Thanks so much to everyone who entered and who shared with us their one-and-only, most important preserve of the year. I was fascinated by your responses: by far the majority favored home-canned tomatoes, whether whole, crushed, sauced or fire-roasted, and I have to agree: I go into paranoia-overstock-mode with tomatoes these days, ever since the heartbreak of the 2009 tomato blight. But for all of the tomato love, there were many of you dedicated to berry jams, sour cherries & plums, apricots & figs, salsa and relish, peaches (in bourbon and amaretto), applesauce or butter, and pickles of all stripes & flavors: dilly beans, garlic, straight-up cukes, beets, garden veg, even Indian cauliflower! Then there were the outliers, that to me, might be the most interesting of all: dandelion jelly, lemon curd, marmalade & preserved lemons, chile pepper jelly, peppered rosemary peach jam, lavender syrup, quinces, thimbleberry jam, dark opal basil jelly, and raspberry fresh fig vanilla bean jam with lavender and maraschino liqueur (a mouthful indeed!). A few people even picked this very orange rhubarb butter (a good choice, I have to say.).
And what would my one thing be? Well, tomatoes really are the clever choice, as you can do so very much with a simple jar of crushed tomatoes. And I remember all too well running out of them back in ’09: I don’t ever want to have to go back to store-bought. But, but, but… cranberry chutney. I eat it almost daily, with sharp cheddar, with fresh goat cheese, with sliced apples. And at least you can buy canned tomatoes at the store: when’s the last time you saw a jar of cranberry chutney at the supermarket? Although cranberries freeze really well and take up much less room than tomatoes: I could just make a fresh batch of chutney once a month. And what would I do without my beloved rhubarbaritas? Hmm. This is too hard: I don’t know how you guys managed to answer at all!
Well, you’ve all been very patient with my canning curiosity; thanks again for joining the conversation. Without further ado, I’d like to announce the winner of the Food in Jars cookbook: congratulations to Joseph Allgren, commenter #49! (And please remind me, if I ever do this again, to switch to a theme with numbered comments. I counted three times to make sure Joseph was number 49.) Joseph’s one-and-only was another interesting one, plum & rose curd, which sound intriguing and fantastic, no? Congratulations, Joseph! Use it well.
Special thanks to Marisa and her publisher, Running Press, for donating the review copy of Food in Jars. For those of you that did not win, you have another chance! Kate over at Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking has a great giveaway going on, for a beginner’s canning set from Ball and a copy of Food in Jars. The giveaway runs until July 5th, so surf on over and try your luck!