Canning is all the rage -- and not just on farms anymore.
With growing concern about additives and preservatives in processed food and a renewed interest in "clean" eating, canning has become a 21st-century trend. At 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27, at the Cook Park Library, 413 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, writer, author and canner Marisa McClellan will be presenting her new cookbook, "Food In Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year Round," and showing participants just how easy canning can be.
This free event is open to the public but registration is required. Call (847) 362-2330 or go to webres.cooklib.org to register.
Unlike many of us who are charmed by the idea of canning but completely intimidated by what is thought to be a daunting task, McClellan was not. She was a food blogger at Slashfood for several years, the creator of a food podcast called Fork You and grew up with a mother who canned. While she reaped the benefits of her mother's canning, she never tried it herself. That all changed in 2006, when she went blueberry picking with a friend and found herself in the kitchen with 13 pounds of berries. Making jam just seemed like the thing to do. And she hasn't stopped since.
She started her own blog FoodInJars.com in 2009, when she realized that no one was writing about canning and food preservation. Her timing couldn't have been more perfect. From atop her 20th floor perch of a Philadelphia high-rise, she makes rhubarb-rosemary jam and draws more than 100,000 hits per month.
"Being that I loved jars and canning, I decided to make that my niche," McClellan said. "I had no idea that it would take off the way it did."
And take off it did. In addition to her successful blog, she now has a new cookbook, "Food In Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year Round," which was just released last May. In it McClellan takes you through all manner of food in jars, storing away the tastes of all seasons for later. Basics like jams and jellies are accompanied by pickles, chutneys, conserves, tomato sauces, salsas, nut butters and more. Copies will be available for purchase and signing, courtesy of Lake Forest Bookstore.
These days McClellan continues to write about canning, pickling and preserving at Food In Jars (three times nominated by Saveur magazine for a Best Food Blog award), and lives in Philadelphia with her husband where she also teaches canning classes. In addition to her blog, you can find her writing on Serious Eats, Food Network's FNDish blog, Simple Bites, the Cuisinart Blog and the Mrs. Wages Newsletter, as well as in the pages of Grid Philly Magazine.
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