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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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    « Please don't nibble on my Sugared Fruit... | Main | Does the taste of raw cauliflower leave you cold? Pickle it! »

    Cleaning out the way.

    Seckel Pear Vodka

    Believe it or not, after buying over 30 pounds of Seckel Pears in the month of November, I still had a few of the darling little pears left in the produce drawer. Dilemma? I needed to make room for groceries I bought for Thanksgiving and though these pears are delicious, I really didn't feel like eating any more of them.

    Same with the freezer. I found about a pound of mixed berries, mostly raspberries, taking up valuable space.

     Frozen mixed sugar added.

    So what to do with the extra fresh and frozen fruit?

    Preserve it, with Vodka!


    Put it in a jar:


    Obviously berries can be left whole, but if you are using larger fruit, like pears, you might want to chop them up into pieces.


    I left my Seckel Pears whole, rather than chopping them up. It takes much longer for the flavors to infuse, but I think it looks prettier!

    Add some vodka:

    Seal tightly.

    Store out of direct sunlight, shaking once every few days. Wait about a week, at least, before using.

    (The vodka preserves the fruit so you don't have to keep it in the fridge, but if at any point the fruit begins to turn brown, take it out of the vodka and toss it in the composter. It might make the vodka a tad bitter, plus they look icky.)

    Filter before using.


    I could have added other flavorings too, like a vanilla bean, a cinnamon stick, whole nutmeg, star anise, and/or peppercorns.

    Fresh or dried herbs work well too!

    Infused Vodkas are not just fruit-flavored. Some people like to use jalapeno peppers, cucumbers or even bacon to make their vodka-based cocktails tastier!

    The vodkas I made this morning won't be infused by Thanksgiving. They might not even be ready by Christmas, but not to worry. I think I still have Apricot Vodka left from last summer.


    Mixed Berries and Seckel Pears, infusing (preserved) in Vodka. 

    Go back to more great ideas on my blog >>>

    How about some Apricot~Vanilla Bean Vodka?

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    Reader Comments (2)

    It seems you have enjoyed your canning experience. By the way, I love the jar you used. :) I'm into canning salsa recipes myself and I'm glad to have found a relevant post. All the best! :)

    January 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChef Jay

    Thank you for your comment Chef Jay.
    I checked out your website and your salsa recipes look delicious!

    January 2, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

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