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  • FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White
    FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White
    FoodSaver
    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)
      Ball
      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
      Presto
      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
      ThermoWorks
      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
      OXO

      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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    « Spiced Pickled Seckel Pears packed in pints. Try saying THAT three times! | Main | I'm having my own little Fermentation Festival.... »
    Sunday
    Oct312010

    Before we talk turkey, we need to have a chat about cranberries.

     4 pounds of fresh cranberries.

    5 great reasons to cook with cranberries today:

    1.) They're in season.

    2.) Locavores love them. (They are grown in Washington!)

    3.) Packed with nutrition, they are high in vitamin C and in fiber.  Like their relative the blueberry, cranberries also contain antioxidants in abundance which have antibacterial effects on the body.

    4.) Studies show consuming cranberries can prevent dental plaque and periodontal disease.

    5.) Cranberries are easy to prep for cooking. No scrubbing, no peeling, no pitting.


    They're not always easy to find at your local Farmer's Market, but most grocery stores have them, and if you look, you can find some super deals on them, like "buy one bag, get one free". I paid about $2.00/lb for mine.

    One of my favorite things: Homemade Cranberry Sauce

      Cranberries are versatile. Besides this very familiar preparation -- traditional Cranberry Sauce -- they can be used raw in relishes, dried in pastries, and candied in desserts. They make fabulous juice, which can easily be turned into syrups or liqueurs. If you choose to cook them whole, they are high in natural pectin, which means they thicken nicely, especially when used for making preserves. Jelly, chutney and jam is a cinch.

     

    Delicious when paired with a hearty Spinach Salad. (This one was made with whole spinach leaves tossed with a warm Feta Cheese~Sherry Vinegar mixture, then topped with poached (then shredded) Chicken Breasts, and sauteed Shallots, Red Onions & Mushrooms.)

    I'm making a few batches of traditional Cranberry Sauce now, with the best freshest local cranberries, and preserving them in shelf-stable jars. This way I can eat my beloved Cranberry Sauce all year 'round.

    Check out my new Cranberry "3 Ways" classes by clicking here!

    Added bonus? The fun Rice Krispy'ish "Snap-Crackle-Pop" sounds

                                 that the whole cranberries make when they're cooking!

    ~~~~~~~~~

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    Reader Comments (2)

    I came upon your post from the fermentaition festival. Wish I could have been there. I would like to suggest a cranberry/plum chutney. Use your favorite chutney recipie using fresh cranberries and plums as the main fruit (apples too). We made some this year for an early turkey dinner and it was a smashing success.

    November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

    Craig -- thanks for taking the time to look at my website and for sending me your suggestion. I appreciate it so much.
    I didn't realize how much I loved plums until I started using them in preserving. They play so well with others. I have a Spicy Cranberry Chutney recipe I am getting ready to post soon (with oranges, ginger & jalapeno) but I am going to make a point of picking up some plums and trying your idea soon...it sounds dee-licious. I
    don't think I can ever have TOO MANY chutney recipes!
    Have a great day,
    Brook

    November 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens
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