In my eyes it is the most wonderful season of the year! We have entered the season of canning. I was a little nervous about this year without a garden. But we are settling in and I have found 3 farms within a 5 mile radius of our new home. AND the neighbors have even begun giving me veggies across the fence. Next year we’ll have a big old garden, but for right now I am saving all I can from the market.
Jarden Home Brands is hosting International Can-It-Forward Day this weekend (clearly a holiday in this house;) on August 16th. New and experienced canners can participate in a live webcast from Booklyn Borough Hall Farmers Market filled with canning demos where viewers can ask questions of Bravo Top Chef Judge Hugh Acheson! I myself and stoked to see an attempt at the Guinness World’s Record for the Largest Mason Jar Mosaic!
This time of year is a great time to test out new techniques and new recipes.
I have to say, I may not be a newbie to canning but up until this point I have been a purist at heart. I was excited to try a new approach to preserving herbs and Ball Brand’s Frozen Herb Starters, Herb Scissors, and Dry Herb Jars were the perfect way to do that.
Preserving herbs is something I do every single summer. As a woman that LOVES to cook for her family all year round, nothing beats being able to take preserved herbs and put them into a savory dish or a pot of soup! A friend wrote a post last year for me called, “Your February Self Will Thank You” where she puts into words this idea of preservation and why we do it.
Every time we have stopped by the farm, we have been grabbing a different herb to preserve. The other day it was parsley.
The Frozen Herb Starters came with a wonderfully informative instruction booklet. As I browsed through I found myself unaware of all the mediums that you can freeze herbs in. Each having a different purpose when thawed. I began with parsley and this day I chose to freeze in olive oil. I tried to imagine what I would use the parsley for. Generally it is in a spaghetti sauce or savory dish where I would saute vegetables first with parsley.
After washing my bunch of parsley, I was excited to try the Herb Scissors. Now these puppies have 5 stainless steel blades with which to easily and gently cut through herbs, chopping them evenly. I must admit, I can not consider myself a whiz with a knife. I am not the best “chopper”. These scissors take that part out of the equation. YES!
Within 5 minutes the parsley was chopped.
I filled each cube in the Frozen Herb Starter with 2 Tbsp of chopped parsley and then on top placed the olive oil making sure that the parsley was covered. I used the top to the Herb Starter and placed it in the freezer. Done. Seriously, parsley for the winter in all of 10 mintues.
After it froze I popped each cube out and placed them in a labeled freezer ziploc baggie so that I could reuse the Frozen Herb Starter.
Next up is dill. My buddy Heather at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond was chatting about dill butter over steak and I got the itch to store some dill butter!
I am also on the hunt for fresh basil so that I can begin the drying process.
The new Dry Herb Jars are FANTASTIC! They are 4 oz. mason jars turned spice shaker turned perfect storage device. I am thinking basil, oregano, rosemary, and sage. Those are my most used and the ones I’ll be drying out this year.
Canning is something that gets me so excited and I have always referred to the Ball Blue Book as a sort of bible for canning. Some of my most used recipes including my annual batch of Jalapeno Jelly comes straight from this resource.
The last couple of years, Ball has sold specialty throw back mason jars. This year they are the Green Heritage Collection Jars and they are beautiful. Stay tuned for a post in the next few days about how I tested yet another recipe with some tomatoes and stored them in these beautiful jars!
But for now, in preparation for National Can-It-Forward Day this Saturday, August 16th, here is an AWESOME giveaway for you all! It includes each of these products that I just chatted about. They are all amazing. So enter below to win!
Will you be canning this Saturday? What will you be making?
As part of the International #CanItForward Day, you can enter a giveaway for some amazing products from Jarden Home Brands, makers of Ball canning products.
Jarden Home Brands/Ball Canning
One Lucky Reader will win:
- The New Limited Edition Spring Green Heritage Collection Jars – These limited edition jars commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Ball brothers’ “Perfection” Jar and come in a beautiful green tint. These are being produced only in 2014 and are available in both pint and quart varieties. (Pint retail value: $9.99 per case/ Quart retail value $12.99 per case)
- Fresh Herb Keeper – Many new to gardening start with herbs as an easy first step. To savor the seasonings, Ball has developed a new product to keep herbs fresh for up to two weeks. (Retail value: $12.99)
- Dry Herb Jars – A perfectly-sized solution for storing your dried herbs. Great for storing seasonings, spices and rubs too! Stackable, low-profile design makes pantry or drawer storage more efficient than old, mis-matched containers. (Retail value: $4.99)
- Frozen Herb Starters – Preserve your fresh seasonings in ready to use cubes filled with butter, oil or other liquid for easy and flavorful meal starters. (Retail value: $11.99)
- 5 Blade Herb Scissors – Stainless steel blades to gently cut and evenly slice herbs like basil, parsley and cilantro. (Retail value: $9.99)
- Ball Blue Book – Offering 125 pages that will guide you while you learn about preserving, this book provides information on equipment, instructions for the preserving method and recipes! (Retail value: $6.49)
**Disclosure: I was given these products to review and a set of them to giveaway. All opinions are my own. Ball Brand is my go to brand for canning. Always has been.