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  • FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White
    FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White
    I just started using a FoodSaver vacuum sealer to seal foods and I can't believe I waited so long to get one. (Check out my first project: Sweet & Sour Green Bean Freezer Pickles!)
    For example: In the past I would take the time to pick beautiful berries, then would bring them home and stick them in a zippered baggie in the freezer. My berries would have ice crystals and taste freezer burnt after just a few short months. 
    Then I had a light-bulb moment: "Air is the enemy" of freshness. 
    When vacuum-sealed my berries last 3 to 4 times longer! I have similar results with other fruits, veggies and even meats & cheeses.
    The FoodSaver has been a fantastic discovery. ~ Brook
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    • Mehu-Liisa 10 Liter Stainless Steel Steam Juicer - Made in Finland
      Mehu-Liisa 10 Liter Stainless Steel Steam Juicer - Made in Finland
      Mehu-Liisa Products

      Some day I will replace my ancient graniteware Steam Juice Extractor with this gorgeous Mehu-Liisa brand Steam Juicer. My old Steam Juicer leaks steam, meaning I have to refill the water often, and it doesn't have anywhere close to the capacity of this one from Mehu-Liisa.
      If you want to experience the magic of a Steam Juicer, check out this 10 quart Mehu-Liisa. It will last you a lifetime and save you countless hours in the kitchen, whether your juicing fruit for  Plum Jelly or Apricot Nectar, not to mention it minimizes the mess of juicing large amounts of veggies!  ~ Brook

    • Ball Quilted Jelly Canning Jar 4 Oz (Pack of 12)
      Ball Quilted Jelly Canning Jar 4 Oz (Pack of 12)
      What's the one jar size I always keep a couple extra cases of? 
      The Ball 4 ounce jar.
      It's basically 1/2 cup, and just the right size for gift-giving and for experimenting with small batches. Perfect for things like my famous Pear Honey.
      People can't help but say "That is so darn cute!" when they seem them. 
      ~ Brook

    • Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
      Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
      Looking for an affordable, easy-to-use pressure canner, backed up by great customer service? Look no further than the Presto 23 quart Pressure Canner/Cooker. It's the one I recommend to all my students. ~ Brook


    Dilly Pickled Onion Slices on Punk Domestics

    • Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen (Orange) Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
      Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen (Orange) Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
      Do you have a great instant-read thermometer, or are you still buying the 20 dollar ones that only last a year or two? This was one of my best kitchen purchases.
      Can't imagine cooking jam (or meat or candy) without it! 
      Take your jams to 220º and you'll have a perfect gel set every time. Also available in other colors, but why wouldn't you want orange? It's only the BEST COLOR EVER. ~ Brook


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    • The Home Preserving Bible (Living Free Guides)
      The Home Preserving Bible (Living Free Guides)
      by Carole Cancler
      If you're looking for a book that covers every preserving topic imaginable, this is the book for you. It doesn't have a flashy cover or glossy pictures, but it's full of great info. One of my very favorite resources. ~ Brook

    • OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper
      OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper

      Last August my friend Kelli asked me if I wanted some fresh corn from her grandpa's garden. I said "Sure....I'd love to make a few jars of Sweet Corn Relish!"
      She showed up 6 hours later with 158 ears. Wasn't sure if I loved her or hated her for it.
      After a long hot day spent cutting kernels off all those cobs with a small paring knife, I decided I'd never be without a Corn Stripper again. ~ Brook


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    I have attempted to share safe preserving methods however you alone are responsible for your health & safety in your own kitchen or location. Be aware of current safety recommendations. Please see "Full Disclaimer" page for suggested preserving resources.

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    International Food Blogger Conference 2011 NOLA

       Here's the definition of chutney:

         Chutney is similar in consistency to jelly, salsa or relish and is used as a sweet and sour condiment. Usually made fresh, chutney contains fruit and sugar to give it a sweet taste, and almost all chutney contains vinegar and perhaps onions to give it a corresponding sour flavor. The ingredients are mixed together and then simmered slowly. While chutney is primarily sweet and sour, there can also be many variations of spices, often giving it a hot and spicy flavor.

        This definition pretty much sums ups chutney nicely.

        I have made chutney from so many different fruits. Sure, I've used mangoes, to try to duplicate the first commercially-made chutney I ever tasted,  but there are plenty of local fruits that work well. Let's not forget the REALLY local fruit that is one of my favorites: rhubarb. I bet you know someone with rhubarb growing in their yard. If you're lucky, they don't mind sharing. If you're REALLY lucky, that person with the rhubarb in their yard is you!  Other fruits that make a fabulous foundation for your chutney, just to mention a few: apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, and cranberries and green tomatoes.


                          The beautiful beginnings of Rainier Cherry Chutney.

         Chutney is incredibly versatile, and a welcome accompaniment in any season. For many people, their first experience with chuntey is the mango variety, like Major Grey's. In fact, the first time I was served Major Grey's Chutney with a curry dish was the same moment that I became addicted to the stuff. I loved the way the sweet~tart yet slightly savory sauce was the perfect companion for my plate of spicy hot curry. So many flavors all at once! Besides eating it with curry, chutney:

    • makes a great condiment for roasted and grilled meats & poultry.
    • is wonderful with seafood, especially shrimp curry, of course.
    • can be used during the cooking process, as a glaze. On pork tenderloin, for instance.
    • in a small dish, on a cheese plate can take your cheese & crackers to a whole 'nother level.
    • can perk up a sandwich like nobody's business.

          I've been known to stir a spoonful into a curried chicken salad with very tasty results. (No, I didn't invent that idea, but it still catches people by surprise now and then when I tell them that "secret ingredient" is what makes my salad so good.)

         Another reason to start making your own chutney? It's easy. You basically chop up a few things, gathering up whatever you have in the pantry, mix it up in a heavy-bottomed pan, to prevent the chutney from sticking, and then cook it until it is a jam-like consistency. You can pretty much customize it to your own liking. Most chutney recipes call for fruit, vinegar, and some type of sweetener, like brown sugar. Add onions, and maybe some garlic, and various herbs (like mint) plus assorted spices, (like mustard seed, cloves and coriander). Dried fruit is a nice addition, such as dates &/or raisins, as is crystalized ginger.

         Preserving your chutney in jars is easy, and is the perfect way to have one of the world's best condiments always in your pantry!

    Printable recipe for Cranberry~Jalapeno Chutney

    Printable recipe for Pear Chutney