Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Giveaway Contest Winner and Belated Can-It-Forward Day

Sorry for the delay, but I spent last weekend on a belated “Can It Forward” with a new friend.  “Can It Forward” was held back in August.  It’s a day of canning activities and there’s not a single one I can think of that’s better than sharing the love of canning with someone new.

The peaches at the Farmer’s Market looked great and she wanted to learn how to can peaches with BLiS.  We spent about four hours sampling jams, canning peaches with BLiS and prepping another batch for her to take home and finish processing.

I hope she brings some of her jars of peaches with BLiS to the Canning Exchange on October 29th.

Oh, but there is a winner of last week’s canning giveaway and it is commenter #5 (yep, I used a random number generator) Melissa Smejkel.  So please contact me so I can get you a jar of preserves.  Even better, let me know when you want to start canning, assuming you don't do so already.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Exploring Mes Confitures: A Treasure of Jar-Worthy Preserves and a Giveaway

Sour Cherries with a Smidge of Apricot

What I’m explaining to you here is my way of doing it.  With time and practice, you will refine your own technique.  And before long you’ll bring your imagination into play and put together some unexpected flavors.”- Christine Ferber

Jar-Worthy: 1) A food item that is canned and it is fantastic.  2)  Is the recipient of a jar going to really, really appreciate it?  Earlier this canning season, my husband asked me to set aside some jars for a few folks.  I struggled to part with any of the jars.  I asked him several questions about how sophisticated the person was when it came to food.  Would they realize they had something special or would they just pass it off as a host gift to another soul that I didn’t know?  I actually said, “I just don’t know if so-and-so is jar-worthy.”  I felt a lot like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld.

Almost every jammer I know loves this book.  Ferber makes preserves something special.  Let me tell you even Martha Stewart has a flagged copy.  Still, is it really worth all of the hype?

 I wanted to find out.   Last summer, that’s summer 2010 (sigh), I dipped a toe into canning, jamming, and pickling.  In anticipation of my expanded canning projects, I requested a copy from the local library early in summer 2011.  It never appeared.  When I would check, it would show as the dreaded “pending”.  Fortunately, I had a friend who had a copy.  She was actually heading to my home state of South Carolina for about a week and she lent it to me.

 Wow! Reading it and seeing the photos was jaw-dropping.  I’ve always thought of preserves as a humble condiment.  You know something to put on white toast or to be married to peanut butter, but these recipes were something different.  This book showed me that preserves, jelly, jam, could be just as sophisticated as a fine wine, a black truffle, a well-marbled steak, or any other high falutin’ food you could think of except, even in this higher place, the food was accessible.  You could still put it on white toast or marry it with peanut butter.  There was only one substantial drawback, how would you ever go back to eating normal preserves again?