Blogger Spotlight: Food in Jars

Learn the art of canning with Marisa McClellan

Everything you wanted to know about canning and so much more


This week, we’re proud to feature Marisa McClellan in the Blogger Spotlight, where we highlight a member of The Daily Meal’s Culinary Content Network, a selected group of bloggers who write about food and drink.

Food In Jars

Marisa is the voice behind the blog Food in Jars, which she began in 2009 as a place to share her passion and knowledge for canning. From jams, jellies, compotes, and curds to syrups, vinegars, infusions, whole pickled vegetables, and more, McClellan covers every possible canning-related recipe you could want. The blog is not limited to canning, however, with recipes for baked goods, salads, pastas, and holiday menus also featured on the blog.

As well as writing Food in Jars, McClellan has also published three books and offers regular canning classes — group workshops as well as private classes — around the Philadelphia area as well as parts of New York, New Jersey, and Maine.

McClellan’s writing has also appeared on The Food Network, Saveur, Table Matters, and Food 52. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Portland, Oregon, she now lives in Philadelphia with her husband.

Food In Jars

The Daily Meal: What is the mission of your blog?

Marisa McClellan: To share useful information around the topics of canning, home cooking, and culinary DIY.

How’d you get started?

I started Food in Jars eight years ago after spending a couple years as the editor of AOL’s long-defunct food blog, Slashfood. I wanted to stay engaged in the food blogging community and so decided to start my own site. I was already an avid canner and so the topic of the blog came naturally to me.

What is your philosophy of cooking or baking?

It’s more of a general kitchen philosophy, and that is that I never regret having made something. Even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, I’m always happy to have spent some time in the kitchen and tried something.

What are some of the foods you can’t live without?

I can’t live without apples, lemons, and nut butters.

Are there foods you can’t stand?

I’m not a huge fan of clams, and I have to avoid shrimp because of an allergy. Beyond that just about everything is welcome in my kitchen and on my plate.

What is your proudest post?

I’m pretty pleased with this post on Learning to Be Flexible.

Do you have a blogging blunder?

I think it’s impossible to have been blogging as long as I have without having made a blunder or ten. There’ve been typos, posts that raise the ire of readers, and other stumbles. I try not to fixate on the errors and instead attempt to keep moving forward.

What is your most memorable comment from a reader?

I am always pleased when someone takes the time to offer feedback that’s useful and constructive. I am most gratified when people reach out to tell me that they learned something from my site or my books that had a positive impact on their lives. That’s the very best.

What do you like to listen to while in the kitchen?

I’m a podcast listener. I love the BBC’s The Food Programme.

What are some other blogs you love?

I am always excited to see a new blog post on Alexandra’s Kitchen, Eating From the Ground Up, and the Local Kitchen blog.

What is the best thing about blogging?

I love the immediacy of blogging. You do something, you write it up, you share it, and then the feedback starts rolling in. It’s also nice that when you make a mistake, it’s easy to fix.

What is the most challenging thing about blogging?

I’ve been blogging in one form or another for 12 years, so it does become a constant challenge to keep things fresh and interesting. But it remains the best job I’ve ever had, so I keep at it.

What would even your most loyal followers be surprised to learn about you?

I share a goodly amount of my life with my readers, so there’s not too much that would shock them. I imagine the thing that would surprise them the most is the fact that I have many of the same struggles as they do. When you live a portion of your life online for the consumption of others, you highlight the good things and minimize the messy bits. Just because you don’t see them in the frame, doesn’t mean the messes aren’t there.

Anything else you would like to share?

I am grateful for my readers and for the opportunity they give me to share and encourage!

What are five of your all-time favorite posts?

The Etiquette of Canning Jars

Holiday Berry Jam for Gift Giving

How to Make a Great Pumpkin

Cherry Kompot


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