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A Canning Christmas ~ A few of our Favorite Things

December 18, 2010

Christmas is less than 10 days away and we’ve been so busy canning and putting up that we are more prepared to withstand the icy cold winter than we are to exchange gifts…Okay, that is not totally true because most of our family and friends will be receiving an individually packed gift box of preserves…shhhh don’t tell anyone!

That being said we thought we would suggest a few of our Favorite Things to give to your favorite preserving pals.  Here goes (these are in no special order):

European Tomato Press ~ from Lee Valley ~ This tomato press/foodmill makes the job of removing unwanted skins and seeds a breeze.  There is a tray at the side that spits out the seeds and skins while a second spout releases the pulp.  Although, set up requires a little bit of finessing and operating the handle is crowded with the two bowl set-up, the speed and efficiency of this product make it a joy to use.

Spice Ball ~ from Williams and Sonoma ~  We love this new spice ball from Williams and Sonoma because (1) the lid locks in place so you don’t have to worry about the contents spilling out and (2)  it is easier to wash than a muslin spice ball and is more eco-friendly (3) plus, it floats making for easy removal.

Mauviel Hammered Copper Jam Pan ~ from Amazon  ~  Not much needs to be said about this beauty!!!  Love it! Love it! Love it!  Although, it doesn’t appear that Williams and Sonoma sell this jam pan anymore click on the Mauviel Hammered Copper Jam Pan (above) scroll down to watch the video.  The craftmanship and care that is taken in constructing each pot/pan truly speaks to the level of quality you get in each piece.

Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber ~ from Chapters ~  This book is loaded with wonderful recipes for making any kind of jam, jelly, or marmalade that you can imagine.  Christine’s directions for making some of the most beautiful and interesting creations are easy to follow and the ingredients are readily available; making this an excellent choice.

Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz ~  We love this book.  Sandor outlines the benefits of eating fermented foods while providing readers with an explanation of the process and a number of great recipes.  (Behind the book you can see our two crocks of sauerkraut just hanging out and doing their thing…we are hoping to start a combo crock of rutabaga with some purple and green cabbage this weekend.)

Rock Maple Utensils ~ Imagine Wood ~  Beautifully handcrafted spoons that work well with all of your pans and especially your cooper pans.

Circle Punch ~ Michaels ~  With these two circle punches, there is no fussing around trying to cut out the perfect circle.  The 2 1/2″ and 3″ circle punches make adding labels to your jars a snap.  You can create your own labels using sticker paper, scrapbook paper, newsprint, old maps, old christmas cards, or anything else you want.  Many companies make them and they range in price from about $20-$35.

Jelly & Syrup Strainer ~ Lee Valley ~  This has changed our views on making jelly…before it seemed like such as task now it is a breeze.  This stand sets up on most size bowls allowing you to strain small or large amounts of juice.  It comes with two bags and replacement bags are available.  An excellent gift for the jelly maker in you life.

Pot Clip ~ Lee Valley  Just a handy little gadget that you can probably pick up at any kitchen store.

Two Piece Funnel ~ Lee Valley ~   This funnel comes with a second piece that adjusts the width of your opening…another handy little gadget.

Letter Stamps ~ The Dollar Store ~  We know a lot of you do your labels on the computer but (for those computer challenge individuals or those without a printer) another option is hand stamping them with these cool and inexpensive letter stamps.  They come in a wide variety of fonts and can be picked up for a looney (one dollar).  It is a little extra work but the finished result is worth it.

Kitchen Aid Immersion Blender ~ Canadian Tire ~  This hand-held Immersion Blender comes in both black and white.  It is a powerful handheld blender that takes the fuss out of mixing ingredients.  Easy clean up.

Colander ~ IKEA ~  This colander is great because it has adjustable stainless steel rubber coated arms that extend to hang over your sink and when these arms are not in use they just slide back in.  It is strong and can hold whatever you throw in it.  An inexpensive tool to have in the kitchen.  Well visiting IKEA, you should check out the stainless steel mixing bowls (they are relatively inexpensive and come in 4 or 5 different sizes…we use them for everything).

Now, it would seem that Santa has already been to our house and that there is nothing left we need…and we’d probably say that “you’re right”.   But, we would love to hear about the things that make your kitchen a better place to cook and can in!  What are some of your favorite kitchen gadgets, books, or anything else?  This year Santa needs all the help he can get!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2010 9:50 pm

    I can’t think of what gadgets I have right now, because all I can think is that I want that spice ball!!

  2. December 19, 2010 10:01 pm

    oooh, this is a great great post – not for the gift ideas for other people, but for my personal wish list! The book and the tomato press are going on my list. I love that it’s “Turnbull tested”.

    I can’t think of what gadgets I have either. Oh…maybe I could say my apple peeler – cheapy hand crank thing. I can’t even imagine how you’d peel, slice, seed lots of apples without it.

  3. December 20, 2010 1:34 am

    Oh you really must forget about that silly strainer bag and have your canning eyes opened to the delight of the steam juicer!! Google it “Steam Juicer”. Lovely, Lovely Lovely — You can make broth-delightfully clear and no straining needed from a lowly frozen whole chicken, you can strain 20 gallons of chokecherries effortlessly into the most beautiful clear juice you have ever seen – again no cheesecloth or straining — just over an hour on the stove and still use the pulp and seeds afterwards. Apples into apple juice, pear or peach or apple cores and peels into juice! Tomato sauce, Walla! Basically you put the washed fruit in the top basket- seeds, peels, stems and all — fill the bottom basket with water (to create the steam), and then turn the pot on! Wait one hour or two — making sure it doesn’t boil dry. And then — majically perfectly clear juice comes pouring out the hose on the side of the middle pot after unclamping. Magic, WALLA. That simple that easy — Beautiful! Two words — STEAM JUICER.

    • December 20, 2010 9:36 am

      Thanks for the suggestion! That looks like something I should add to my list. Which model or make do you have? I imagine it would need to be stainless steel to work with all of the tomatoes…but I see that it comes in aluminum as well. And, they vary in price from about $60-200.

  4. Karen permalink
    December 20, 2010 7:38 am

    Thanks for this great post… My Christmas wish list just got longer! Sur le Table sells the copper jam pan (fingers crossed it’s sitting under my tree come Saturday).

  5. debbie permalink
    December 20, 2010 11:53 am

    which dollar store do those stamps come from?

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