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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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    « Best Way To Store Your Sealed Canning Jars | Main | It's been a busy summer... »
    Sunday
    Dec022012

    Pear Honey

     

    Have you ever heard of Pear Honey

    It's an old-fashioned thing. You might be surprised to hear there's no honey involved. The only time bees were needed for this recipe were to pollinate the pears & pineapple, the two main ingredients in Pear Honey.

    Pear Honey is actually new to me. In researching Pear Honey, every recipe I found called for adding one 20 oz. can of pinepple chunks instead of using fresh pineapple. I believe when most people remember Pear Honey from their childhood it was made with canned, but I recommend using fresh. This nectar-like jam has an incredible depth of flavor for something needing only 4 ingredients.

    First you'll need to peel, core and chunk the pineapple and the pears, then mix them with the lemon juice....

    ...then add sugar. That's it.


    At this point you should set the mixture aside and let it sit for an hour or so. If you want to make this a 2-step process, you're practically done for the day. Just cover your mixture and stick the whole thing in the fridge overnight. I almost always do this when making preserves. The sugar dissolves quite a bit, creating a lovely syrup. And it's like having one of those magic cooking show kitchens to be able to pull the mixture out of the fridge the next day, all ready for the next step. 

    I hope this story about a special kind of honey will "bee" the inspiration you need to pick up some fresh pears and make* some memories in your own kitchen. The recipe as shown will make about a dozen 8 oz jars, and I can't think of a sweeter way to make some special people in your life buzz with happiness. 

    **************************************************

    To ensure success, I want to share a couple pointers with you: 

     To make your Pear Honey (and any of your other jams or fruit butters) silky-smooth) use an immersion blender. Also called a "stick blender" or a "hand blender". It only takes a few seconds to remove any chunks. Just wait until the fruit is fully-cooked for best results.

     

     To make sure your jam is ready for jars, cook it until it's 220 degrees Farenheit (sea-level). Many people don't own thermometers so I like to include this tip: cook your jam until it sheets off of the spoon. If it just drips, it's not ready yet. 

    Sheeting looks something like this: 

    *You can find the complete instructions for making Pear Honey by clicking on the phrase "Pear Honey" at any point in this blog post. I know it might seem obvious to some, but people email all the time asking for a recipe that is already linked in a recipe. Saving those people the email :)

    Want to know more about pears?

    Check out USA Pears!

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    Reader Comments (2)

    Made this up this week but it turned out too sweet for our family. Is there any way to lower the sugar amount safely?

    December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeb L

    Sorry to hear it was too sweet for your family Deb.

    Have you ever had a spoonful of honey? Honey IS sweet, and so perhaps that's part of the reason why this very old recipe is called "Pear Honey". (I researched and tested 8 recipes before I settled on this version.) Would you believe every other recipe I found and tested had MORE sugar? It's true!

    Every recipe I found called for pineapples packed in syrup, too. (I used fresh pineapple, of course.)

    You can cook pears and pineapples together with less sugar, and can it, but it will be more like Pear Jam. Or canned fruit puree.

    Hope this helps,

    Brook

    December 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens
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