Low Sugar Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam

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Our friends at Pomona’s Universal Pectin wanted to share this Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam recipe with us. The Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam is a low-sugar or low-honey cooked jam made with Pomona’s Pectin. It is an early summer classic – nice combination of tart and sweet. Feel free to use other sweeteners that measure like sugar or honey in this recipe. For example, you can use a stevia product that measures like sugar. You can also use a different liquid sweetener, like agave or maple syrup. We enjoyed the jam with some garlic chevre on flat bread. Yum!Strawberry Rhubarb Jam in Action

We cut back on the sugar by ½ a cup of sugar (only used 1 ½ cups sugar) and it was sweet enough for us. We wanted to get more of the real fruit taste, and less sweetness. We’ve made a note to try and cut the sugar back even more next time we make this recipe, since it was still sufficiently sweet, even with our first-round modification. We also cut back on the pectin too, we only used ½ a teaspoon of pectin, we wanted a softer jam that was more of a spreadable preserve, so it was perfect for us. However, we opened up a jar to test the set several days later, and I’d recommend using the full amount of pectin suggested in this recipe – especially if you want a notable set.  We are happy with our soft jam, but we know others like a firmer set.

Strawberry-Rhubarb JamRhubarb Stalks & Strawberries

Yield: about 5 cupsPomonas Calcium Water Label

Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well.  Extra calcium water may be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Ingredients:

2 cups mashed strawberries (about 4 cups whole strawberries)
2 cups cooked rhubarb (chop rhubarb, add a little water, cook until soft, measure)
2 teaspoons calcium water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup up to 1 cup honey or ¾ cup up to 2 cups sugar
2½ teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder

Directions:

1. Wash jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and keep jars in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan; cover and heat to a simmer. Turn off heat and keep lids in hot water until ready to use.

2. Wash, remove hulls, and mash strawberries. Rhubarb Stalks & Strawberries

3. Prepare rhubarb (cook until soft with a little water).Prepare rhubarb. Measure fruit into sauce pan.

4. Measure fruit and add into saucepan with cooked rhubarb.

5. Add calcium water and lemon juice and mix well.

6. Measure sugar or room temperature honey into a bowl. Thoroughly mix pectin powder into sweetener. Set aside.Pomona's Pectin Powder and Sugar

7. Bring fruit mixture to a full boil. Add pectin-sweetener mixture, stirring vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the jam comes back up to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.Fruit Cooking

8. Fill hot jars to ¼” of top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-piece lids. Note: We used both our Orchard Road lids and our bulk lids. You can see the difference in room for labeling your jars. Put filled jars in boiling water bath canner and cover. Boil 10 minutes (add 1 minute more for every 1,000 ft. above sea level). Remove from water. Let jars cool. Check seals; lids should be sucked down. Eat within 1 year. Lasts 3 weeks once opened and refrigerated.
Jam jars in canner

Note: If you’re not sure if your jam is sweet enough, taste it after the pectin is dissolved and jam has come back up to a boil. Not sweet enough? Add more sweetener and stir 1 minute at full boil.

How to Win a Blue Ribbon for Canned Goods at the Fair

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Veteran judges, Louetta Hurst and Vicki Becker, have seen their share of judging. They’ve shared their expertise at many local & county fairs and we caught up with them at the PA State Farm Show. For a couple of years, now, we’ve been participating in the PA State Farm Show. (You can read about all of the fun we had at our Preservation Station here.) This year, however, I was invited to attend the judging portion of the Home Canned & Preserved Goods, and you can bet I didn’t turn down that invitation!

Judging Pickles 2015 PA Farm Show

While we weren’t able to catch the judging for all of the Preserved Goods Class, we were able to observe and listen in as throughout the judging process and after placements were assigned, could discuss the details of why some won and others didn’t. We know that as you gain confidence in your canning, you may want to try your hand at your local fair and wanted to share some tips with you.

Before the tips, though:

Judging is tougher than many imagine. Judges are governed by the descriptions, rules and classes published in the Fair Books. Please take it easy on them!

Judging Tomato Ketchup 2015 PA Farm Show

These first 4 tips apply to all canning entries:

Use New Rings

  • Even though your preserved goods should be stored without the rings, their presence is required in order to enter them. Thus, they become part of what is judged. Judges don’t like rust. If they see rust on a lid/jar, it is out of the running, no matter how lovely the contents appear.

Start with Quality Produce

  • Use Premium Produce: Bruised or blemished products can be unpredictable during preservation – especially when it comes to appearance & texture.
  • Use Ripe Produce: Both under-ripe and over-ripe produce can result in less than perfect end product – in appearance, texture and taste.

Pack your Produce Well

  • Take extra care with how you pack your produce into your jars. If you’ve passed the ring test, the general appearance of your product is up next. They won’t even get around to opening your jar if it doesn’t look like a potential winner.
  • Headspace – if you’re here, you know what this is. Be sure that you’ve got the proper headspace for the contents, size of jar and process.

Don’t Cheat – This may seem obvious, but every year, there are entries that make this tip necessary.

  • Do not attempt to alter the color by adding colorants – natural or artificial. If the contents appear to be artificially altered, the entry is out.
  • Do not under-process in attempt to maintain texture or color. Certain types of produce just don’t handle high temperatures for the duration required and they fade. This will happen. Judges know this and are naturally suspicious of entries that exhibit colors or textures that are out of the norm.

Pickled Items:

Judging Pickled Mixed Vegetables 2015

  • Crispness (find some tips on maintaining your crisp factor here)Judging Dilly Beans Crispy PA Farm SHow
  • Proper Size – for the jar, for the type of pickle, and be consistent.
  • Consistent length – If you’re cutting your produce, use our cutting board hack to ensure each piece is the perfect length. This is also helpful if measuring green beans for dilly beans!
  • Do not use those little pieces to fill in the top or to try to avoid floating. (Keep those for your “use at home” jars)
  • Have enough brine so that all contents are fully covered.
  • Good Taste. Yes, this is open to interpretation, but be sure it tastes like what it’s called.

Dilly Beans

Tomatoes:

Whole or Quartered Tomatoes 2015

feathering Tomatoes

Example of Feathering Tomatoes

We had some discussion on this – most fair books contain the category “whole or quartered tomatoes”. If you have the choice (based on your tomatoes) go with the whole. They tend to hold their structure better through the canning process and will “show” much better than the quartered.

  • Avoid feathering. This is often a result of over processing, but sometimes over-ripe produce. While it is important to follow the processing times, you’ll want to take care that you don’t allow jars to spend more time in the canner than required. *Please note: we are not suggesting that you cut any corners!
  • Coring: Cored tomatoes look nicer, but don’t hold their structure as well as ones that are not cored. If you decide to not core, simply place your cores toward the center of the jar so they’re not visible. It’s not cheating; it’s just placement & presentation.
Winning Tomatoes PA Farm Show

Winning Tomatoes 2015 PA Farm Show

Carrots, Corn, Peas:

  • Avoid Particles & Cloudiness– careful slicing, picking out fragments or broken pieces and not over-processing will help decrease both of these.

Carrots Not Good for judging BlogJudging Whole kernel corn 2015

Sauerkrauts & Relishes:

Blog1Judging Sauerkraut not good

There’s not enough brine in this jar of sauerkraut

  • Brine Coverage: Be sure that you have enough liquid present so that contents are not exposed.
Judging Sauerkraut better

More brine is evident in this jar of sauerkraut

Jams:

udging Strawberry Jam

  • Presence of seeds – most judges do not like seeds.  (I personally think that’s part of why I like jam over jelly, but I’m not a judge!)
  • Good Consistency – not too solid, not too runny
  • Chunkiness – small fragments of fruit is acceptable, but they frown on large chunks.
  • Clean lid – if there is jam on the lid, it would suggest that it was imperfectly handled during processing. They’re looking for a clean lid!

For some of you, this is where “Canning for your Home” and “Canning for the Fair” part ways. It’s really up to you how much effort you wish to invest. One exhibitor admitted that she sorted through bushels of beans in order to get enough of the perfect length for her fair jars.

We wish you the best as you preserve your foods this season – whether you’re canning to show at your local fair or stocking your pantry to feed your family. If you do enter and win, we’d love to hear from you! On the other hand, we certainly won’t pass judgement if you plan to stick to the simplicity of stocking a pantry of tasty goods!

Strawberry-Vanilla Preserves Recipe

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Our friends at Pomona’s Universal Pectin wanted to share this Strawberry-Vanilla Preserves recipe with us. The recipe is from their book  Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy (Fair Winds Press, June 2013). As strawberries come to season in your neck of the woods, this recipe should be on your list.Strawberry Vanilla Preserves

Allison says that ripe, in-season strawberries, combined with a smooth, exotic note of fresh vanilla, makes this preserve nothing short of heavenly. It will add a bit of flair to the breakfast table (or bagel) of course, but it’s also great in desserts – try it on top of a biscuit with a bit of whipped cream for a spectacular strawberry-vanilla shortcake! The berries in this preserve tend to float to the top during canning, so mix it up well before serving.

Strawberry-Vanilla Preserves Recipe

Yield: 4 to 5 half-pint (8-ounce) jars

Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water.  To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well.  Extra calcium water may be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Ingredients:

2¼ pounds strawberries
½ cup water
1 vanilla bean (Here’s where we get our vanilla beans)
1½ teaspoons calcium water
1¼ cups sugar
1½ teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin powder

Strawberry-Vanilla Preserves Directions:

1. Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.

2. Rinse strawberries and remove stems.

3. Combine strawberries and the ½ cup of water in a large saucepan. Using a paring knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla seeds and the bean pod itself to the strawberries. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir carefully – you don’t want to crush the berries. Remove from heat.

4. Measure 4 cups of the cooked strawberry mixture (saving any extra for another use), and return the measured quantity to the saucepan. Add calcium water and mix well.

5. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and pectin powder. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

6. Bring strawberry mixture back to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the preserves come back up to a boil. Once the preserves return to a full boil, remove the pan from the heat. Using tongs, carefully remove the vanilla bean pod from the preserves and discard.

7. Can Your Preserves: Remove jars from canner and ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude if necessary). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly. Eat within 1 year. Lasts 3 weeks once opened.

TIP:  Shapely Strawberries
Unlike jams, which usually require that you mash the fruit, when you’re making preserves, the idea is to keep individual pieces of fruit (or uniformly cut pieces of fruit) mostly whole and intact. For strawberries, small or average-size berries are ideal, though larger berries will work – simply slice them in half if they are too big. To help avoid mashing delicate fruit unintentionally, use a wider saucepan so that fruit has room to spread out and cook evenly without a lot of stirring. And when you do stir, stir with a back-and-forth motion, rather than an up-and-down motion – this way you’ll be less likely to crush the berries.

Want more strawberry jam recipes? Here are a few of our favorites.
Strawberry Meyer Lemon Marmalade
Honey Sweetened Strawberry Thyme Jam
Simple Strawberry Jam with Pomona’s Pectin

Check out our Pinterest boards for more jam recipes.

If you’d like more recipes from Allison, check out her book, Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin.

Mason Jar Wedding Ideas

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Wedding season is just around the corner and we’ve been filling quite a few orders for brides (and grooms). Mason Jar Mugs Weddings

Many of our brides are looking for drinkware alternatives. Our Mason jar handled mugs top the list along with their fancy counterparts – pretty paper straws (we have a selection of more than 20 colors), jar toppers (see some of our selection below) and drink dispensers. This is a great way to save on rental costs for drinkware, especially since guests can take it home, so the mugs can also be your wedding favor. Consider getting them engraved here.

WeddingNauticalStraws

Mason Jar Straw Lids, Daisy Lids and Star lids

Montana and Heritage Hill Jars

Mason Jar CenterpieceCandy buffets have been pretty popular over the last few wedding seasons, so our Heritage Hill, Cracker, and Montana jar collections have been in high demand. We can even teach you how to make your own chalkboard labels here. Of course, using Mason jars for centerpieces and other accents throughout your wedding décor is always beautiful. If your wedding colors reflect purple or green hues, you’ll definitely want to incorporate Ball’s Heritage Collection jars.

If you are planning on crafting your own DIY wedding favor such as homemade jam, apple butter, spice rubs, vanilla extract, or make candles. We have a variety of jars, wax, wicks, and fragrance oils to help you make this project a snap.  These itty bitty jars have been a favorite for many brides.Wedding  Jars with Yellow

If you aren’t the do it yourself kind of gal, we have some pretty cool customers that can create some awesome favors.

  • Infused Spreads is a great source for natural spreads and preserves with some unique flavor combinations.
  • Aunt Haybee’s has edible favors including honey, preserves, and artisan cocoa.
  • The Outer Banks Candle Company has handcrafted candles that are perfect for favors, gift baskets, welcome bags and table settings.

If you’re planning a wedding, head over to our new storefront on The Knot for some inspiration, or check out our Pinterest boards.

 




We’d love to see photos of your favorite way to incorporate Mason jars, and other glass containers in weddings and other events. Share your ideas with us here or on social media.

Sunrise Marmalade Recipe

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Our friends at Pomona’s Universal Pectin wanted to share this Sunrise Marmalade recipe with us. The recipe is from their book  Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy (Fair Winds Press, June 2013). The marmalade is slightly spiced with a nice sweetness. Think carrot cake and spice cake flavors.

Allison says, if it’s possible to have a marmalade version of a delectable carrot cake, this is it. It’s lightly spiced and lusciously sweet, and when spread generously on dark bread with a bit of butter, this delicious marmalade is a perfect way to greet the morning.

sunrisemarmalade

Sunrise Marmalade Recipe

Yield:  4 to 5 cups

Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water.  To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well.  Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Ingredients:
2 medium-size oranges
1 1/3 cups peeled, grated carrots
1 1∕3 cups chopped pineapple
¼ cup golden raisins
1 1∕3 cups water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons calcium water
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin powder

Sunrise Marmalade Directions:

TIP: For canning safety, don’t increase the quantity of the carrots in this recipe, and remember to use bottled lemon juice.

1. Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.

2. Thoroughly wash the oranges. Peel the fruit and set aside peel from 1 orange, discarding the remaining peels. Remove and discard any seeds, excess white pith, or especially fibrous parts of the membrane from the flesh of both oranges. Finely chop the flesh of both oranges.

3. Using a paring knife, scrape off and discard the inner white part of the reserved peel. Slice the peel into thin strips, about 1-inch long.

4. In a large saucepan, combine chopped oranges, sliced peel, grated carrots, chopped pineapple, golden raisins, and the 1 1∕3 cups of water. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

5. Measure 4 cups of the cooked fruit mixture (saving any extra for another use), and return the measured quantity to the saucepan. Add cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, lemon juice, and calcium water. Mix well.

6. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and pectin powder. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

7. Bring fruit mixture back to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the marmalade comes back up to a boil. Once the marmalade returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.

8. Can Your Marmalade: Remove jars from canner and ladle jam into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes. (Add 1 extra minute of processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.

TIP: Keep It Equal
If you have too much fruit and need to get rid of some to meet the required 4-cup quantity, be sure that you remove solids and liquids equally. This is very important in maintaining both the proper consistency and proper acidity of the final product. Don’t pour off the liquid—instead, remove extra solids and liquids from the measuring cup one spoonful at a time, making an effort to remove liquid spoonfuls and solid spoonfuls in roughly equal quantities.

If you’d like more recipes from Allison, check out her book, Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin.

Countdown to Canning Season

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The first day of spring has come and gone and we, like you, are anxious for our favorite local fruits and vegetables to come to season so we can restock our canning shelves.canning supplies FillmoreContainer

We’ve updated our master canning to do list – 5 Tips to Prepare for Canning Season – to help you get ready. This post is filled with much more than just 5 tips…you’ll find ideas about how to:

  • Review your preserving history;
  • Evaluate inventory;
  • Prepare, inspect and organize your supplies;
  • Build a resource list;
  • And so much more!

In celebration of canning season 2015 we are giving away a $100 credit to Fillmore Container. One lucky winner will fill their cart with handy tools, new jars and lids, a canning book, or whatever they may need to gear up for canning season.

Good Luck!
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Why We Make Our Own Packing Peanuts

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Here at Fillmore Container, we are committed to be as environmentally responsible as possible. Over the years, we’ve tested and compared a variety of packing products and methods to see which provided the best balance of sustainability, performance and cost. While we’ve exclusively* chosen to use compostable peanuts for a long time, this year we’re taking it a step further!

We are now producing our own packing peanuts on site!  

BlogPeanuts

What does this mean for you?

  • Our sustainable packing peanuts are made of industrial grade corn starch produced in the USA.
  • The ones we use in our packaging haven’t been handled or hauled– so they’re as good & fresh as they can be!
  • They come with a landfill-free disposal option – will dissolve in water for easy disposal.
  • Making packing peanuts in house lowers our carbon footprint. Less energy spent in the hauling, handling and storage management.

BlogPacking Station2

  • They are static-free – won’t stick to your packages or products.Compostable
  • Biodegradable packing peanuts out-perform polystyrene loose fill packaging in crush tests, providing a more resilient cushioning product. Typical polystyrene-based foam packaging tends to migrate or snap within a box when pressed under the weight of a product.

Watch our peanut machine in action.

 
Wondering what you can do with your extra peanuts?

  • Unless your packing peanuts have gotten damp, they should be able to be used for cushioning again. Consider checking with a local retail business in your area – they may be thrilled to re-use your peanuts for their shipping.
  • Put them in your compost pile. Because they are biodegradable in water, they will break down quickly in soil.

*Occasionally, we will use alternative packing materials which may include bubble wrap, foam wrap, kraft paper, other packing peanuts, or honeycomb wrap for small orders. These packing materials are being re-used – either we received them as samples, part of an inbound shipment or they were brought in my friends and family in their desire to minimize waste.

 

The Simplest Sauerkraut

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Homemade sauerkraut is wonderfully different from the kraut you get at the grocery store. It has a nice crunch, it is perfectly sour, and pairs well with a pork roast.

Sauerkraut is often one of the first fermentation projects recommended for newbies. Mainly because it is very easy to make, and  the results are pretty delicious! Amanda Feifer, the fermentation educator behind the blog Phickle.com, demonstrated this recipe at the PA Farm Show, and lucky us… we went home with a jar!BlogPurple Cabbage kraut Fillmore Container

Amanda Prepping cabbage for krautSimplest Sauerkraut

2 pounds (900 g) cabbage
4 teaspoons (22 g) kosher salt
1 wide mouth quart jar

Core cabbage and remove any unattractive or wilted outer leaves. Reserve one, compost the rest.

Shred cabbage into 1/4 inch strips using a sharp chef’s knife, the slicer blade of your food processor, a mandoline or a kraut shredder.

Place shredded cabbage into a large bowl, add salt and toss thoroughly for about 30 seconds or until the cabbage has a sheen of moisture on it. The salt has successfully drawn some water from the cabbage.

You now have the option of continuing to gently massage and squeeze the cabbage or letting the salt and cabbage continue osmosis while you go do something else for 20 minutes. If you let them sit a bit, the work of kneading the cabbage to release as much water as possible will be easier when you return.BlogKrautFermenting Day1

Work it for another few minutes. When there is a visible puddle of water in the bottom of the bowl and the cabbage pieces stay in a loose clump when squeezed, you are read to start packing your jar.

Take a handful of cabbage in your dominant hand and a clean, quart-size jar in the other. Press the cabbage into the bottom of the jar, and pack it along the bottom, with the top of your fist or your fingers. Continue packing in this fashion, pressing along the sides and bottom, until it comes to about 1 inch below the jar rim.

If there’s still cabbage that hasn’t been packed in to the jar yet, press down on the top of the cabbage in the jar and tilt it to pour cabbage liquid back into the bowl. This will give you more space in which to pack the remaining cabbage. Place the reserved cabbage leaf on top of the kraut and, with clean hands, press the sides of the leaf around the sides of the shredded cabbage, creating a surface barrier. Place the jar lid loosely on, but don’t tighten completely.

Allow to ferment at room temperature for 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the warmth of your home and your taste preferences. Check weekly to make sure that the brine level is still above the top of the cabbage. If it isn’t, press down on the top cabbage leaf to get the brine to rise back above. If brine is severely depleted, you may want to add more brine, at a concentration of about 5% by weight, but there shouldn’t be a need to do this.

Once the taste is sour enough for your preference, remove the weight, secure the jar lid and place jar in the fridge.

This yields one quart of sauerkraut but can easily be scaled for larger quantities.

Kraut in Action

1BlogPurple Cabbage kraut  Crockpot Fillmore ContainerWe let our kraut ferment for about 6 weeks.  We used our homemade kraut for this pork and sauerkraut recipe. We adapted the recipe a bit by replacing the apple and brown sugar with some apple butter.

 

The New Ball Blue Book and a Giveaway

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We’re welcoming the Ball Blue Book – 37th Edition – to our Canning Library!

Ball Blue Book Fillmore Container

How is this one different from the last?  Well, it’s packed full of a wide range of proven recipes including 75 new ones - for water bath processing and pressure canning, fermenting, freezing and dehydrating.

*Ball Blue Book Fillmore Container Extras

Each section includes a collection of “Good Things to Know” which familiarizes you with terms, reference tables and lots of images to get you started on the right foot.

You’ll also see these neat “You Choose” nuggets which provide ideas & guidelines for recipe variations.

Ball Blue Book Fillmore Container Modifications

The section that I can’t wait to try…Chutneys, Pickles & Relishes…perhaps I’ll start with the Beet or Red Relish!

Ball Blue Book Fillmore Container Favorites

When you get your copy, which recipe are you in a hurry to try?

The Giveaway
Win your own copy of the new Ball Blue Book below.

Tip: To optimize shipping for a book only order select UPS Ground and leave a comment on your order “SHIP MEDIA MAIL” and we will charge a flat $5 for shipping.

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How to Decide What to Plant in Your Garden

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Planting a Relish Garden

This time of the year, when I’m feeling like I could be done with winter, and those beautiful seed catalogs begin arriving, I tend to get wrapped up in visions of garden grandeur. I over buy. Every year. Last year I was able to share quite a few of the extra plants that I started indoors, but I still had too many. It was the first year that we took part in a local CSA…and it was a wonderful to supplement in way of variety, but also to make up for what didn’t grow well for us last year.

After evaluating our family’s pantry habits, we’re trying something different this year with our garden. We’re planning to participate in the CSA again and knowing what will likely be provided there is helping me shape my garden as well.

This year, there are 5 items that I wish to stock up on in my pantry. I’ll be planting my garden with those in mind. We can do more frequent small to mid-sized batches for the pantry and also enjoy them fresh pretty much all summer.

The first 3 are tomato based: Tomato Jam (from Marisa over at Food in Jars) Whole Tomatoes and Roasted Tomato Sauce. We’ve chosen a variety of tomatoes that will do well for those recipes and will have a large patch of Basil.

tomato seeds

I love seeing the variation in hues that the heirlooms bring to the jar!

BlogYellowTomato and RoastedTomatoes

The other 2 are cucumber based:  Pickled Relish and Pickles! Although we enjoy relish on our dogs & burgers, we also use it for pulled BBQ meats – pork or chicken, or in ham salad. We’re trying 2 varieties of cucumbers – ones that are known to be good for pickling, several peppers to add color, some onions and a lot of dill! We love to use fresh dill!

Relish Garden

Relish and pickles

Go here for tips on keeping those pickles crispy!

We love canning jams & fruit butters, but since we have terrific local orchards, we can either pick our own there or pay a little more and still get incredible deals on fresh local fruits without the effort. We also are in the midst of Amish Dutch Country – and often come across most berries in plentiful amounts.

What are your pantry staples?