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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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    « Bartlett Pear~Vanilla Bean Preserves...Aristotle's favorite toast spread. | Main | Using dried fruit to decorate for the holidays »
    Wednesday
    Dec152010

    Preserving Kumquats is a sure way to brighten up a winter day!

    6 pounds of "Nagami" Kumquats


    Why do I love Kumquats so much?

    Where do I start?

    As some of you might know, I am obsessed with ORANGE. The color, the flavor, and the many types of citrus fruit in the orange family. I also like tiny versions of my favorite things. Miniature horses, bite-size candy bars and kumquats* all fill that bill.

    I just received a shipment of fresh-picked kumquats from Florida, which the Pugs had to fully inspect immediately upon arrival. Seriously, there was quite of bit of whining & begging involved.

    This is a 10 pound box of "Nagami" Kumquats from Kumquat Growers Inc. in Florida. ("Nagami" are the tart ones. The same company also had "Meiwa" available; they are the sweet variety.) You want the tart ones for recipes. They provide the bright acidity that pairs so well with the sweetness of the sugar.


    Kumquats are one of those fruits that involve more prep than most others. It's a good thing I'm so enamored with them. Otherwise they might be way too much work!

    2 pounds sliced and seeded...save the seeds for the preserving process!

    I use fill-able tea bags for keeping the seeds together. Cooking the seeds with preserves helps to release their pectin. The natural pectin found in the seeds is a much-needed ingredient which helps to thicken marmalades, jellies and jams.

     

    2 pounds of kumquat results in this many seeds...about 1/3 of a cup.

     Add the bag full of seeds to the preserving pan and then poke it with a spoon so that it sinks.

     I'm skipping a few steps in the recipe here because my next blog post will most likely be about making marmalade and I'll provide plenty of details in that blog, including what NOT to do, spoken from experience!

    Using a canning funnel always makes filling jars about 10 times easier!


     I'll tempt you with a little dab of Kumquat Marmalade & Cream Cheese on a cracker...

    ...the tart-sweet flavor of the marmalade is wonderful when paired with the rich, smooth qualities of cream cheese and the crispness of a cracker.

     

    *Kumquats were originally considered to be part of the Citrus family, but in 1915, they were given their very own genus, Fortunella. So technically, even though they look like oranges, they're not actually citrus fruits.

      

    Link to a short silly video of a little boy tasting his first kumquat :)

     

     Please check out some of my other preserving projects by going back to my main blog....


     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     

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    Reader Comments (3)

    I love your photos and your post. We've been worried about the freeze here in Florida, but so far the citrus crops seem to be fine. Your idea for keeping the seeds in tea bags is BRILLIANT! Thank you for a wonderful idea.

    December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLael Hazan @educatedpalate

    We just picked up quite a few citrus trees and berry bushes to plant on our urban homestead. One of the citrus trees is called a Centennial Kumqwat tree wondering if you have heard of this and have you tried preserving it's fruit? Check it out on line http://www.justfruitsandexotics.com/Citrus.htm I want to learn how to can and preserve too! Great blog!

    January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

    Hi Michelle. I certainly am envious that you are growing your own citrus and berries. Berries we can grow here in Seattle; the citrus are not so easy. I do have Meyer Lemons and a Buddha's Hand Citron in my house, but it's always such a struggle with them I fret over them and hand-pollinate. The smell of the blooms in the house makes it all worth it though!
    So I looked up your Centennial Kumquat. It sounds so interesting. I think it will be beautiful! It said you can make marmalade out of it. It has a good proportion of flesh to it's thin peel. Looks like big seeds too. No matter what, you will have to do a fair amount of picking seeds out of the fruit. Should be much easier with bigger seeds, right?
    If you are growing things on your urban farm you SHOULD be canning & preserving. You will have so much fun. It's not just jellies and jams you can make, but syrups, infused vinegars, fruit-y drinking vinegars, candied citrus peels....I could go on and on....
    Have a wonderful weekend. Thank you for your comment. I look forward to hearing more :)
    B

    January 14, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

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