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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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    International Food Blogger Conference 2011 NOLA

    « Simple steps to making Bosc Pear-Cranberry-Orange Sauce | Main | Pickled Herring »

    Pumpkin Ketchup, easy as pie.


    Peter Peter Pumpkin-Eater,

    Had a wife and couldn't keep her.

    If only he'd made her some Pumpkin Ketchup.

    I bet she would have stuck around.

    For pumpkin ketchup, you can use either fresh "pie" pumpkins or canned pumpkin, and you'll achieve very similar results. Having options makes this project seem easier already, doesn't it?

    After roasting "Sugar Pie" pumpkins, I scooped the pumpkin flesh out of the shell. Each one of these pumpkin halves pictured here usually yield about two cups of flesh...

    ...which is about the same as one 15 oz. can of 100% pumpkin puree. Be sure you don't use pumpkin pie filling mix.

    In two separate pans I combined pumpkin -- a 15 ounce can of pumpkin in one pan, and 2 cups of fresh-baked pumpkin in another -- plus apples, onions, brown sugar, vinegar, and a variety of spices. I cooked both of these mixtures until the chunks of apples and onions were soft.

    The canned pumpkin, shown both above and below, isn't as dense as the baked Sugar Pie pumpkin flesh.

    Again this is canned pumpkin, shown above.

    Notice the difference in texture of the fresh-baked pumpkin, below.

    After simmering on the stove for about an hour, here are the two nearly identical mixtures alongside each other.

    At this point, I could have cooked the canned pumpkin blend longer, to help the liquid to evaporate, but I decided to run it through the food mill "as is", knowing the pureed apples and onions would thicken the ketchup.

    Using a food mill purees the mixture into a smooth consistency, plus it separates the apple's peels and any stray pumpkin fibers from the ketchup. The result is a perky pumpkin condiment, perfect for burgers or meatloaf, or any other ketchup-friendly foods.

    Once again, I ask the question:

    "Who says ketchup has to be made from tomatoes?"

    Pumpkin Ketchup has a very similar taste profile to classic tomato ketchup. You might not be a squash fan, but I think if I could get you to taste Pumpkin Ketchup and Tomato Ketchup side-by-side, you'd be willing to trade out the traditional tomato stuff for this nummy new-fangled sauce.

    By the way, this ketchup was delicious with another one of my fall favorites, Oven Baked Butternut Squash Fries.

    Did I mention I love squash?

    Did I even need to?

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    Reader Comments (4)

    Do you keep the ketchup in the fridge or do you can it? And how long will it keep?

    November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanice Haney-Cook

    Hi Janice.

    I think you can store it 3 months in the fridge, 6 months in the freezer, or if you want to store it longer, you could process it according to USDA specifications, using a boiling water bath (10 minutes for 4 ounce jars / 15 minutes for 8 ounce jars). Once properly sealed, it should last one year on the shelf. Well, it probably won't "last" that long, because you'll have eaten it by then.

    I'll post the recipe soon....I am making something with Bosc pears and some local organic fresh cranberries today, Once I'm done with that project, I have a 30# case of quince in my car!

    Thanks for reading my blog.

    November 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    As pumpkin puree is no longer approved for canning, I was wondering what recipe you used to base your USDA instructions for boiling water processing. Is there a recipe in the Ball Blue Book or on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website that I could reference? Thanks

    November 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie


    I'm going to keep this brief because it's late at night but I want to respond.

    Pumpkin purée by itself is a low acid food, but Pumpkin Ketchup has vinegar in it, which acidifies it. (I list vinegar as one of the ketchup ingredients in my blog post.)

    If you have concerns about safety, you should only make a small batch, and eat it within 2 or 3 weeks. If you make more than you can eat as a condiment, you can also use this ketchup as you would tomato ketchup, as a base for barbecue sauce or mixed into meatloaf, for example.


    November 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens
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