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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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    « Boozy Black Moscato Grapes | Main | The North Mason Coalition Canning Corps is ready, willing and able, and now we're legal too! »

    Adorable Autumn DIY Project: Canning Jar Ring Pumpkin


    Yesterday was just an average day until the mailman brought me a package. As I searched for a sharp object to cut open the box, I enjoyed that warm & fuzzy feeling I get when I receive an unexpected package and for a few moments have no idea what could be inside the box. I just knew in my heart it was going to be something good.

    I wasn't prepared for this surprise gift to be something that combined so many of my favorite things in one beautifully-crafted object. Pumpkins, autumn, canning, little velveteen leaves, re-purposing,'s all here in my "new" Canning Jar Ring Pumpkin!

    First of all, do you have some rusty rings lying around? 

     Do NOT use them for preserving! They are dangerous & unsanitary. The rust prohibits the rings from screwing onto the jars properly. Plus they're just plain icky. The USDA will back me up on this one.

    Next, let's talk about how you can use rusty rings.
    The rustier, the better, I might add.

    This idea was shown on Pinterest -- just a picture, no instructions -- and my dear friend Theresa Althauser, of Althauser Design, whipped it up after coming across a few rusty rings at Earthwise in Seattle. 

     I posted a photo of her Canning Jar Ring Pumpkin on my Facebook page mere moments after opening the package and right away so many people asked me how to do it that I had to ask her for help. She obliged me by typing up some instructions. Here they are, in her words:

    "Not my original idea - I just embellished it a little more than the one I saw on Pinterest. All you need is 25 rusty rings. Have them going all the same direction, use some wire twine to attach them all together. Bring the twine up through the center. Hot glue onto a lid - place a branch or twig in the center and put more hot glue in the center. Add moss and leaf! Easy!"

    Easy for her maybe. Theresa is quite talented. I appreciate her attention to detail in every thing she does. Don't believe me? Check out the bottom of the pumpkin. She even made sure to keep the canning theme going by using a wide mouth lid on the bottom, even though you can't see it when the pumpkin is on display!

    (This "bottom" photo seems like a perfect place to say "The End"!)

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    Reader Comments (3)

    Love this! What a fun and easy idea!! Now, to find some rusty rings...

    October 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLori

    Here's the original:

    November 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

    Thanks Lori ~

    Now that I want some, I can't find any!
    Before this I would see them at yard sales ALL THE TIME.

    ~ Brook

    November 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens
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