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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

    « Sweet Corn Relish | Main | Classic Cherry Compote »

    Tangy Homemade Tomato Ketchup

         If you've never made ketchup at home, you're in for a treat. Spending the time to create "America's most popular condiment" from scratch is well worth the time & effort. Start with the tastiest tomatoes you can find because their flavor will come shining through in the ketchup, even though the recipe includes a variety of other ingredients. Don't just use this on fries either; try using it as a base for cocktail sauce and BBQ sauce too. 

    Makes approximately 6 half-pint (8 oz) jars, though I prefer to package condiments in 4 oz. jars. 

    • 8 pounds tomatoes, washed (about 12 cups peeled/seeded/chopped tomatoes)
    • 1 TBS ginger, peeled & chopped
    • 1 TBS olive oil 
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup orange juice 
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 TBS sea salt, plus extra if desired.

    Note: If planning to process in a Boiling Water Bath, prepare canning jars and keep hot until ready to use; prepare lids according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

    1.) Blanch tomatoes long enough for skins to crack, about 30-60 seconds. (It sometimes helps to make a small X on the bottom of each tomato with the tip of a paring knife, but it isn't necessary.) Plunge tomatoes into a bowl of cold water, then peel, seed and chop them.

    2.) Heat olive oil in large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, and cook chopped ginger for 1 minute. Add chopped tomatoes and remaining ingredients, and bring mixture to a boil, stirring to make sure the sugars have dissolved and aren't sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to a strong simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for approximately one hour or until mixture begins to thicken. 

    3.) When most of the liquid has cooked out of the tomatoes, remove from heat and let cool slightly, then process using a food mill. Transfer puree back into the pan over low heat and stir. Taste the ketchup, adding more salt if desired. At this point you can either:

    a.) Let the ketchup cool, then ladle into bottles with tight-fitting lids and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.


    b.) Keep the ketchup warm if you want to process the jars (to be able to store the ketchup at room temperature.) Start by ladling ketchup into half-pint - or smaller - jars. Release any trapped air bubbles by carefully running a chopstick or other non-metallic utensil around the edges. Wipe rims clean. Place lids and bands atop jars, and seal by processing in a Boiling Water Bath for 25 minutes. (You will need to make adjustments to processing times at higher altitudes.)

    After removing from boiling water bath, set aside in a draft-free place for 24 hours. Will keep on the shelf in a cool dark place for up to one year.

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