Bite This Book! Food in Jars (giveaway)

Welcome to Bite This Book! Each month, I feature a cookbook of my choosing that is hot off the press, host a Q & A with the author, and then give you a chance to win a copy or two. It’s Bite This Book! good reads on Simple Bites.

Marisa McClellan is a woman of many hats. She is a freelance writer, an expert at home canning, a blogger, a canning instructor, and a contributor here at Simple Bites, among other things. She can now add published author to her resume because her beautiful book Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round comes out on May 22!

Marisa’s popular canning blog, Food in Jars, begged to make the jump to book; as her devoted readers, we wanted a hard copy of her recipes right in the kitchen with us. Fortunately, a publisher at Running Press helped make it happen and Food in Jars, the cookbook, is a thing of beauty. I know my copy is destined to get sticky, very sticky.

Packed with full-page color photos, and engaging anecdotes from Marisa’s food-centric upbringing, the Food in Jars cookbook is a fresh approach to home preserving. It holds a wonderful assortment of over 100 recipes from pickles to jam, fruit butter to salsas and much more. The small batch recipes make them approachable for novice canners, and there is enough variety in the recipes to entice the more experienced home canner.

Read on for a short interview with Marisa and a chance to win a copy of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round!

Q&A with Marisa of Food in Jars

1. How was the Food in Jars cookbook born?

I’d been writing the blog for about year when everything just fell into place for the book. Running Press was looking for someone to do a preserving book and had reached out to a friend of mine. She didn’t want to do it herself, but knew that I was interested in doing a book. She put me in touch with her agent and the editor from RP and it all came together. This is not the typical first book story. I got incredibly lucky.

2. How does Food in Jars differ from other canning books out there?

A large part of what sets my book apart from the others is my voice. I think one of the reasons so many people gravitate towards my blog is that they like how I talk about canning. I really try to make it feel approachable, accessible and not intimidating. The book takes the same tone. I’ve including lots of storytelling in the book as well, so that the readers of the book understand just how personal this is for me and how much I care about that they use and enjoy the recipes.

3. Did you learn anything about yourself during the cookbook publishing process?

I learned that I’m not nearly as organized as I thought I was. I rediscovered just how motivated I am by deadlines (I knew that about myself in college, but had somehow forgotten). I learned to discern the times when compromise was necessary and when I needed to stand tough about aspects of the book. Writing this book stretched me and made me grow up. I am incredibly grateful for the experience and hope I get to do it again someday.

4. You’ve got a nifty plan for your book tour. Tell us about it.

I have a busy summer in store! The book comes out on May 22. I’ll be traveling some around the northeast for a couple weeks and then on June 7, I’m heading to the west coast. I start in Seattle and then will spend most of June working my way south. July and August, I’m doing more day and weekend trips and then plan on capping off my summer of travel with a weekend in Chicago. I’m also hoping to get to the midwest sometime in the fall and down south to Florida come winter.


I first met Marisa at Big Summer Potluck last July, but I had been a fan of Food in Jars for years now. I’ve always considered Marisa the authority of all things home canning, and she has patiently answered all my queries on the subject. I’m so thrilled to be giving away her brand new book.

Thanks to the publishers at Running Press, I have a copy of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round to give away to a lucky reader!

To enter:

To enter this giveaway just leave a comment on this post and answer the question:

“What is something you plan to can this summer?”

That’s it!

(If you are reading this post via email, please note that you must enter on the blog post, NOT by replying to the email. Thank you!)

Giveaway ends Saturday, May 12, at 11:59PM. Good luck to all!

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Lara Corbell says

    Tomatoes! My porch plants have just started to flower , can’t wait! I love small batch preserving. For those of us with very limited space for growing, small yields are the norm.

  2. Pickles!

  3. Tomatoes and strawberry rhubarb jam

  4. Peach Jam!

  5. Apricots and plum jam! My grandma canned a lot when I was growing up, but these were my favorites.

  6. I totally will be canning peaches, pears, and tomatoes this year. I might give a try to can 3 bean salad. I dont know why it just sounds good.

  7. I have followed her blog for awhile now-would love to have the book! I plan on canning okra, pickles, green tomato olives, salsa and smoked trout just for a start!

  8. Krystal Vaughn says

    Fruit is the best to can in the summer—Jam!

  9. I need to do pickles again. I haven’t done them since I was 10 years old with my mom, but my husband and I consume pickles like there’s no tomorrow, so that would be a good thing to do. That or make a sugar-free jam strawberry jam, since I’m now off sugar.

  10. This is my first year canning and eager to learn more. I am growing potatoes in potato bags and have 3 large planters for growing tomatoes! Eager for a productive harvest for canning!

  11. strawberries for jam. have been afraid to do this for fear of contaimination but this books makes it easy to understand.

  12. I hope to make strawberry jam or spicy dilly bean pickles

  13. pepper jelly!

  14. Christine says

    I plan to can pickles.

  15. Hopefully some jelly. I’ve never canned before, but I’m gonna do it this year.

  16. Peggy Sorensen says

    I hope to can everything that I’m growing in my summer garden such as peppers and tomatillos for salsa, cucumbers, summer squash, green beans, eggplant and tomatoes. I’ve never canned before so I may be taking on more than I can handle, but if I could do it in small batches, it might not be so overwhelming.

  17. Butters!!!!
    My rhubarb is ready so I will start with strawberry rhubarb butter and orange rhubarb butter…..yum!

  18. What do I want to can? Anything! My attempt to can tomatoes many years ago did not go well, so I need the book and need to start over!

  19. angie warrington says

    I plan on canning anything I can get a decent amt of. apples, blackberries, blueberries, tomatos, plums everything and anything. YUM!

  20. I plan to can a TON of tomatoes, plus various jams, fruits and veggies. Hooray!

  21. peach jam!

  22. Tomatoes and fermented vegetables!

  23. I hope to can tomatoes this year! I haven’t had much luck with my tomatoes turning red the last couple years, but they’re going in a new spot in the garden this year, so I have high hopes.

  24. Definitely peaches! And salsa!

  25. I’d like to try my hand at canning fruit.

  26. I’ll be canning some pickled hot peppers and onions. My dad does it every so often and its great for adding extra flavor and spice to fish.

  27. I desperately want to make strawberry rhubarb jam. I started canning too late last summer and just missed the strawberry season. I also want to try my hand at some other pickling projects, like pears and okra. Last year I only made cucumbers and carrots.

  28. Tomatoes, corn, okra and strawberries. Want to learn how to do it in small batches 🙂

  29. Apricots (didn’t do any last year for some reason!), figs, tomatoes and…whatever else I get inspired by through this book 🙂

  30. I know that I will be canning bread and butter pickles this summer. That is always a must. I had the pleasure of attending one of Marisa’s canning classes in 2010. It was a lot of fun!

  31. I hope to find a place in Dublin that has canning supplies. (I need more jars, and we just moved here.) I’ll probably make some strawberry jam with Irish strawberries.

  32. We always pick wild blackberries and raspberries for jam, this year our blueberry bushes are in their third year so hopefully giving us some blueberries. We also make strawberry jam and last year for a treat, Strawberry Margarita …mmm

    I’m new to canning veggies, but with our CSA share and our own growing veggie garden I hope to make pickles, pickled beets, dilly beans and more. I am and have been a huge Food in Jars fan for a long time would love this 🙂

  33. Tomatoes and strawberry jam! (not together, of course!)

  34. karen b. says

    I want to do pickles this year! I need to find a good fire and ice pickle recipe. And strawberry jam of course; we’re almost out of last year’s jars.

  35. Tomatoes, cherry jam and (currently) strawberry, vanilla jam.

  36. Diane Bowen says

    I haven’t canned peaches for awhile and am determined to do so this summer. There isn’t a food in the world that tastes as good as home canned peaches with a very light syrup. Wellll maybe one or two foods. LOL

  37. Leslie Greene says

    Tomatoes for sure!!!!!

  38. Peach jam – and maybe mango curd if I’m brave enough. I’d also like to try to make babyfood, but I’m not sure if I would can that or not.

  39. I’ve never canned before but my grandma used to can the best bread and butter pickles (among other things). I don’t have a recipe but would love to give it a try!

  40. Robin Marcus says

    Here at The Funny Farm we eat what we grow and what is in season! I will be canning everything I can! I currently can and sell jams, jellies, marmalades and pickles at a weekly farmers market. I want to try doing pie fillings, both sweet and savory this year! Yummy!

  41. Linda Crosbie says

    Tomatoes, jam, pickles of all sorts, peas, beans, peppers, rhubarb; hopefully small batches of everything I am growing!

  42. Pickled garlic!

  43. I would love to can some peaches and strawberry jam!!

  44. Pickles!

  45. I’m excited to can pumpkin. I’ve got a ton of baby sugar pumpkins on my vine right now!

  46. Top of my list: roasted tomato sauce, strawberry jam, salsa. I guess the reds are calling to me!

  47. pickles! (which reminds me that the cucumbers need to be planted this week!)

  48. Wendy Hunter says

    Looking forward to strawberry balsamic jam and also watermelon jam!

  49. Probably more applesauce in the fall. Green beans and jalapenos too!

  50. I’m dying to make some strawberry rhubarb jam with rhubarb from my Grandpa’s garden!