Talking About Food in Jars With Marisa
What a pleasure and a food lovers gem when I happened upon Marisa’s site, Food in Jars. It’s swoon-worthy and noshalicious, especially for those of us that love to put our food up into jars…behold their beauty lining our shelves, munch out on the bounties of the seasons. My all-time favorite, must-can each year are bread and butter pickles, Marisa is definitely tempting me to do more. Read on…and check out Marisa’s work on the world wide web too!
Tell us about your site, Food in Jars.
Food in Jars is a food blog that I started early in 2009 after leaving a paid food blogging gig. I wanted to stay connected to the food blog scene and so spent some time looking around, trying to figure out what I wanted to focus on. I realized that there weren’t too many folks out there blogging about canning and since it’s always been something I’ve done, I dove in.
What are the must-have utensils and/or cookware that home cooks should have on hand for successful canning?
The basics are a jar lifter, wide-mouth funnel, a rack to drop into the bottom of a stock pot and a roomy, heavy pot for cooking jams and preserves.
Do you base your meals, as well as canning for the week on the ventures out to your local farmer’s market? What ingredients inspire you the most?
During the growing season, I’m quite devoted to Philadelphia’s many farmers’ markets and my CSA. This time of year, I try to keep my meat and egg purchases local, but it becomes much harder to find good, locally grown produce. Not impossible, and I do buy it where I can, but sometimes I need salad greens in January and my local folks just don’t always have them. But yes, in general, I’m quite inspired by the rotation of the seasons.
Give us a signature dish or two of yours that you feel we must try.
The Tomato Jam recipe on my site is quite beloved by my readers. I make it every year and eat it weekly alongside roasted sweet potato wedges. Another one that I love is my Slow Cooker Blueberry Butter. All the flavor of blueberry jam, but with far less sugar.
You have a new cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, due out in May of this year…wow! Talk to us about the best points of creating your cookbook.
Before starting the cookbook, lots and lots of people warned me that writing a book would be hard. And they were right. But for me, it was hard/good. In my personal work world, writing about food has been the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done and so truly, doing this book was far more joy than heartache.
As far as specifics go, the book contains around 100 recipes and includes jams, jellies, pickles, chutneys, conserves, fruit butters, tomato products, nut butters, granolas and baking mixes. I reworked a number of the most popular recipes from my blog for the book and included a ton of brand new ones as well. I’m hopeful that my blog readers will be happy with it. I certainly am.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first cookbook, also called Food in Jars, will be published by Running Press in Spring 2012.
♥ Follow @foodinjars on Twitter
♥ Like Food in Jars on Facebook
♥ Foodie Gawk at Marisa’s Photostream on Flickr