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Spicy Heirloom Tomato Chutney for International Can-It-Forward Day

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Friends! The big day is finally here! It’s International Can-It-Forward Day (#canitforward)! All day today, there will be live demos on the Ball Canning Facebook page from chefs, bloggers, and home cooks. At 2 pm eastern time, I’ll be streaming live from my dining room, showing you how to make my Spicy Heirloom Tomato Chutney.

Today, I’ll be making this chutney with an assortment of small tomatoes, because that’s what’s currently in season in Philadelphia. As we get further into tomato season, I’ll make it with larger slicers and meaty paste tomatoes. It’s a great recipe to have in your resource file towards the end of the season, when you just need a handy way to deal with an abundant harvest!

You can get the recipe over on Freshly Preserved Ideas, the Ball Canning Tumblr page.

Can It Forward Day image

And don’t forget. Today isn’t just about live demonstrations. There’s also a charity component to the day’s events. For every like, share, reaction and comment on the Can-It-Forward Day Facebook Live videos on July 22, Ball Canning will donate $1 to the following local charities (up to $1000 per charity):

I chose The Food Trust because they are a Philadelphia-based organization that works to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and the information necessary to make healthy decisions. I have personally seen the positive impact they’ve had on Philadelphia in the years I’ve lived here and I’m really delighted to be able to help support them!

Let the fun being!

Disclosure: I am a paid ambassador for Jarden Home Brands’ Ball Canning brand. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

 

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Red Currant Jelly

Tart, sweet, and gorgeously ruby-hued, this red currant jelly is the perfect way to make the most of a relatively small amount of currants.

Six half pints of fresh red currants.

Over the years, I’ve canned nearly everything there is to be canned. I’ve done every stripe of stonefruit, all the common berries, and have pickled nearly everything I could. The list of things I’d not worked with was relatively short. However, there were a few notable things that had thus far avoided my jam pan. Chief among them, currants.

Red currants in a yellow colander

It wasn’t that I was disinterested in currants. The issue was simply that they were either impossible to find or cost-prohibitive when I did come across a small display. And so they remained on firmly on the list of things I wanted to experience but just hadn’t gotten to yet.

Happily, Ben Wenk of Three Springs Fruit Farm has started growing an array of hard-to-find fruits, including gooseberries and currents in multiple colors. A couple weeks ago, he cut me a deal on a mixed flat of currants so that I could finally see what all the fuss was about.

Red currants in a stainless steel pot on the stove.

I brought them home and promptly consulted Pam Corbin’s The River Cottage Preserves Handbook (like I mentioned in my gooseberry jam post, she is my first stop any time I’m working with unfamiliar fruit that is common in the UK). I followed her instructions for simmering the fruit in water until soft.

Three cups currant juice, soon to become red currant jelly.

Somewhere in my apartment, I have a jelly bag and draining rig, but I could not put my hands on it the day I started this jelly. I used a nut milk bag to separate the pulp from the juice and it worked nicely.

I also flouted the advice* in the book and squeezed the heck of out of the currant solids, trying to wrest out every last bit of juice (I only started with a little less than two pounds of red currants, so I wanted to get as much from them as was possible). I wound up with three cups of juice, when all was done.

Red currant juice in a pot, soon to become red currant jelly.

Once you’ve extracted the juice, the work of making the red currant jelly is quick. Currants are quick pectin-rich, so all they need is sugar and a few minutes of boiling and they’re ready to set into jelly. I used Pam’s ratio of 1 cup of juice to 1 cup of sugar. While I normally opt for lower sugar preserves, currants are so tart and tannic, that in this case, the sugar doesn’t feel at all overwhelming.

Red currant jelly in assorted jars.

Following Pam’s instructions, I brought the juice to a boil first and then added the sugar. Once combined, I noticed signs of setting within five minutes. The temperature was a gel-friendly 221F and the droplets hanging off the spatula were thing and viscous. In the end, I had four half pints of glowing, gorgeously red jelly.

*Both Pam and conventional wisdom says that if you squeeze the bag, you’ll end up with cloudy jelly. I don’t particularly care if my jelly isn’t perfectly clear, so I pressed and squeezed that bag. I got an additional 1/2 cup of juice for my efforts, so it was well worth it.

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Homemade Chickpea Flatbread

These homemade chickpea flatbread rounds are gluten-free, low carb, and high in protein. They’re also easy to make and quite delicious.

Finished rounds of homemade chickpea flatbread on a plate.

On Saturday, my cousin hosted a family gathering. It was a lovely evening with a generous spread of food. When it was all over, Scott and I had a large grocery bag full of leftovers to bring home. After two nights of salads topped with cold cuts, marinated vegetables, and cubes of cheese, we needed a change. And so I made chickpea flatbread.

Faced with a fridge full of sandwich makings, most people would just reach for a loaf of bread. However, we’ve been trying to cut back on carbs lately. This homemade chickpea flatbread, while not without some carbs, is a really great, high protein alternative to regular sandwich bread.

Cooking homemade chickpea flatbread in a cast iron skillet.

For those of you familiar with socca (and in fact, I adapted my version from the socca recipe in Clotilde Dusolier‘s The French Market Cookbook), this recipe will seem familiar to you. It’s a simple batter made of chickpea flour, water, salt, cumin, and a little olive oil. However, instead of pouring a large amount of batter into a skillet and transferring it to the oven to cook the way you do when you make socca, I treat it like crepe batter.

I heat a large cast iron skillet, grease it with a little refined coconut oil (it’s the highest smoke point oil I regularly keep around), and the pour a large serving spoon’s worth of batter into the pan. I use the back of the spoon to spread it out as thin as I can make it. They cook on the first side for two or three minutes, and then another minute or two on the reverse. A flexible fish spatula is my favorite tool for flipping.

Homemade chickpea flatbread wrapped around eggplant dip and vegetables.

I find that it’s a lot like making pancakes. The first one sticks and looks terrible, but as you get a feel for the pan and that day’s batter, they get easier. The end result are thin, flexible flatbread rounds that you can use for sandwiches or as a bread to dip in soup.

Tonight, Scott made himself a pair of deli meat wraps, while I stuffed mine with roasted eggplant dip and an assortment of veggies. They’re satisfying and delicious, particularly if you haven’t had a good loaf of sourdough in a while.

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A Mrs. Wages Tomato Mix Giveaway

Mrs. Wages mixes

I look forward to tomato season all year. Because I don’t have a garden, it always starts for me when the hot house tomatoes appear at my local farmers market. Then, there comes a trickle of small tomatoes like sungold and cherry tomatoes. And then finally, the torrent. Tables heaped with heirlooms, slicers, and sturdy paste tomatoes.

Because I know that tomato season is fleeting, I make a point of canning at least 100 pounds of tomatoes each season (and sometimes more!). I can them whole, make puree, and cook pans of tomatoes down into thick, flavorful pastes. I also like to employ a little help and so occasionally turn to a package of Mrs. Wages salsa or pasta sauce. Made from spices, dehydrated herbs, citric acid, and salt, these packets are such a time saver.

So this week, I’m giving away a whole assortment of Mrs. Wages Tomato Mixes. The basket will contain an assortment of mixes, including pizza sauce, classic salsa, Bloody Mary, ketchup, and much more. If you’re interested in a chance to win this giant package of tomato canning goodness, here’s what you do.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite way to preserve tomatoes. Are you a whole peeled person? Or perhaps all your tomatoes are dedicated to batches of tomato jam. There is no wrong answer.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, July 23, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, July 24, 2016.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents only (and is void where prohibited).
  4. One comment per person, please.

Mrs. Wages regularly sends out newsletters and posts useful canning info on Facebook, so make sure subscribe and like to stay in the know.

Disclosure: Mrs. Wages is a Food in Jars sponsor of this site. However, all opinions expressed are my own. 

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Links: Pickled Onions, Watermelon Rinds, and Winners

making jam in copper pot

For the last half of this week, my cousin Harlan and his family were visiting from Hawaii. When I was growing up, we spent a lot of time together, but as so often happens as people get older and more involved in their own lives, we’ve drifted. Until Thursday, it had been nearly 10 years since I’d seen him or his family. And it hadn’t been for the fact that his four kids were giant people, it would have felt like no time had passed at all! It was so good! Now, links!

Infinity Jars

Thanks to everyone who entered the Infinity Jars giveaway last week! The winner, Anna, has been contacted. If you think that’s you, check your email!

Stay tuned for another giveaway tomorrow!

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International Can-It-Forward Day Charity and Participation Pledge

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International Can-It-Forward Day is in less than a week (Friday, July 22), but there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action. The first thing you want to do is sign the participation pledge. This will ensure that you’ll get email updates about the live stream schedule and you’ll also get a coupon good for $5 off on the Fresh Preserving website.

There are so many reasons to tune in on Friday. You’ll get lots of great canning information and tips. There will be tons of giveaways on Twitter throughout the day. And, you’ll be supporting five small non-profits.

For every like, share, reaction and comment on the Can-It-Forward Day Facebook Live videos on July 22, Ball Canning will donate $1 to the following local charities (up to $1000 per charity):

The demonstrations will start at 10 am and run until 3:30 pm (I’m on at 2 pm). Hope to see you all then!

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