A couple of months ago, the folks from Lark Crafts sent me two books from their new Homemade Living Series: Keeping Chickens: All You Need to Know to Care for a Happy, Healthy Flock and Canning & Preserving: All You Need to Know to Make Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Chutneys & More.

I instantly fell in love with both books, so I was thrilled when they offered to sponsor a giveaway here. This giveaway is for a copy of both books, signed by the author: the wonderful Ashley English. If you are interested in wholesome, real foods and are looking to become more self-sufficient in terms of the foods you consume, I promise you will just love these books, too.

Keeping Chickens has been extremely useful to me in my first year raising chickens. Ashley English is “spot on” with the perfect mix of information and inspiration. The book covers all stages of raising chickens: from housing to choosing breeds to obtaining the chickens and dealing with their health and wellness. The photos are beautiful and at the back there is a small section with egg recipes: these include classics as well as interesting variations on stand-by dishes with eggs. Even if you don’t ever plan to keep chickens, this book is great for anyone who wants to know more about what it takes to maintain a healthy flock- kids would love it, too.

I would describe myself as a novice canner. I am not yet knowledgeable enough about the process to safely develop my own canning recipes, so I am pleased to have added
Canning and Preserving to my library. This book celebrates the canning movement through photos, stories, and step-by-step tutorials. Author Ashley English is again engaging yet incredibly thorough, and the seasonally organized recipes are lovely (I have adapted one of them below). If you have yet to dive into canning, you definitely want to have this book for reference when you begin; if you are already a seasoned canner, I think this will quickly become one of your new favorite resources.

The recipe below is adapted from Canning and Preserving. It would never have occurred to me to make a chutney out of winter squash before I read this book, but I am so glad that I did. It is sweet, ginger-y and delicious.

You can use butternut squash, red kuri squash, kabocha squash, acorn squash, sweet dumpling squash, or even sugar pie pumpkin in this recipe. I used a combination of acorn and sweet dumpling squashes.

You can vary the spice level to your liking, but if you are canning this recipe, make sure to use the full amount of vinegar and sugar. If you plan to refrigerate the recipe without canning it, you can cut down a bit on these, if you like.

This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday.

Winter Squash Chutney Recipe

Ingredients:

* 5 cardamom pods
* 1 tsp. cumin seeds
* 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
* 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
* 1 tsp. mixed peppercorns
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 2 lbs. squash, peeled if not organic, and diced
* 1 large onion, peeled and diced
* 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
* 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, minced
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
* 3/4 cup water, plus more if needed
* 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
* 1/2 tsp. ground tumeric
* 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
* 1 dried Thai chile or other hot chile pepper, crushed (or one or more pinches of red pepper flakes) -- optional

Directions:

1. Make a spice bag by placing the spices from cardamom through the cinnamon sticks in a muslin tea bag or a square piece of cheesecloth secured tightly with a rubber band.

2. Place the spice bag, the squash and the rest of the ingredients in a suitable pot on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 45-50 minutes, until squash is very tender, adding a little water every now and then (if needed) to prevent the chutney from sticking to the pan. Discard the spice bag.

3. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/2″ headspace. Wipe the jar rims clean. Cover with lid and ring, and tighten until fingertip-tight. Process in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Lark is publishing two more books in the series: Keeping Bees and Home Dairy. These are coming out in March, and I am really looking forward to reading them!

To enter the giveaway for the signed copy of Keeping Chickens and Canning & Preserving, all you have to do is leave me a comment below.

For a second entry, please like Lark Crafts and Healthy Green Kitchen on Facebook, then leave me another comment letting me know that you did/do.

For a third entry, please follow Lark Crafts and me on twitter, then leave me a comment letting me know that you did/do.

That’s it!

I’d love to hear from all readers, of course, but the giveaway is only open to US residents. Thanks and good luck…the giveaway is open through Sunday, January 30th at midnight EST and I’ll use random.org to choose a winner on Monday morning.