some browsing!)

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Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe for Gifting

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homemade-christmas-hot-cocoa-kit Fillmore ContainerContinuing our Homemade Christmas theme, we’re sharing a delicious trio with the amazing teachers in our lives! A jar of Hot Cocoa Mix, a jar of Homemade Marshmallows, and a little jar of crushed Peppermint Candy Cane.

This creamy dreamy Hot Cocoa just may be what snowy days are may for! This year, I learned that my kids are more persnickety about their hot cocoa than I ever realized. So, when we tested out this recipe from Alton Brown and they loved it, I knew it was the one! Since we had quite a few folks on our list, the recipe that we’re sharing here is for a bulk or gifting volume. It will fill  8 – 9  of the 26 oz Square Mason Jars.  You can find the original recipe here if you’d like to make a smaller batch.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-marshmallows-recipe.htmlHot Cocoa Mix

  • 10 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 5 Cups Dutch Process Cocoa
  • 12 1/2 Cups Powdered Milk
  • 5 tsp Salt
  • 10 tsp Cornstarch
  • 5  –  6 Pinches of Cayenne Pepper (optional!) I didn’t use this for our batch since I didn’t know if everyone would appreciate it.

In a very large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Package or store in air-tight containers.

 

 

To enjoy your Hot Cocoa: Mix 5 T with 8 – 10 ounces of hot water, stir well, top with a fluffy marshmallow, a dollop of whipped cream or some peppermint crumbles.homemade hot cocoa Fillmore Container

We’ve made free printables with the hot cocoa instructions for you to attach to your gifting jars.

 

Our jars of Hot Cocoa Mix were accompanied by these Homemade Airy Marshmallows. After a marshmallow disaster years ago, I’d kind of given up on them. But after seeing how easy Ina Garten made it look in her video, I decided to give it another try. Happily, there was only delight in the resulting billowy mounds of sweetness, which proved quite tempting to my helpers. It was difficult to ensure that we had enough to fill all of the pint gift jars!

 

A couple of tips once you flip that marshmallow mound into your powder sugar covered cutting surface:http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-marshmallows-recipe.html

  • On slicing, we found that a large chef knife used in a downward motion worked best.
  • Keep plenty of powdered sugar on your cutting surface and as you slice the initial long strips, roll the raw edges in the sugar to keep them from sticking to….well anything else they’d touch.
  • Toss cubes into a bowl with more powdered sugar to ensure that all sides are powdered.
  • Gently toss into a large sieve and tap off the excess powdered sugar back into the bowl before storing.

 

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We topped it off with little jam jars filled with crushed candy canes, topped with our festive red lids.

Are you doing some homemade Christmas or Holiday Gifts this year? We’d love to see what you’re making & gifting, so please share with us!

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Perfect Pancake & Waffle Mix for Gifting

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A few Christmas seasons ago, a friend of ours got the bright idea of selling this amazing Pancake & Waffle Mix as a fund raiser. She packaged it in our lovely Cracker Jars (for larger families) in addition to wide mouth Pint and quart jars. They made great gifts for teachers and coworkers that year! We even added a bottle of our own Vanilla Extract and some Maple Syrup to sweeten the deal!

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dry ingredients bulkAlthough I did need to run to the market to gather a few items (I usually don’t stock dry milk in my pantry), I was able to have this ready to gift in a flash! If you have a good bulk store in your area, this is one of those projects that will make this even more economical. I was thrilled to be able to do one-stop-shopping at our local Kauffman’s Fruit Farm.

Perfect Pancake & Waffle Mix

  • 6 C Flour
  • 2 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2C Buttermik/Dry Milk Powder
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 3T Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 T Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Salt

Which all ingredients together in a large bowl and store in an airtight container.

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We’ve included free printables that include the recipes for Pancakes, for Waffles and for the dry ingredients – the part that you would mix together and then jar up – some for giving and some for your pantry!

cracker jar fillmore container

Do you have a favorite mix that you’d love to gift this Christmas? If you do, we’d love to hear about it!

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Homemade Holiday Gift Guide

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If you want to make some hand made gifts this Christmas, our Homemade Holiday Gift Guide is for you! We’ve pulled together our top DIY blog posts to inspire you in crafting and sharing something that lets your creativity shine.

Our friend Malia, over at Yesterday on Tuesday, created some charming holiday gift labels & tags that you can customize for your giving. holiday-mason-jar-canning-label-and-tag-close-up-698x465

 

To get these free holiday gifting labels, just click the links below, save to your computer and print. Yep, it’s that easy!

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Homemade Gift Ideas

1. Make some body butter, scrubs or bath salts for those that enjoy a little pampering.

2. A couple jars of apple pie filling makes for a great gift for the hostess on your list.

3. Make a terrarium for someone to observe, tend and love.

4. Make your own vanilla extract and gift in our new Swing Top bottles. (Tip: Since this extract is at its best after 2 – 3 months, consider tagging it with a little note to let your recipients know when it will be ready. Something like “Give me a shake whenever you walk by! Best if used after <insert date>” could work .

Vanilla Extract Holiday Gifting

5. Spice rubs are so easy to make the kids can do it!

6. Crochet a custom cozy for some Mason jar mugs.

7. Bring the outdoors in with these Mason jar lanterns.

8. Cranberry rosemary vinegar is a beautiful reflection of the holiday season!

9. Homemade spice mixes are always better than store bought!

10. This Hot Chocolate and Coffee Bar is a great way to welcome guests over the holidays!hot-chocolate-and-coffee-bar-

11. Make your own mulling spice and you’ll instantly warm up a cold winter evening.

12. Make a jar of Cookie Butter Reindeer Noses that are so cute and tasty, that your guests will be asking for the recipe and a how to, which you’ll find on Heavenly Cake Pops.

13. These Christmas Snow Globes are super easy and quite elegant with our Heritage Hill jars.

14. This wine lovers gift in a jar is sure to be perfect for someone on your list.

15. Homemade hot sauce, and other chili pepper preserves will surely spice up someone’s stocking.

Hot Sauce gifting

Need more holiday ideas? Check out all our gift guides here.

Fermenting Gift Guide

Canning Gift Guide

Mason Jar Accessories Gift Guide

Preserving Cookbook Gift Guide

 

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Top Preserving Cookbooks

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A preservers life is not complete without a library of resources to pull recipes and techniques from. Our preserving books cover topics from canning, to fermenting, to Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin, and more. Here are our top selling preserving books that will be perfect for the preserver on your list. And don’t forget all ‘book only’ orders ship for just $5.

Preserving Book Gift Guide

  1. Marissa McClellan’s has a wonderful trio of preserving cookbooks Food in Jars,  Preserving by the Pint and Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. All of these books teach the essentials of preserving in small batches.
  2. Ferment Your Vegetables, by Amanda Feifer of Phickle, is a must-have for the newbie or for the seasoned fermenter.
  3. Joel MacCharles & Dana Harrison; bloggers at Well Preserved, introduced Batch just this year. It provides recipes and tips on seven processes of preserving methods.
  4. Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy is a great resource if you’re already a Pomona’s Pectin convert or if you’re looking to reduce the amount of sugar in your preserves.
  5. As a Master Gardener and Master Preserver, Linda Ziedrich’s Joy of Pickling and Joy of Jams, Jellies and other Sweet Preserves collectively boast an impressive 400+ recipes for preserving!
  6. The Ball Blue book was probably a staple on your grandmother’s shelf, and it can be on yours too. The latest edition (37th) features 200 recipes, and step-by-step instructions for a variety of preserving methods.

Shop our entire our Preserving Library, and take a look at our other gift guides here.

Fermenting Gift Guide

Canning Gift Guide

Mason Jar Accessories Gift Guide


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Top Mason Jar Accessories

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There have been so many great creations to adapt Mason jars to be useful beyond their original purpose of preserving food. Here are a few of our top sellers!Mason Jar Gifts

1. The Cuppow folks continue to top our list with 3 pretty cool products.  The Cuppow Coozie is made with Pfelt, which is created from recycled plastic bottles. The Coozie insulates hot or cold beverages and fits a widemouth 16 oz jar. It boasts a stretch webbing to easily store a reusable straw, fork, or spoon and a loop for carrying. Pair it with a Cuppow lid and you’ll turn your Mason jar into a travel mug/cup. The BNTO, also made by Cuppow, fits inside a widemouth canning jar, separating the jar into two leak-proof compartments. Fill it with salad dressing, hummus, granola, nuts, salsa, for a snack or lunch on the go.

2. ReCAP lids make Mason jars the perfect multi-purpose container for everyday use. Transform your canning jars into on-the-go drinks, OR organize pantry items like grains, cereals, and rice. Check out some great gifting ideas with these versatile lids here. The company’s Flip Cap lids allows you easy access to your products. Use the flip cap to store opened refrigerated items, dry goods or organizing your pantry. Add an accessories kit to convert the lid to a shaker. Learn more here.

3. Our Paper Straw collection continues to expand! We now carry over 40 paper straw designs/colors! From polka dots, to gingham, to chevron, to stars and stripes, to camo and cow print, solid colors and so much more including some super cute new holiday designs. Combine our straws our fancy and fun lids in so many new colors and designs.

4. Our newest addition to this category is the Mason Bottle Kits which includes components to turn a Mason jar into a feeding solution for infants – to toddlers, and beyond. The kits available in both 8oz, and 4oz sizes includes, one set of silicone nipples (slow flow), one silicone sleeve (to fit the 8oz jars or 4oz jars, sold separately), and one plastic cap. Get all the details on this brand new product here.

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Mason Bottles are here!

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We’re so excited to have added the Mason Bottle Kits and additional Silicone Sleeves to our lineup! They certainly make the grade when it comes to our desire to carry items that facilitate healthier, chemical free, earth friendly consumer choices and give even more life to humble mason jars. We love that the components can be useful from infant bottle-feeding, to toddler and beyond.

Mason Baby Bottlesbabybottle-keyThe original Mason Bottle DIY Bottle kit  includes:

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  • one set of silicone nipples (slow flow)
  • one silicone sleeve
  • one plastic cap.

They are available in a kit to fit the 4oz jar or the 8oz jar. If you’re buying for a new mother, you could get one of each so that she can transition right into the 8oz. However, if you’re super thrifty, you could simple get one of the kits and then add the Silicone Sleeve of the other size. (Jars and Bands sold separately)

Details for a Mommy of a Newborn:

  • The wide breast-like nipples are designed to transition between breast and bottle and have a built-in ventilation system to reduce gas and colic.
  • The silicone sleeve adds protection and grip during feeding.
  • The silicone sleeve also serves nicely as a buffer when packing additional bottles for when you’re on the go or for childcare, so having a couple of sleeves on hand would be helpful!

Our colorful Plastisol Single Piece lids would make color coding for milk dating and rotation a breeze. They fit both the 4oz or 8oz jars and would be an economical choice for freezing/storing breastmilk.  For a rust-free option, the iLIDS will would also serve you well. While more of an investment, they would be recommended if proper washing & drying isn’t practical.

We recommend hand washing and thoroughly drying your mason jar rings to extend their lifespan. The good news is that everything else can go in the dishwasher: glass mason jars, our silicone nipples, silicone sleeves, and plastic caps! All components are BPA-free and Made in the USA.

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As baby begins to eat pureed vegetables and fruits, the 4oz jars from your bottles can be used with your plastisol or iLIDS to freeze your homemade baby food! Again, you could come up with whatever fun color coding system you’d like, or simply use a wax pencil or some masking tape to date & label your jars. This How to Make and Freeze Baby Food post will get you started!

 

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When baby is no longer in need of a nipple, we have several cuppow sippy cup or drink lid options that can take your 8 oz bottles and sleeves right into that next stage!

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The reCAP Flip Caps will turn that 4oz jar into a snack container which allows little fingers to easily access their bits of food. Put a reCAP Pour Cap on a the 8oz jar if you’d like to pour small, more regulated portions out.

 

Important Tips on thawing and warming milk or pureed foods: Don’t forget the thermal shock limitations of glass. We recommend moving frozen items into the refrigerator the night before, or allowing to at least partially thaw with supervision before attempting to warm the jar and its contents. The best way to warm both milk and food is to place the bottle/jar in a pan of warm water, or to use a bottle warmer. Breast-milk in particular, is sensitive to over-heating. *Always be sure to test the temperature of the baby’s milk or food before feeding.*

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