Canning Class – Low Temperature Pasteurization Process

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Marisa McClellan, popular canning blogger and author of canning books, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year Round and Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, and Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, is coming to Fillmore Container on July 15th from 10am – Noon for a canning class and a book signing.

Canning ClassThe hands-on canning class will demonstrate how to use a Low Temperature Pasteurization Process to preserve crispy, delicious Pickles. Whether you’re a preserving pro or a newbie, you’ll enjoy Marisa’s perspective and the wealth of experience she brings. Each class attendee will get to take home their very own jar of pickles, a case of Orchard Road Pint Jars & Lids and a coveted Food in Jars sticker! Marisa’s books are available on our site, and can be purchased that morning, or you can bring yours if you’d like her to sign it.

Seats are limited, please reserve your spot today.

REGISTER HERE

Save the date for August 19, 2017 when we’ll be hosting a canning class with Marisa about tomatoes. Be sure to sign-up for our email list to get all the details.

 

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Preparing to Preserve the Harvest – Part 1

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jam-jars-fillmore-containerAlthough some folks continue to preserve all year around, for many of us, spring time brings on a significantly greater opportunity to preserve the harvest at the peak of freshness. Over the years, we’ve prepared for many such seasons, and though we might not follow through on each of our preparing & preserving goals, there are some that are worth mentioning every single year.

 

Preserving Goals & Keeping Record

These two practices are so incredibly helpful, and depending on where you are in your preserving journey, can really have an impact on how you perceive the value of your preserving labors.

On Keeping Record: whether it’s in journal form, spreadsheet form or scrawled on loose paper in your pantry, it will help!Canning Journal Fillmore Container

  • Basics – dates, volume of produce that you started with, recipe &/or process used, actual preserved yield.
  • Research – notes on any variations from the recipe;  addition of herbs or spices;  alterations you’d try on your next batch (such as adjusting amount of Pomona’s Pectin or sugar); observations to compare recipes or processes, or even comparing different strains of produce.

Taking Stock:

  1. Check dates & Check for Spoilage – Make sure that your oldest foods are being used first. Depending on your storage limitations, it can be inconvenient to rotate your stock, but it’s an important task and best done whenever you add freshly preserved items. Do a visual check of seals and quality. If something is unsealed discard it. If any of your preserves look discolored it could be a sign it has spoiled, it is best to discard it. Here are 7 signs of spoilage that will help you evaluate if you need to toss any preserves, and here’s the best way to discard bad preserves.
  2. Update Your Inventory Records – Determine what’s left in your pantry – Re-evaluate how your consuming patterns matched up with your preserving patterns. A preserving journal is a great way to track this. You may decide to skip something this summer, or do more of something else.
  3. Consider some of these tips & tricks from Joel & Dana; creators of Batch Cookbook; on managing your pantry –

    Organize your shelves in groups. Keep jam with jam and pickles with pickles – it makes things easier to find.  If you do multiple styles of preserving you can use different types of jars for each style. We use vintage jars for dehydrated goods, patterned mason jars for most of our waterbath and plain jars for our pressure canning. Don’t be afraid to write on the lids – it’s an easy fix. We are big fans of the Sharpie paint pen for labeling jars (we just write on the side, it washes off later).I use a giant ‘hole punch’ to cut out lid-sized discs to label jars with. The discs are re-usable and easily replaceable. When storing dried goods (such as flour or sugar) I’ll cut a piece of the package out and place it between the lid and the ring to know what’s inside. Have a shelf reserved for one-off jars or jars you want to use soon so help prioritize what preserves you’ll work with first and to make them easy to find. If you’re storing items inside boxes label the contents on a sheet of paper and stick it to on the outside where you can read it. Writing on paper makes the box re-usable!

    4. Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars, offers these 3 organizational tips.

    1.Create dedicated space for your gear. Pots, jars, tools, and accessories all have assigned spots in my apartment, so that I always know where to find what I need. 

    2. Spreadsheets. Late last year, I inventoried every single jar in my apartment and entered everything into a spreadsheet. Now I know (down to the location and year made) where every jar of jam, pickles, and tomato sauce lives. It is a serious upgrade to my previously haphazard system. 

    3. Limit extra gear. There was a period there where I felt compelled to have back-ups of everything. Now I have two sets of gear (one that lives in my kitchen, and another that’s travels with me for classes). More than that is just too much.

Setting your Preserving Goals:

  • Make a Plan – Consider what new things you may try this year and plan for what you may need to add. Pull together the recipes that you know you want to make, and those you’d like to try. Perhaps the past year has brought certain health or dietary concerns to light. Seek out recipes that will help you meet those goals – you’ll likely find some ideas below.

Gathering Resources:     

OrchardRoadJars

Read part 2 of this series, Planning to Preserve the Harvest, which is about how to make sure that your preserving toolbox is up to date, stocked and ready for action!

 

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Anchor Hocking Smooth Sided Canning Jars + Giveaway

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We are excited to add another line of smooth sided regular mouth jars!

Anchor Hocking Canning Jars Fillmore Container

These long-awaited jars by Anchor Hocking are available in 8oz, 16oz and 32oz, are smooth on all sides, sport a softened square shape and shoulders. So easy to write on and to label!

square 8oz jars anchor hocking Fillmore Container

             G08-03C    ***   New Anchor Hocking (AH220)    ***    B08-03C         Our 3 Square 8oz Regular Mouth Canning Jars

Above, you can see how the 8oz size of this new line compares to the 2 versions of 8oz square mason that we’ve carried for years. These do not come with lids, but are compatible with the regular mouth 2-piece lids or single piece lids. For those of you already comfortable using those single piece lids, you won’t be paying for lids you don’t plan to use.

To celebrate our newest arrivals, we’re having a giveaway! 

TWO lucky winners will get:

-1 case of these new jars (their choice of 8oz, 16oz or 32oz)

-12 Canning lids (their choice from the 2-piece or 1-piece regular mouth lids)  

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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3 Ways to Preserve Berries + Blackberry Jam & Jelly Recipe Round Up

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blackberriesSeveral years ago we added a small patch of Blackberries – the thorn-less variety – to our little patch of the world. As it turns out, the kids don’t eat them out of the patch quite like they do the raspberries, so I actually get more opportunity to preserve some! Whenever I have the chance to grab some fresh black or red raspberries or blackberries from a local road side stand, or pick some wine berries from the homestead, I take it. The season for berries always seems to short, and the birds give us some serious competition, so it feels good to be able squirrel some of them gems away for another day.

Here are a couple of ways to preserve their goodness for later!

Freeze them!

Place clean berries in a single layer on a baking tray, cover them and put them in the freezer. When they’re frozen solid, pour them into a widemouth jar, or freezer jars, cap them, label them and return them to the freezer. I like to keep all of my fruit stash in one place and in sight, so that they’re easy to find when I need them, and so that they don’t get overlooked. I love to raid this section of my freezer when I need fruit for smoothies, for shrubs, and for handfuls of fruit to add to muffins, cobblers, pies or pancakes during the off season. If you’re really pressed for space, you can use Ziploc freezer bags.

Make Shrub!black-cherry-shrub-and-meat

One of our favorite ways to preserve just about any fruit – especially when we’ve only got a small quantity – is to make shrub. It’s super quick & easy and the results are so refreshing! If you’re not in a rush to use the shrub, you might opt for the cold-process method. However, if you’re out of shrub and are in a hurry, you could speed things up and use the hot-process. You can simply swap the fruits for both of those….oh, and you can use frozen fruit for this too!

Make Jam or Jelly!

Jam Recipes:

 

Jelly Recipes:

 

What’s your favorite way to preserve the goodness of Blackberries?

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Ball’s 24 oz. Wide Mouth Jars to be Discontinued + a Giveaway

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Ball’s wide mouth 24 ounce jars  also know as Venti Mason Jars, or Pint & Half Jar, have been a favorite with preservers and mason jar fans.  Their wide mouth and shoulder-free design  makes them easy to fill,  easy to empty,  and safe for the freezer!  In fact, it’s safe to say that these jars get turned over the most in our home. Sadly, Ball is discontinuing these, and boy will we miss them. We do still have them in stock, but we know they will go fast now that the word is out. So, we are giving away some below, and on Food in Jars!24oz-ball-jars-giveaway

This 24 ounce jar might be one of the most versatile jars we have. Here are our 7 favorite ways to use these jars.  Ball_Widemouth_24_oz_Jars_with_Bands_Lids

  1. We’ve frozen lots of food in them, including soups.
  2. They are a perfect vessel for pickling asparagus.
  3. We’ve often topped them with our ReCAP lids for some creative uses.
  4. Perfect for storing tea concentrate in them, or drinking tea (and other beverages) from them when paired with an iLid and a straw.
  5. As a standard jar in our Mason Jar Meal Kits, we’ve packed lots of lunches in them.
  6. Our pantry items stay easily visible (and organized) when stored in these jars.
  7. Storing and freezing our Roasted Tomato Sauce.

POUR cap Fillmore ContainerProbiotic Pickles with Pickle PipeRoasted Tomato Sauce

FajitaLunchInJars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY

Two lucky winners will receive one case of the 24 oz. jars and 2 wide mouth iLids. Enter our giveaway below. Since Marissa McClellan, from Food in Jars, loves these jars too, you can win a case of them and a $100 credit to Fillmore Container on her blog. Good Luck!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Homemade Shrubs or Drinking Vinegars – Cold Process

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Last week, we shared a recipe for this amazing Black Cherry Shrub and were so floored by the ease of making them and pleased with the flavor results that we’ve tried a few more variations.

Homemade Shrubs Fillmore Container

peach-ginger-vanilla-shrub

Cooking the Peaches, Ginger, Vanilla Bean & sugar for Shrub

That Black Cherry version that we made spent some time on the stove in order to speed up the  sugar dissolving and the break down of fruits before the straining; separating the meats from the resulting syrup. We prepared a Peach Ginger Vanilla Shrub in the same manner, simply swapping the fruit and adding a couple of slices of fresh ginger root and a partially spent vanilla bean that I pulled from my homemade vanilla extract bottle. There were still some bean flecks and flavoring that remained, which was sufficient for this small preparation.

You can get similar results in a cold process – in which no extra water, and no heating is needed. It does require more time, but it seems to produce a more mellow syrup, which is worth the wait if subtle nuances in flavor matter to you. This is a wonderful route to go if you’re just needed to rescue a bit of fruit and have zero time for prepping.

 

Here’s how simple it is:

Following the general ratio of 1 part sugar : 1 part fruit : 1 part vinegar for the finished product

Red Raspberry Cold Process Shrub Fillmore Container

Red Raspberries in their sugar bath for a cold process Shrub

  • Put clean fruit (cut/roughly chopped/broken) into a bowl.
  • Add sugar & fold it into fruit so that fruits are covered with the sugar.
  • Cover the bowl & set aside to allow the release of juices. If I’m going away or if it’s over night, I set it into the refrigerator, but this does slow down the process of the sugar getting dissolved by the juice. It can sit in the refrigerator for a day or 2 depending on your timing & the fruit.
  • When it appears that juices are sufficiently released and the sugar is dissolved, strain out the meat/pulp.
  • Put the resulting fruit syrup into a jar, and add the appropriate portion of apple cider vinegar.
  • Cap, Label, Refrigerate.  We like to use jars we have on hand, but our reCAP POUR Caps are great for this! POUR cap Fillmore Container

 

You might be anxious to try your shrub right away…which is fine. However, if you allow it to rest in the refrigerator for a day or more, you’ll find that the flavors seem more harmonious than at first.

 

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Let Customers Know What Earth Friendly Measures Your Business Practices!

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We’re all sharing this wonderful planet, so it benefits all of us when we make environmentally sustainable choices. 

As a sense of purpose or mission becomes a larger motivating factor for consumers, many small businesses are being more intentional about incorporating earth friendly products and practices into their production and products.Earth Friendly Every Day Fillmore Container

But…do their customers know?

Sustainability Fillmore ContainerWe’ve found that many of our local crafters & makers are already running pretty environmentally friendly operations. The fact that they’re working in their home and on a small budget often prompts them to be aware of the safety of ingredients and challenges them with the task of re-using & re-purposing whenever possible, allowing nothing to go to waste. Often,  these measures are overlooked because they seem like common sense, and therefore, get left out during the marketing of your brand. Whether it’s communicated in print, on a website, or face to face, the degree to which you implement earth friendly practices should be shared, and can make a difference.

Here are a few questions to help you identify the great things you may already be doing, or could do, and how you might share the good news with your customers.

Do you re-use packaging supplies for shipping?

Boxes? Bubble wrap? Packing Peanuts? News Paper? String/Twine?

If you already do, about what percent of your packing materials are re-used?

This is a nugget worth sharing! “Did you know that XX% of our packing materials are re-purposed?” or “You may notice that our packing materials vary. That’s because we’re giving them a second run before they get tossed to the curb!” You could even encourage your customers to find a local need for them.

It may be worth checking with local businesses to see if they are trashing such items. If so, are they safe to use and would it be worth your time?

Is there anything special about the packing products?fillmore-container-packing-peanuts

Whether you’re re-using supplies or bringing in new, it’s worth sharing their earth friendly attributes. Are your boxes, wrapping or cushioning supplies made from recycled materials?

If you’re using Packing Peanuts from Fillmore Container, they are starch-based, earth-friendly, fully biodegradable. They can be re-used, but the crushed ones can simply be tossed into the compost. You’re welcome to link to the details here.

Is your product container easy to re-purpose?

If your container can easily be cleaned and useful to your customer, that’s a plus for those who are striving to decrease what goes to the curb. Are labels easy to remove? Do you encourage this by giving tips on how to remove your label, or how to safely remove the last remnants of wax & the wick? If customers don’t have a need for them, consider offering other alternatives before recycling. lancaster-creative-reuse

There are many centers like Lancaster Creative ReUse that are popping up across the nation which happily take glass containers, tins and more. Find one near you!

You may even end up finding supplies that you can use…or re-use, or make valuable connections at places like these.

Our “Re-Using & Up-Cycling Canning Rings, Jars & Bottles” Pinterest Board is full of creative suggestions.

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Black Cherry Shrub Recipe

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We’ve been enjoying locally made Shrubs for a couple of years now and have had it in my mind that I really need to try to make some homemade versions.

Since Marisa’s Food in Jars Mastery Challenge has a focus on Shrubs this month, I had some frozen Black Cherries and fresh Raspberries on hand and was stuck at home thanks to Storm Stella, it finally happened!

Black Cherry Shrub Recipe Fillmore Container

This recipe calls for cooking fruits, and it took almost no effort. I also made a cold process recipe, which is just as simple, but it takes more “sitting” time, so that recipe will go up a little later.  A little fruit can go a long way when making shrubs – since the end product is usually enjoyed mixed with something else.  It’s a great way to rescue that small portion of fruit that didn’t get used up or that you’ve uncovered in a freezer clean-out! We enjoy shrub it over ice, with seltzer. The ratio depends on the strength of the shrub – which varies with the type of fruit(s) used. We usually use about 1 part shrub to 4 or 5 parts seltzer.

Simmering Cherries for Shrub Fillmore ContainerThe generally accepted ratio for a shrub is equal parts fruit, sugar & vinegar. Here, I cooked the fruit in order to speed up the entire process, so this required some water.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Black Cherries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar (apple cider vinegar is our preference)

 

straining-black-cherries2

  1.  In a saucepan, simmer equal parts water & sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2.  Add the fruit and simmer until fruit is sufficiently softened and can easily be crushed.
  3. Crush fruit to release the juices and allow to cool.
  4. Pour through a fine sieve or straining funnel and collect the juices. If you want to maintain higher clarity of your shrub, just allow the juices to drip through.  At this point, you may choose to save the fruit syrup as is OR you can add your vinegar to complete the shrub.
  5. Cap it, label it and store in your refrigerator. I love keeping some of these French Square bottles on hand for things like this…they look so pretty, but are also great space savers and fun for sharing!cherry-meat

 

 

 

Don’t throw out that fruit meat!

What remains will vary depending on the fruit you used, but it may still be useful. You can use it in a milk kefir secondary ferment, or stir into your yogurt, cottage cheese, or use it to flavor your oatmeal. You can also work it into some applesauce.

 

 

 

 

Shrubs will continue to happen in our kitchen for a couple of reasons…it’s a great way to really stretch the flavor of a small amount of fruit…whether it’s a hand full of fruits that just aren’t plate-worthy, those extras from a batch of jam or those little bits of fruit that got tossed in the freezer in a panic. There is little to no waste if you put the sweetened pulp or meat to work in other ways!

Have fun playing around with different fruits & spices! peach-ginger-vanilla-shrubAs I’m putting the finishing touches on this blog post, I have some peaches with some ginger slices & vanilla bean simmering on the stove for what I can only imagine will be an intoxicating shrub!

Here are a few more enticing flavor combinations and shrub recipes for you to try:

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Polish Dill Pickle Soup or How to Use those so-so Pickles

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I recently came upon this Polish Dill Pickle Soup by  Sommer of A Spicy Perspective and was instantly intrigued. We love Dill. I love finding ways to rescue food. Our kids have been practicing their knife & sauteing skills. My father had recently delivered a load of potatoes. So, of course, we made it tonight and it was a hit!

Actual words spoken in reference to said soup:

“It’s miraculous!”

Just what a mama likes to hear about supper.

Polish Dill Pickle Soup

Polish Dill Pickle Soup

We added a bit more chopped pickles and a sprinkling of feta cheese when we served it…amazing! You can get recipe here.

How did we get those so-so pickles? Sometimes, life gives you more cucumbers than you need! In summers past, we shared our favorite ways in which to put cucumbers – especially large ones – to use. However, one can only use so much pickle relish (as yummy as it is) and the refrigerated cucumber salads do indeed have a limited shelf life. So, in the hopes of not having them go to waste, we pickled many cucumbers which were, in all honesty, not ideal for canning. The result was a portion of my pantry that consisted of pickles that I was not excited about putting on our table, let alone sharing with guests.  Lesson learned…it’s too time consuming to put up food- especially if it requires water bath processing –  that isn’t in its prime, no matter how tempting!

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St. Patrick’s Day Printables

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Whether you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on a large or small scale, we’ve got some festive details that will add some fun to your event. Our wide selection of containers & colorful Daisy and Straw Hole Lids & accessories, earth-friendly paper drinking straws,  along with the charming free printables available will help you customize your amazing favors & gifts in an economical fashion!St Patrick's Day Fillmore Container

We’ve pulled together some of  printables and inspiration from a few of our favorite crafting & creative DIY’ers.

green-theme-mason-jar-label

Green Themed Printable : Yesterday on Tuesday

Lucky Tags and Clover Leaf Lid Topper

Lucky Tags and Clover Leaf Lid Topper : Yesterday on Tuesday

Have a Ball Printables : Yesterday on Tuesday

Have a Ball Printables : Yesterday on Tuesday

dukes-duchesses-st-patricks-day-printable

Rainbow Printable : Dukes & Duchesses

luck-of-the-leprechaun

Luck of the Leprechaun Printable : Dukes & Duchesses

I Struck Gold Printable : Kids Stuff World

I Struck Gold Printable : Kids Stuff World

 

Looking for more inspiration for sharing the Luck of the Irish this St. Paddy’s Day? Check out our St. Patrick’s Day Pinterest Board!


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