Canning 101: Pickled Green Beans

Written by Shaina of Food for My Family.

This summer has been one of rushing around, struggling to fit things in and generally moving faster than I’d like. Suddenly and without warning, it was time to start plucking food off my garden vines and begin packing them into jars.

My plan yet to be formed, there was one thing I knew I would be crossing off the bucket list: pickled green beans.

Last year late in the winter, my brother-in-law showed up at a snow-covered gathering with a jar of such green beans. They were set out on a buffet-style table and offered up to the group. I found myself returning to the jar no less than three times.

The snap of the green bean and the smell of summer all perfectly preserved and eaten in the dead of winter when we were bundling up from head to toe had captivated me. [Read more…]

For the Love of Small Batch Canning (Recipe: Spiced Plum Jam)

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

Plum jam tastes like childhood to me. When I was very young, my family lived in a house with three Santa Rosa plum trees scattered around the yard and every other year, we spent three weeks wading through a sea of plums.

We’d eat them until we couldn’t bear to look at another and then my mom would make enough jam to last until the trees ripened again.

All photos by Marisa

These days, I don’t live surrounded by plum trees but that doesn’t stop me from making a yearly batch of plum jam. I cook it up just the way my mom did, with cinnamon and nutmeg. The result is a sweet and tart spread that tastes just slightly of Christmas.

This summer, I’ve become enamored of making smaller batches of jam. When you reduce the volume of jam you make, you also get to cut down on both the preparation and cooking time.

It also means that you can make a wider variety of flavors because you haven’t filled your pantry with a dozen jars of the same thing.
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An Intro to Our Late-Summer Canning Series (vlog)

Okay, so it is fair to say that a certain recent announcement has slowed my canning efforts. I was all set for the season, I had my act together – or so I thought.

Now the exhaustion of a first trimester pregnancy has caught up with me and seems to fill my day with tiredness before it has even started. Getting through a routinely busy week is enough of a challenge without adding a canning project.

Life tends to turn our plans upside down, but we’re so happy about this baby, I can’t bemoan lost canning projects for a second. Instead, my original list of ‘must haves‘ has shrunk considerably and I’m hoping to have more energy in the fall to play catch-up on a few more items.

That said, I’ve called upon some of my favorite domestic goddesses to help me put together this canning series – because there was no way it was all coming out of my own kitchen! Luckily, Shaina, Megan and Marisa all agreed to contribute, despite their busy summers. Thanks girls!

Recently at Big Summer Potluck, I had the opportunity to chat with all three girls about canning. Good sports that they are, they agreed to let me film them for a fun little vlog.

I hope you enjoy it!
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Weekend Reading

A Summer Potluck, a Blogger’s Retreat & a Moment

Last weekend took place in a series of locations – the Pennsylvania countryside, other people’s kitchens, a barn, and Manhattan. It was an extraordinary time of hospitality, warmth, and laughter — and all with people I had never met before.

The main event was Big Summer Potluck, a gathering I had a hard time explaining to my friends and family here at home. Eyebrows were raised, especially when they heard that it was held in a barn, and that I was staying with a fellow food blogger in New Jersey whom I had never met.

Obviously, I survived four yellow cab rides in New York City, not to mention trekking my pregnant self around the streets on a bustling Friday. However, those adventures are not the focus of this post.

Instead of a recipe or a tutorial today, I’m going to give you a peek into an intimate food bloggers conference, because I know, like my friends and family, you’re already wondering what goes on there.

[Read more…]