Live Online Tomato Canning Class Tonight!

two crates of tomatoes

Tomato season is upon us! Join me tonight for a one-hour long tomato canning class. In this session, I’ll demonstrate how to prep tomatoes for canning and show you how build a water packed jar. We’ll talk about safety, best tomato practices, and I’ll answer all your questions!

The class starts at 8 pm eastern time and the fee is pay what you want. Join up over on Concert Window.

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Honey-Sweetened Roasted Nectarine Compote

four jars roasted nectarines

I’m back home in Philly after a week out west. I always have grand plans for blog posts while traveling, but the moment I leave home, it becomes nearly impossible to get my brain into the writing game. But now that I’m back, I’m determined to work my way through my lengthy recipe backlog before the seasons change for good.

roasted nectarines

Today, a very lightly sweetened compote of roasted nectarines. The nectarines caramelize a tiny bit as they cook in the heat of the oven and end up tasting like the pie filling that oozes out during baking. In other words, not bad at all.

nectarines in a pot

You could do this same thing with peaches, though I’d probably peel them first, as I find that peach skins never tenderize, no matter how much you cook them. It is not an issue with nectarines and for that, I am grateful.

nectarines in jars

The nectarines I used in this recipe were part of the shipment of fruit that the nice people from Washington State Fruit Commission and Sweet Preservation sent out as part of their Canbassador program. Here are the many things I’ve made using their fruit in past years.

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Lightly Pickled Cucumber Salad + OXO Hand-held Spiralizer

OXO hand held spiralizer

I am not immune to kitchen trends. Over the years, I’ve succumbed in turn to the allure of no-knead bread, chia seed pudding, avocado toast (though I swear, I ate that one before it was cool), and even zucchini noodles (made with a julienne peeler).

spiralizer info

One fad that I’ve somehow managed to resist up until now has been spiralizing. Though spiral slicers have been around for a while, they’ve recently become incredibly popular, owing to the fact that they allow you turn all manner of vegetable into contiguous strips that mimic the look and feel of noodles.

clean spiralizer

My primary reason for staying away from spiralizing has been the fact that it typically requires a specialized appliance to make it happen (and with just an 80 square foot kitchen to work with, I have to be careful about how much gear I bring in).

spiralized cucumber

However, thanks to the new Hand-Held Spiralizer from OXO, even the smallest kitchen can be a spiralizing one. This tool is small in size but mighty when it comes to twisting soft vegetables into springy lengths.

spiralized in the bowl

For my first spiralizing session, I made a quick pickled cucumber salad to eat with a summery meal of corn on the cob and chicken sausages. I added some finely sliced red onion and let it mellow in the fridge for an hour before we ate.

finished spiralized salad

My thinking is that this will be a useful tool for small batches of pickles, when I want something finely and neatly shredded and don’t want to pull the food processor out in order to make it happen. For those of you who have jumped aboard the spiralizing train, what’s your favorite thing to spiralize?

Disclosure: OXO sent me this spiralizer to try and write about. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

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Vanilla Yellow Plum Jam

three pounds yellow plums

The summer is waning and I have a massive backlog of recipes that are rapidly becoming moot as produce moves out of season. My plan for the next couple weeks is to keep my posts relatively simple and just get as many of these new preserves up here as I can before they are no longer timely.

macerated yellow plums

This yellow plum jam variation is one I’ve made three times over the years and yet it hasn’t wound up on the blog or in any of my books. I find that yellow plums aren’t always easy to find, and so when I do stumble across them, I like to pick up a few pounds and make this jam.

four half pints yellow plum jam

This year, I came across yellow plums at my Saturday farmers market, where one of my favorite farmers had no more than a dozen pints, at just a buck a pint. So ripe that they barely made it back to my kitchen intact, I prepped them by squeezing them into pulp over a large measuring cup.

yellow plum labels

Because the plums were so sweet and ripe, I tempered them with a goodly amount of lemon juice to keep them from being cloying. If your plums are quite tart, back off on the lemon juice or skip it entirely (remember, when a recipe calls for fresh lemon juice, that’s your signal that it’s there for flavor balance, not safety. It’s only when a recipe indicates that you need to use bottled lemon juice that you should stick exactly to the amount of lemon juice called for).

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Giveaway: Wüsthof Clip Point Paring Knife

peach and paring knife

My grandma Bunny was an expert with a paring knife. She believed that fancy peelers and trimming tools were unnecessary if a paring knife would do instead. There were always one or two well-sharpened little blades on the magnetic strip near the stove and guests to her kitchen knew that future dinner invitations would be in peril should they mistreat her tools.

classic wusthof full knife

As an adult, I have also become attached to my collection of small, pointy-tipped, and serviceably sharp knives (though unlike Bunny, I often can’t resist picking up a new gadget or tool). As much as I love a good chef’s knife, I find that I reach for a paring knife far more throughout the day.

classic wusthof

Recently, I had the opportunity to add Wüsthof’s clip point paring knife to my magnetic strip and it’s become a favorite. The clipped tip gives it a bit of extra flexibility that helps with things like cutting the cores out of tomatoes and hulling strawberries.

Thanks to the nice folks at Wüsthof, I have one of these little paring knives to give away this week. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite kitchen tool is for handling summer produce.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, August 22, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, August 23, 2015.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents only (and is void where prohibited).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.

Disclosure: The folks from Wüsthof gave me my clip point paring knife at a press event I attended back in June as a review unit. They are also providing this giveaway unit. However, all the opinions I’ve expressed here are entirely true. 

Links: Tomatoes, No-cook Jams, and Winners

two crates of tomatoes

I may have bitten off more than I can chew. With just 48 hours to go before we leave for vacation, I picked up 50 pounds of tomato seconds. I’ve divided them into a few different categories for canning (salsa, pizza sauce, jam, puree), and I’m going to do my best to make them all happen before we leave for the airport at 4 pm on Tuesday. We shall see. Now, links!

ripener bowl with fruit

The winners of last week’s Fante’s Fruit Ripener Bowl giveaway are #24/Kristal, #82/Holly, and #107/Sherrie Smith. More tomorrow!

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