August = Preserving in the Heartland + a new Ball Blue Book

Queen Anne Cherries Oh friends, these  sultry days make my heart sing. Typically I’m a fan of autumn, with my sugar maple in its yellow glory, friends wearing chunky sweaters at the campfire after apple picking. Since I’ve spent weekends at Pinecone Meadow Farm, though, I’ve cherished bevvies in the Adirondack chairs on the back porch,  fireflies after dark, spiced blueberries sundaes.

And this year, August brings even more delight for high summer. Hot off the press, a new edition of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. It’s the 37th edition and has been my go-to source since I was bitten by the canning bug. This classic will help even the most timid novice preserver, and give fresh inspiration to those of us who have been doing it for a while now.

August 1 launches the month in style with Can-It-Forward Day, featuring a live webcast of great bloggers, including my personal canning hero Marisa McClellan of Food In Jars. I’ll wager it’s my new favorite holiday in August. To mark the occasion, my friends at Ball sent me goodies, including their new amethyst-shaded canning jars, so pretty I’ve been brainstorming who will be the lucky recipients of food gifts.

Ball-blue-book I used to be nervous about preserving. But once I dove in, I realize that it’s fun, and I can mix up great flavor combinations that you’ll never find in the grocery store.

This heady time gives me thoughts for you:

  • First, be not afraid. If your seals don’t seal, keep your jam in the fridge. Eat it right away, say by using it on a cake or on orange-scented cornmeal pancakes. Or freeze it.
  • Follow directions. This is not the time for improv. Don’t cut the sugar if you plan to preserve it.
  • Head over to my Pinterest page on preserving to see some of my collected faves.
  • Get creative with peach cilantro or plum balsamic jam.
  • And get to your farmers’ market to see what kind of fruit inspires you!

Let’s connect! Are we  Facebook, TwitterInstagram or Pinterest friends? Photos and  recipes by Janine MacLachlan,  All rights reserved.  Janine MacLachlan is author of Farmers’ Markets of the Heartland from University 0f Illinois Press.

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