Giveaway: Big Mouth Flat Pack Funnels

Big Mouth Funnels

In my years as a canner, I’ve tried nearly every available wide mouth funnel on the market. I own nearly a dozen different models made in materials ranging from plastic, to tempered glass, to stainless steel. One thing all these funnels have in common is that they’re bulky (much of my collection lives in a wicker basket in the living room, because there’s no room for them in the kitchen).

Big Mouth Funnels

Happily, Robin Bristow, a designer based in Australia, has recently developed a funnel designed to fit in kitchens with even the most limited cabinet space. Called the Big Mouth Funnel, this tool comes in two sizes and packs absolutely flat for easy storage.

Big Mouth Funnels

The small size is perfect for filling salt shakers, pepper mills, and spice jars, while the larger size can handle all manner of hefty jars. I’m planning on using one for trips to Whole Foods when I’m buying from the bulk section. I’ve often taken conventional wide mouth funnels with me to help dispense from bin to jar, but having a flat pack funnel in my kit will make the job even easier.

Big Mouth Funnels

I will say that I’m a little wary of using these funnels when filled up hot jars with jam or chutney just off the boil. They make no claims that they’re heatproof and so I plan to continue to use my traditional funnels for anything that is piping hot. Even setting them aside for those tasks, I can see them becoming invaluable over time.

Thanks to Robin and Big Mouth Funnels, I have ten pairs of flat pack funnels to give away! Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a kitchen or canning tool that you wish you could reinvent or redesign.
  2. Comments will close at 5 pm east coast time on Saturday, October 5, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted on Sunday, October 6, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Big Mouth Funnel sent me a set of their funnels to try and is also providing the ten for this giveaway. My opinions remain my own. 

Upcoming Classes: Pressure Canning! Pie Filling! Fall Chutney!

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We are well into the season for apples, pears, and quince, and cranberries should be arriving any day now. Come take a class with me and learn how to preserve some of this fall bounty!

October 9 – Pressure canning class at Cooking Spotlight in Phoenixville, PA. I’ll demonstration how to make a batch of onion and rosemary jam, and will show you how to preserve it for shelf stability with a pressure canner. The class is from 6:30 – 9 pm and costs $55. Click here to sign up.

October 12 – Spiced Apple Pie Filling at Indy Hall! Get a jump on your holiday pies by helping peel, chop and process 10 pounds of apples down into a batch of fragrant, spicy apple pie filling. Class is from 11 am to 1 pm and costs $50 per person. Leave a comment or email me to sign up.

October 19 – Canning at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. The morning class will be a jam making session, featuring a batch of pear vanilla jam. The afternoon class will be a make your own pickle party, starring water bath processed pickled carrots. Call the USBG to sign up.

October 26 – Canning demo and book signing at the Williams-Sonoma at the Bellevue in Center City Philadelphia. Demo starts at 1 pm and I’ll be onsite, selling and signing books until 5 pm.

October 29 – Chutney making class with the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market. We’ll make a batch of apple pear chutney (using all local fruit) from 6-8 pm in the Rick Nichols Room. Click here to sign up.

October 30 – A hands on pickling workshop with the Lower Merion Conservancy. We’ll make cauliflower pickles, taste a few things from my pantry, and dig into the basics of the boiling water bath canning. Class runs from 7 – 8:30 pm and costs $35 for LMC members and $45 for non-members. Click here to register.

November 1 to 3 – Join me in Western Mass. for a weekend-long canning class at the Rowe CenterMore details can be found here.

November 16 – Spiced applesauce class at the Tyler Arboretum. We’ll cover the basics of boiling water bath canning and walk through the steps necessary to make a batch of delicious, low sugar applesauce. Class is from 10 am – 12 noon and costs $60 for Arboretum Members, $70 for non-members. For more details, click here and select the “Health and Wellness” drop down.

November 17 – Mulled Cider Jelly class at Wyebrook Farm in Chester County, PA. Class runs from 2 – 4 pm and a registration link is coming soon!

November 18 – Prep for Thanksgiving and make cranberry preserves with me at the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market. Class is from 6-8 pm in the Rick Nichols Room.Click here to sign up.

 

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Links: Plums, Gingersnap Granola, and a Winner

I am so happy to have delicata squash back!

Fall is here, things are slowing down for me a little, and I am feeling grateful. I turned in one of the final rounds of edits for the next book last week, which feels both entirely liberating and just a bit surreal. This new book, which now is now officially called Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, will be out on March 25 and is even now available for pre-order. The promotional dance will be here before I know it, so I’m enjoying the relative peace of these early fall days all the more.

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So many thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Itty Bitty Jar and cookbook giveaway that Fillmore Container sponsored last week. The winner is commenter #624, left by Letty. She said, “These jars are so stinkin’ cute! I would obviously have to purchase more, so I could make some type of pepper jelly, a marmalade, and some pear jams. Nothing like giving recipients a choice!” So true, Letty!

For those of you who didn’t win, make sure to check back tomorrow, because I’ll have another giveaway to share with you then!

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Small Batch Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

a pound and a half of tomatillos

Back when this blog was a wee fledgling, just finding its feet, I posted a recipe for oven roasted tomatillo salsa. It was one I learned to make by watching a woman named Teresa (for a handful of months, we were co-workers of sorts). Most of the time, when I find myself in possession of a small amount of tomatillos, I make some variation on this salsa and remember those days when I was fresh out of college and still trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do with myself.

halved tomatillos

The one problem with that first recipe was that it wasn’t designed for canning. I’ve gotten more emails than I can count over the years, asking me whether it could be canned and I always had to say no. However, it feels like a hole not to have a recipe on this site for a water bath safe tomatillo salsa (happily, there’s one in the cookbook, so I’ve not entirely neglected my duties).

roasted

When I found myself in the kitchen with a pound and a half of tomatillos earlier today, I determined that it was the perfect moment to come up with a very small batch of water bath safe tomatillo salsa. I used the tomatillo salsa recipe on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website as a starting point and then adapted.

In the end, I essentially divided the recipe by five and omitted a few low acid ingredients. I skipped the green chiles and hot peppers with a single jalapeño that had been sitting in the fruit basket so long that it had turned red. I increased the volume of tomatillos a little to replace the missing chiles. I added a tablespoon of minced cilantro. And I kept the levels of additional acid constant.

Leftovers from a tiny batch of roasted tomatillo salsa. If only I had chips!

For those of you who feel uncomfortable with me altering a tested tomatillo recipe in this manner, I point you in the direction of this abstract. It details pH testing of tomatillos and reveals that their pH was found to be consistently below 4.1. That is well below the cut-off of 4.6 pH. What’s more, that study also found that pH levels remained in the safe zone when tomatillos and onions were combined and at least 50% of the volume of the jar consisted of tomatillos.

After roasting the tomatillos, I had approximately 1 3/4 cups of pulp. To make this salsa, I combined that acidic tomatillo pulp with approximately 3/4 cup of low acid ingredients (onions, garlic, cilantro, 1 jalapeno, and a little ground cumin) and the acidified with three tablespoons of bottled lime juice (my starting recipe used 1 cup and yielded 5 pints. My recipe was appearing to yield about 1 pint. There are 16 tablespoons in a cup, so I divided that by 5 to arrive at 3 tablespoons). My single pint of yield was more than 50% tomatillos by volume and contains a great deal of additional acid.

finished tomatillo salsa

The combination of the tomatillo concentration and the added acid makes me feel entirely comfortable processing this salsa in a boiling water bath. However, the recipe makes just a pint (with a few spoonfuls leftover for immediate eating). If you’d prefer, you can always just pop it in the fridge and eat it up over the course of the next week or two. Up to you.

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Giveaway: Itty Bitty Jars and Food in Jars from Fillmore Container

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Dear friends, let us rejoice! The weekly giveaway is back! Today, we have a fun prize pack from our friends at Fillmore Container. They are giving one lucky FiJ reader a copy of my book and two dozen itty bitty jars (the winner gets to choose which ones they want). The book you know about, so let’s talk just a little bit about these cute little jars.

They typically hold just an ounce or two and are just the thing for gifts and holiday sampler packs. Fillmore carries them in both round and hex shaped. They seal with one-piece lids, which though not approved by the USDA, can be safely used if you follow a few simple instructions (here’s my tutorial on how to use the continuous thread one-piece lids, and here’s the lug version).

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If you’re starting to plot out your holiday giving (yes, I know it seems impossible to be talking about it, but we’re closing in on the end of September), consider adding some wider variety to your gifts by canning some of them up in these little jars. I’m thinking a super rich jam like this pear chocolate one might be a good candidate for such things.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share what you’d put in these itty bitty jars.
  2. Comments will close at 5 pm east coast time on Friday, September 27, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Fillmore Container is a paid sponsor of this blog. They are providing the prize for this giveaway as part of that promotional agreement. However, all opinions expressed here remain my own. 

Classic Tomato Jam Sweetened With Honey

five pounds tomatoes

It’s Monday morning and I’m just getting to the recipe I promised for Friday afternoon. I apologize to those of you who’ve been holding onto tomatoes all weekend in the hopes that this honey-sweetened tomato jam would appear. I have a bad habit of widely underestimating how long things are going to take me to accomplish and sadly, this post was delayed because of my poor estimation skills.

chopped tomatoes

Every since it first appeared on this blog, my friend Amy’s recipe for tomato jam has been one of the most popular things I’ve posted. The original post has hundreds of comments and nearly every time I teach a class or do a book event, someone comes up to me raving about the wonders of tomato jam.

honeyed tomato jam

It’s one of my favorite things as well. I smear it on turkey burgers, serve it with goat cheese, and use it as a dipping sauce for roasted sweet potatoes. Essentially, it’s a very fancy, chunky ketchup-substitute that can be used in all manner of both sweet and savory applications.

finished honey sweetened tomato jam

All summer long, I’ve been pulling out the sugar in many of my favorite recipes and dropping in honey instead. This recipe is the latest to undergo the conversion and I think it might be the most successful swap to date. The slightly honey flavor pairs beautifully with the tomatoes. The spices continue to sing and the yield is comparable to the sugared version. Truly, the only difference I’ve noticed is that this honey sweetened version isn’t as glossy as its counterpart. Happily, the sheen is the only thing that’s missing. The flavor is there in spades.

A couple of things to note. The length of time this jam can spend cooking varies widely. Stay close to the stove, stir regularly, and use a stainless steel pan in case it scorches. Towards the end of cooking, you should be stirring near constantly. You know this jam is finished when there’s no visible water separating out from the fruit. You’ll also hear a slightly sizzling noise as you stir towards the end of cooking. That’s a sign that the sugars have concentrated that the temperature in the pan is elevated beyond the boiling point of water. When you hear that, you are mere moments away from completion. Keep stirring for a moment or two longer and then pull the pan off the heat.

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