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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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    « Homemade 7 Day Sugar Plums | Main | Is it a tomato? Or is it a pear? »

    My first attempt at making Rose Hip Bitters



    I've made bitters before, but this is my first try using rose hips as my main ingredient. I didn't have much to go on. No one I know has made them and I couldn't find much of anything by doing an internet search. So guided by my own instincts, plus a bit of past experience and using plenty of imagination, I think these Rose Hip Bitters are coming together quite nicely.

    To make Rose Hip Bitters at home, you're going to need rose hips, preferably some nice healthy plump ones which are free of pesticides and hopefully free of pests too.

    My friend Ashlyn led us to these, in the parking lot of a government institution in Seattle. A place that shall, from this day forward, remain nameless. In our defense the maintenance men saw us "pruning" their roses and didn't even try to stop us, so I think it's all good.

    The next thing you need for making any kind of bitters is a high octane flavorless booze, which leads us to the next ingredient:

    From what I've read you can make bitters many different ways, employing varied techniques and using a vast combination of ingredients. Don't believe me? Google "bitters + recipe". I've made several batches, all different and always a success. I even have a small amount of bitters left from a batch I made in December 2007. It was primarily fresh orange peels and Galen's 151 Vodka. I wish I knew what else I put in that batch but I can't find my recipe. I'll be sad when the last drop of the "2007 Orange Peel Special Bitters" is sprinkled onto a sugar cube and dropped into a flute of chilled Champagne, but hopefully that will suffice as a fitting send-off. 

    Okay, back to the Rose Hip Bitters.  

    This is what a fresh rose hip looks like.


    I spilt the rose hips in half...

    ...then scooped the seeds out with a grapefruit spoon, because it seemed logical to me. My foraging friend laughed at me when I told her how I seeded them, but hey, I watched the Ken Burns "Prohibition" special on PBS while I was doing it, and it wasn't such a bad way to spend a couple hours. The two things seemed to go hand-in-hand in some odd way.

    I started my first experimental batch of Rose Hip Bitters with one cup of seeded & stemmed rose hips...

     ...and put them in a quart-size Mason Jar, then added whatever I felt like adding because after all, I was wingin' it on this one.

    In this case I added black peppercorns, whole cloves, allspice berries, star anise, stick cinnamon, lemon peel, cardamom pods, and gentian extract. 

     So now my Rose Hip Bitters* are sitting in the fridge, being kept company by Rhubarb-infused Gin - on the left - and the beginning of Cranberry Drinking Vinegar to the right. I shake the jar of bitters once a day to assist the ingredients in doing their magic.

    After 2 weeks, or 2 months, or whenever I get the time, I'll filter this batch of Rose Hip Bitters into a pretty bottle with a tight-fitting lid, slap a hand-written label on it, and set it in my bar. Because of the relatively high Vitamin C content of rose hips, I might be able justify consuming it on a "regular basis" for health purposes.

    I'll let you know in a few weeks how it all turns out.

     *After taking this picture, I topped the jar off with Everclear, but for the sake of the photo I added just enough alcohol to show off the ingredients. No Photoshop edits on the color either; the Rose Hips are a brilliant shade of red, especially when they're sitting in grain alcohol, illuminated by the light of the fridge. Wheeeeeeeeee!


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    Reader Comments (1)

    So how did it turn out?! :)
    I just picked some rose hips and this sounds great.

    October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney
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