Archive for the ‘Canning’ Category

Celebrating Summer Produce: Tomato Sauce Recipe From Scratch

Friday, August 16th, 2013

023Last week we showed off beautiful raw tomatoes with our heirloom tomato panzanella salad. This week, we’re switching it up and teaching you how to make and preserve a lgreat tomato sauce. That way, you’ll get to enjoy the flavor of sun-ripened tomatoes all year!  As a bonus, this recipe works best with extremely ripe and even slightly overripe tomatoes, and they don’t have to be pretty. If you have any bruised, slightly squishy, cracked tomatoes, this is the perfect way to use them up!


This recipe makes 4 pints of tomato sauce and is pretty easy to multiply if you have a huge surplus of tomatoes. Just make sure you’re using a big enough pot, like one of our Kilner Jam Pans, and you’ll have perfectly thick, flavorful tomato sauce. You’ll never want to go back to store bought stuff again!

As with any canning project, make sure you have all your ingredients and all your equipment ready before you start!

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Equipment    Preserve Accessories


  • 8 lbs ripe or overripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup bottled lemon juice *
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

* It is important to use bottled lemontom_paste-vars-harvest juice instead of fresh since bottled lemon juice has a consistent level of acidity and will ensure the shelf life of your tomato sauce.

You’ll notice that this is a pretty simple sauce. If you want to spice it up, feel free to add sautéed garlic, fresh basil, chili flakes, sautéed mushrooms, or anything you like in your tomato sauce. We keep ours simple because we don’t know what we’ll be pairing it with 6 months from now!

Let’s get down to business and make some sauce!

First, Prepare the jars and lids:
Wash all jars and lids thoroughly with soap and water and rinse well. Fill your large pot with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Place one of the towels at the bottom of the pot and bring to a simmer. Using a pair of canning tongs, lower the jars in gently, tilting them to fill with the hot water.  Add the screw-bands to the pot as well, but keep the flat metal seals out of the water for now, but have them handy.


Meanwhile, rinse the tomatoes and pat them dry.

Option 1: Cut a small “x” in the bottom of each tomato and blanch them for about 30 seconds in boiling water, remove to an ice bath, slip off their skins, cut in half and squeeze out the seeds.


Option 2: Roughly chop the tomatoes and run them through a food mill.


Option 3: Whirl the tomatoes quickly in a blender and push the puree through a fine sieve.


Personally, I find option 2 to be the easiest, but not everyone has a food mill. If you’re going to become serious about canning, it’s a tool you should have. But any of the 3 options will do the trick!

Once you’ve got your tomatoes peeled, coarsely chop them (if they’re not already broken up) and add them to your Kilner jam pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and stir/crush your tomatoes to break them up further and keep them from burning.


Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a low boil. Reduce to the desired thickness, by a third for a thin sauce, or by half for a thick sauce.



With your tongs, carefully remove the jars from the pot, tipping water out and setting jars upright on a clean dry surface.  Add the seals to the pot, continue to simmer.

Using your funnel, carefully fill your jars, leaving a half inch of headspace at the top of each jar.images5


Run a chopstick around the sides of each jar to help release any trapped air, then wipe each jar’s rims clean with a dish towel.

Using a magnet or a pair of kitchen tongs, remove the jar seals from the water and place them on the mouths of the jars. Place the screw bands on the jars and screw on the rings, then loosen each ring a quarter turn to allow steam to escape from the jars.



Empty the stock pot you used to sanitize your jars and fill it with water again, keeping the dish towel in the bottom of the pot.  With jam jar tongs, place each jar carefully into the water and check that jars are submerged by at least an inch.

Bring water to a boil and let boil for at least 20 minutes, checking periodically to see that the jars are covered with water.

After 20 minutes has passed (longer if at high altitude.) remove jars from water, and set on a cooling rack. Leave undisturbed for 12 hours, then test seals. If any of the jars have not sealed, reprocess using method above or refrigerate and use immediately!

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We hope that this simple tomato sauce recipe helps you enjoy the rest of the year. If you need more help figuring out how to choose great tomatoes, click back to last week’s blog post for advice! From all of us at Kilner and Pacific Merchants, happy canning!

National Watermelon Day and a Great Watermelon Recipe

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Nothing says “summer” like biting into a big, juicy slice of watermelon. Since tomorrow, August 3, is National Watermelon Day, we think it’s the perfect time to introduce you to a more grown up watermelon recipe. It’s not that we have  anything against biting into a big, juicy slice of melon, but should your occasion call for something a little less messy, here’s a great, summery alternative!

This colorful savory watermelon salad is most beautiful when served in our round Calabash serving set. The shape of the bowl mimics the shape of the watermelon in a cute way and the rich brown tone of the Acacia hardwood offsets the reds, pinks and greens in this salad beautifully!  This dish serves a crowd, so it’s great to bring to a picnic or party.  If you’re making an extra-large batch and need a bigger bowl, try one of our larger Mason Cash Mixing bowls!



Sweet and Spicy Watermelon Salad


–          1 medium watermelon, cubed (about 15 cups) Not sure how? Here’s a tutorial

–          1 red onion, thinly sliced

–          ½ cup fresh mint, minced

–          3 cucumbers, cubed

–          8 oz crumbled feta cheese

–          1 heaping tsp cayenne pepper

–          1 tsp black pepper

–          2 tablespoons lime juice

–          2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

–          ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

–          Sea salt, to taste


  1. In the bottom of your serving bowl, whisk together the spices
  2. Add the lime juice, vinegar, and olive oil, whisk to combine
  3. Add in cucumbers, red onion, mint, and feta. Stir to combine well.
  4. Toss the watermelon in with everything else.
  5. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, lime juice or cayenne if necessary
  6. Serve cold or at room temperature.

One of my favorite things about this salad is how easy it is to change up. Sometimes I add tomatoes, sometimes I leave out the feta, and sometimes I use basil instead of mint. No matter what variation I use, it tastes great! This salad is as delicious as it is easy, and it’s a great way to turn a classic taste of summer into something a little more sophisticated!  What’s your favorite way to eat watermelon?

Spiced Blueberry Jam Recipe

Friday, July 26th, 2013


Blueberries are great right now, so why not take advantage of them? This recipe for spiced blueberry jam is a delicious way to add a kick a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s also tasty between layers of lemon cake, on corn muffins for breakfast, swirled into yogurt, and even right out of the jar with a spoon (no shame here!)

Our blueberry jam recipe is pretty simple, and it actually works very well with frozen blueberries, so bookmark this for when the holiday season rolls around. Packed up nicely, it makes an unforgettable gift!  Check out Kilner’s great selection of Jar sealing sets to help you wrap your homemade gifts in style!




– Large Stock Pot
– Six 0.25 liter Kilner Preserve Jars
– Kilner Easy-Fill Funnel or wide mouthed canning funnel
– Kilner Jam Jar Tongs or canning tongs
– Large (8-ounce) ladle
– Paper towels or dishtowels
– Magnetized “lid-wand”

Kilner Jam Pan or medium-large non-reactive saucepan

– Wooden spoon or Jam Spatula
– Potato Masher
– Nutmeg Grater or Microplane


– 26 oz fresh blueberries OR 2 (12-ounce) bags frozen blueberries – You can also use a mix
– One (1 3/4-ounce) packet dry pectin
– 1/4 teaspoon star anise, ground fine
– 10 to 20 grinds fresh nutmeg (or 1/4 teaspoon pre-ground)

– ¼ tsp ground cloves

– ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice
– 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) cider vinegar

– 1 tablespoon orange juice
– 3 cups sugar
– 1/2 cup water




For the jam:

– Place blueberries in jam pan over medium-low heat.

– Sprinkle with pectin followed by the anise, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, orange juice, lemon juice and vinegar.

– Once liquid starts to pool in the bottom of pan, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.

– Lower heat slightly and boil gently for five minutes occasionally mashing mixture.

– Mash in sugar, add the water and return to a boil for 1 minute.

– It’s that easy. You just made jam!

Preserving the jam:

– Thoroughly wash all your Kilner jars and lids in hot soapy water, along with ladle and funnel.

– Put all items in large stock pot.

– Cover with hot water by at least 1-inch and bring to a boil and maintain for 10 full minutes to sterilize.

– Turn off the heat, wait 5 minutes then add the lids.

– Leave all jars in the pot until you’re ready to can.
– Remove the ladle, tongs, funnel and other tools from the pot, (careful please, it’s hot in there) to a clean towel or paper towels. Using the jar tongs, remove and drain the jars, placing them on the towel/paper towel surface. (Avoid rock or metal surfaces which could result in thermal shock and breakage.)

Place the funnel in the first jar (pick it up by the ring, avoiding the sterile interior.) Use the ladle to fill each jar just to the bottom of the funnel, about 1/3-inch from the bottom of the jar threads. This “headspace” is necessary for the jars to seal during processing.

Wipe the jar rims with a moist paper towel, checking for any cracks or irregularities as you go. Use the  magnetized device of your choice to position lids on each jar. Screw the rings loosely (Remember, the rings don’t seal the jars they only hold the lids in place. Heat will drive out the extra air in the jars, which when cooled will create a vacuum with the vacuum disc seal, sealing the jars. If your rings are too tight, there may not be room for air to escape and your jar could crack.)

Return the jars to the pot being certain that they don’t touch the bottom of the pot or each other. (If you don’t have a jar rack, try a round cake rack, or metal mesh basket. Even a folded kitchen towel on the pot bottom will do in a pinch.) Add additional water if necessary to cover the jars by at least an inch, and bring to a hard boil over high heat for 5 minutes (longer if more than 1000 feet above sea level). Be sure not to start your timer until a true rolling boil is reached. The air may bubble out of the jars before a boil is reached. Don’t be fooled.


Once your jam is done, it’ll keep for 6 months to a year (or a couple of weeks in the refrigerator once the seals are broken.) So you could start making this delicious spiced jam now and it’ll still be excellent this holiday season!

From all of us here at Pacific Merchants and Kilner, Happy Canning!



National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

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It’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Here’s our signature recipe. As you can see, we tend to make a mess in the kitchen, but we make great cookies too, and our awesome Mason Cash Mixing bowls are perfect for cookie baking!

  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter
  • 1/3 lb white sugar
  • 2/3 lbs dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 lbs bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 lbs semisweet chocolate chips
  • sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325

  • Whisk all dry ingredients (Except sugar) in a bowl. Set aside.
  • In a mixer with a paddle attachment (or in a bowl with hand beaters) combine the butter and sugars. Beat 2 minutes until beginning to get light and creamy
  • Add vanilla and beat an additional minute.
  • Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg completely
  • gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated
  • Add the Chocolate chips and fold with a heavy spatula to combine
  • Scoop 1 inch balls of dough onto lined or greased baking sheet, leaving ample space between cookies
  • Flatten slightly and sprinkle with salt
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cookies are golden brown around the edges and still soft in the middle
  • Let cool for 3 minutes before removing from cookie sheet to cooling rack
  • Enjoy with tall glass of milk!

Don’t forget to visit our previous blog post to find out how to win a 25 buck gift certificate to our site!

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