With our garden and farmer’s market overflowing with the delicious tastes of summertime this month, we’re in the midst of a canning frenzy to preserve the bounty before it’s gone! If you’ve ever canned your own harvest or received precious jars of goodness from a loved one, you know that it’s such a gift to enjoy the summertime flavors in the middle of the winter. Spreading some homemade blueberry jam on your pancakes or making chili with diced tomatoes from the garden is comforting when summer seems so far away. Okay, enough daydreaming, time to get to work on canning these organic goodies from the garden!
I was ecstatic when this big box of Ball® Brand products arrived on my doorstep, and I knew it would make preserving our veggies and herbs much more convenient and fun! In honor of International Can-It-Forward Day, I’m happy for the opportunity to review each one of these products, and to give you a chance to win a box of Ball® Brand canning items just like this one.
Let’s get started with jars. We have tomatoes and cucumbers coming out of our ears, and we’ve been busy making bread and butter pickles, pickle relish, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes like there’s no tomorrow. We also have pounds and pounds of frozen blueberries and peaches to make delectable jams from. I absolutely LOVE these gorgeous limited edition green tinted jars that commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Ball brothers’ “Perfection” Jar. They make our preserved pickles, tomatoes and jams look even more beautiful, and won’t these goodies make wonderful gifts this Christmas? They come in both pint and quart sizes. The giveaway includes a case of each size!
Next is this super convenient way to keep garden-fresh herbs. Sometimes it’s tough for me to run down to the garden every time I want to cut some fresh herbs, because it’s quite a hike and I have two very young children. Or sometimes, the herbs need to be cut before their flavor turns bad, and I’m not ready to use them all at once. This Ball® Fresh Herb keeper helps cut herbs stay fresh for up to 2 weeks! Stems and roots stay fresh in water to retain flavor and texture. I love that I have easy access to my fresh herbs in my kitchen, and I don’t have to worry about them going bad nearly as quickly.
During the winter when my supply of fresh herbs is much less, I love using my garden herbs that I dried. Sometimes, though, my dried herb stash becomes difficult to use since I have very little storage space in my kitchen. Imagine that; I blog about food and my spice cupboard is a mess! These Ball® Dry Herb Jars came to my rescue. They stack so nicely for neat storage of dried herbs in drawers and cupboards, and they’re great for keeping spice blends and rubs, too. I also love the convenient shaker caps. The holes are bigger than the ones on other shaker caps that I’ve used, which is nice for the coarsely chopped herbs.
No matter how many different types of fresh herbs you’re growing, and whether you just have a small amount or a large garden bounty, you’ll love preserving them by freezing them into cubes. You can freeze them in butter, oil or even water or broth, and the uses for them are countless! I’ve used the cubes for sautéed veggies, pesto, soups, dips, marinades and even beverages. I’m happy to have my new Ball® Brand Frozen Herb Starters because I love that they have lids to help prevent freezer burn and they also come with a labeling template, making them more convenient than other trays I’ve used. I have peace of mind that they’re made of non-toxic silicone and they’re BPA-free.
If you often cook with fresh herbs at home, these Ball® Brand 5 Blade Herb Scissors will be your best friend in the kitchen. They conveniently and evenly cut herbs like parsley, basil and cilantro. No more putting your fingertips in danger with a knife while trying to quickly chop herbs! The other major bonus of these scissors is that they clean up in a snap. The slotted end cover makes cleaning and storing simple and easy.
Last but not least, the Ball® Blue Book Guide to Preserving. It’s a 125-page book that will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about getting started with preserving. It includes equipment info, step-by-step instructions and tons of recipes. It’s a good book to keep in your kitchen whether you’re new to canning, or a seasoned pro. It’s a book that will be passed down to your grandchildren someday! I use my grandmother’s recipes which she adapted from her Ball® Brand book, and I like having this book for updated info and recipes.
Enter the giveaway in the widget at the very bottom of this post, and you could win all 6 of the Ball® Brand products mentioned above!
International Can-It-Forward Day
Before I conclude, I want to mention to stay tuned for International Can-It-Forward Day, hosted by Jarden Home Brands Bravo’s Top Chef judge, Hugh Acheson! August 16th will be a day to celebrate home canning, where foodies will be able to connect via online and in-person activities. The event will take place in New York, at Brooklyn Borough Hall Farmers Market, but there will also be special events taking place in Canada, Australia and South Africa. You’ll be able to view the webcast right here on my blog, so come back on the 16th to take a look! There will be canning demos highlighting the most popular home canning recipes, and Chef Acheson will be answering viewer questions in real-time. There will also be 25 farmers markets across the country hosting Can-It-Forward Day celebrations!
I think it’s so great that home canning has made a huge comeback. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding, healthy and satisfying. I love that my little girls and I are canning with my mom, like my mom used to do with my grandma. The Ball® Brand has helped families create memories for years, and I thank them for keeping canning traditions alive!