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    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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      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

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      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

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      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

     

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      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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      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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    « Using dried fruit to decorate for the holidays | Main | Please don't nibble on my Sugared Fruit... »
    Tuesday
    Nov302010

    "Hi, my name is Brook and I like to eat paste..."

    Quince paste that's been allowed to jell in individual ring molds.

    "...quince paste, that is!"

    According to WiseGeek, Quince Paste, also known as Membrillo, is "a thick jam made from the fruit of a quince tree. This richly colored  orange-red jam has a sweet taste and a slightly floral flavor, and it is extremely popular in Southern Europe and the Middle East. Outside of these regions, quince paste can be somewhat harder to obtain, and it may be viewed as a delicacy, with a corresponding high price."

    Quince Paste is commonly offered with breakfast, spread on breads. It can also be used to accompany roast meats and other dishes, with its sweet, floral flavor complementing a range of foods. In Spain, quince paste & Manchego cheese is a very popular snack, with some people considering it the national dish of Spain...

    Fresh bread, Manchego cheese, quince paste and Marcona almonds.

    ~~~~~

    Yes, it's true. I've blogged about my love of quince before, and for very good reason.

     

    Each quince weighs about one pound!

    Quince is rewarding to work with, because it's high levels of pectin make it simple for you to create wonderfully thick fruit preserves.

     5 pounds of raw quince, quartered

    Quince is not a fruit that can be eaten raw. When raw, it has a very dense texture and a bland taste, even when fully ripened. It can be difficult to cut, but cooking a quince softens it, and makes its normally white flesh "blush". And the aroma of quinces when they are cooking? Delightful!

    Quince, that's been cooked, run through a food mill, then cooked again.

    The quince flesh turns rosy, in shades ranging from pink to coral to crimson, depending on the fruit, it's ripeness, the cooking technique and the level & type of sweetener added.  

    Sweetened cooked quince, spooned into individual molds.

    Five pounds of quince (plus water, a vanilla bean, some sugar and fresh lemon juice) yields ten lovely 3 ounce portions of luscious Quince Paste.

    I think these portions are perfect for holiday gift giving.

    So friends & family on my gift list: Get in line!

    ~~~~~

    Back to my main blog and more fun ideas>>>

    Quince Paste recipe


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    Reader Comments (2)

    Thanks for the beautiful photos, I haven't seen a fresh quince fruit before. ! I have quince paste in my fridge now and it doesn not look nearly as appetizing as your fresh version!

    November 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCari

    Kim wasn't too interested when I was making it, because he had only had the commercial quince paste, which is a little thicker and drier (and less tasty) than the homemade stuff. That being said, I have to admit I have eaten -- and enjoyed -- plenty of the store-bought stuff too.
    I am so glad you like the photos Cari! Thank you for letting me know.

    November 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

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