Let’s talk about your stash. You know which one I mean. All those pickles, tomatoes, jams, and preserves that you so painstakingly “put up” at the end of last summer–or were gifted by well-meaning friends–and that are still lingering in the cupboard at the start of this new canning season.
It’s not that you don’t want to delight in these preserved goods. You do! It’s just that… they’re so precious, right? You want to save them for a special occasion, right? Or maybe, just maybe, there’s only so much toast with heirloom fruit jam that you can eat, right?
Well, my friend Marisa McClellan, a.k.a. the Canning Queen, just came out with a brand new cookbook to help us all with our canned goods dilemma. The Food in Jars Kitchen is allllll about using up those pickles and preserves that we’ve stocked away.
A cookbook for cooks and canners
Whether you’re a newbie canner or have been at the canning game for years, I think this is a book you will find very useful. It moves beyond (way beyond!) simply relegating jam to toast and tomatoes to pasta.
Here, we get jam swirled into cocktails or baked into granola. We get hummus made with preserved lemons and party dips made with chutney and pesto. Wondering what you can do with sauerkraut besides piling it on sausages? Marisa’s got a frittata that you HAVE to try.
The point is, this is a cookbook that will inspire, encourage, and cajole you into using up your canned goods stash. And trust me–after you see these recipes, you will!
Also let me be clear, this cookbook isn’t just for canners. One of the things I love about this book is that you can make any of the recipes using preserves that you’ve been gifted, picked up at the farmers market, or bought at the store.
Let’s talk marmalade cake
I had a very hard time picking just one recipe to share with you all, but this cake took the, ahem…cake. In her headnote for the recipe, Marisa says that she made a six of these cakes to serve at her wedding, and after making it myself, I can see why.
This cake is moist and rich — but not so rich that you couldn’t take it to work as a perfectly respectable afternoon snack. The citrus flavor is just amazing, soft and so very pleasant, like waking up from a good nap and feeling the afternoon sunshine on your face.
I really like the glaze that gets brushed over the top and sides. It turns the outside edges of each slice candy-like and adds the perfect burst of sweetness to each bite.
Store this cake right on the counter and cut yourself a slice whenever the need arises. It keeps well for about a week and gets even better with time. Marisa also says the cake freezes well — the recipe makes two, and I froze my second loaf for another day.
A Q&a With Marisa Mcclellan!
I thought you all would enjoy getting to know Marisa a little better, so here’s a little Q&A! Her blog, for those of you who don’t know, is Food in Jars, and it’s a treasure trove of canning inspiration.
- How many canned goods do you think you currently have in your kitchen?
If we expand the question to include my entire apartment, the answer is probably something in the neighborhood of 250 full jars. That includes jams, pickles, chutneys, salsas, whole fruit, pie filling, tomato products, and even pressure canned beans and stocks.
- What canned goods do you make sure to re-stock every year?
Roasted corn salsa. Sour cherry jam. Apricot preserves. Tomato jam. Pickled green beans.
- What summer produce are you most excited about coming back in season?
Apricots. They bring me incredible amounts of joy.
- What’s your secret most-favorite recipe from Food in Jars Kitchen?
My most beloved recipe is the Quick Strudel. It comes from my Great-Aunt Doris and I love the feeling of generational connection that making it gives me. Plus, Aunt Doris would have been so incredibly thrilled to have had her recipe in a cookbook. If she was still alive, she’d be selling copies of this book out of the back of her Buick to all the ladies at the synagogue.
- You’ve now written, what, FOUR books about or related to canning — what about canning do you love? What keeps you coming back for more?
I know. It’s a little crazy that I’ve essentially spent the last decade digging into a single topic. But I really do find it endless fascinating. And the thing I most love about canning is that it is a cooking project that endures.
When we make a meal, that experience lasts 20 or 30 minutes, before the pleasure is done and you are start thinking about how you have to do it again. With canning, you get to relive the joy of the picking, gathering, and making over and over again. There is deep satisfaction in that.