How to Use a Steam Juicer

How to Use a Steam Juicer -

For the last 23 years, I preserved small to average sized crops because I grow much of my food on just 1/10th of an acre.

Oh sure – occasionally, I would get a bumper crop of fruit from a friend, etc. But for the most part, I didn’t have mass amounts of fruit at any given time.

All that changed 2 years ago.

Now that my family is working to restore an old 14 acre-farmstead (with over 60 heirloom fruit trees), my style of canning has gone into overdrive.

I still put up my small batches of produce from my own backyard. But when I am at the farmstead, I am doing large-scale canning.

Which brings me to my new favorite tool – a steam juicer.

I never felt I needed a steam juicer before because I considered them best for mass quantities of fruit. But after buying two (one for home and one for the farmstead), I now realize I should have bought one years ago.

A steam juicer is a great way to juice large OR small crops of produce (like berries, plums, peaches, apples, grapes and even tomatoes), which can later be used in juice, jelly, liqueur, or even wine. Here’s how they work…

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New Smooth-Sided Canning Jars

New Smooth Canning Jar -

I don’t know about you, but I hate how most canning jars make it impossible to easily label the side of the jar.

There are so many bumps, logos and designs that no smooth surface is left for a label – especially if you want to use a large one.

And I like to write on my jars with ink paint. Well, you can’t do that when it is covered with designs. (More on how to do that below.)

Sure, I can use a Weck jar, but they are too expensive to use in mass quantities. And yes there are a few other options out there that I am compare testing out now. (Results to come.)

But, one new jar has my attention already.

With 3/4 of the jar clean of logos and writing, you can label it any way you like.

Here is my review, plus a giveaway!

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Kraut Source Fermentation Tool -

Turning Mason Jars into Fermentation Crocks

Fermentation is not only a great way to preserve food. It is also a great way to add nutrition and probiotics to your diet.

Well last week, making small batch ferments just got easier.

You see, two friends decided to join forces and create a new fermentation tool. They set up a kickstarter campaign to help fund the building of it.

But what happened next went beyond their wildest dreams.

Surprisingly…They didn’t raise the $35,000 they were asking for.


They raised over $184,000 and started a huge buzz among the fermentation community.

Here’s the story…

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New Canning Lid Procedures -

Recently, Jarden, (the company that manufactures all Ball Canning Jars and lids), very casually mentioned that they completely changed the recommendations when using their canning jar lids.

No explanation was given for this change.

So, I called them up to get the scoop.

Below it is the latest information…

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Free Fruit Sources for Canning -

Although I try to pack a lot into my backyard, I have extremely limited space for growing produce.

On just 1/10th of an acre, I have 5 apple trees espaliered around the perimeter, 5 citrus trees in pots and enough vegetables, herbs and berries to keep us happy most of the year.

But I wouldn’t exactly say I get bushels of excess produce from my postage-stamp-sized homestead on a regular basis. From this space, we mostly eat the food fresh and I do some small batch canning projects and freezing.

Although I am also lucky enough to be able to preserve produce at our family’s 1892 farmstead, that is a very recent addition. Prior to that, I had to find extra produce for canning from different sources. And I still do!

There are several places you can look for wholesome, delicious produce that is either cheap or completely free. Here’s my list of where to look…

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Adjusting Canning Time for Altitude -

I live one mile from the beach in Southern California. When I water bath can at home, I’m at sea level. So, I just follow the recipe and I’m good to go.

But when I can at my family’s 1892 Farmstead (which is at 2,400 ft), I have to make adjustments to my processing times because I am canning at a higher altitude.

The idea of making adjustments can confuse newbie canners, especially since many recipes assume the canner just knows how to do this. Unfortunately, it is not always spelled out.

Even if you are an experienced canner, it helps to understand the “why” when it comes to altitude adjustments.

So in today’s post, I explain why altitude makes a difference in your water bath processing time and how to adjust for it.

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9 Stunning Plants That You Can Eat -

I grow and preserve a lot of my own food because I

  • Want fresh homegrown flavor
  • Enjoy access to unusual produce not found in the grocery story
  • Love gardening.

The last item is key for this post. As a gardener, I have a desire for my food garden to be pretty and productive.

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Using Vintage Canning Recipes -

Family History Through Food:

I have always loved shopping estate sales because it is a treasure hunt and you never know what you will find. But I also walk away from most of them feeling a little sad. Many times there are what I consider “family heirlooms” sitting forlornly in a pile with a $3 price tag attached.

Perhaps there are no heirs for these family treasures to be passed on to. Most times however, I think the surviving family members just don’t see the value in the pieces their relative held so dear.

I like to think that some of those treasures (such as family garden photos, hand written recipe books, or even a well worn china cup) will find new life in my home and will be valued again.

Recently, I discovered a stack of hand written canning recipes tucked inside a box I was purchasing at an estate sale. The family didn’t want them and said they were going to throw out the recipes with box.

I actually knew the woman who wrote these recipes. She had been a neighbor who kept mostly to herself.

But now, I feel as if I know her all over again because I see she had an affinity for tomato marmalade and canned pears.

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Homemade Liqueurs -

I don’t do a lot of giveaways on LivingHomegrown. The only time I offer a giveaway of any kind is when I’m really personally excited about something and I just want to share it.

Such is the case with today’s book review and giveaway.

I did not get this book for free (I bought it with my own hard-earned cash birthday money). And after reading it, I loved it so much that I bought a second copy to give away to one lucky winner here. The publisher doesn’t have anything to do with this and I don’t even know the author. I just think the book is that good.

Sounds good right? It is. Keep reading for more…

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Unusual trellises for gardens -

Whether you’re an avid vegetable gardener or giving it a try for the first time this season, there comes a time when your garden can feel like it is taking over the neighborhood. That’s when you have to look seriously at:

Growing UP instead of out

I cherish every inch of my own yard space because…well, I have to! I only have 1/10th of an acre here. So growing UP makes sense for me in a big way.

Growing UP is all about using the airspace above the soil as opposed to letting wandering, vining vegetables have their way with what can be precious (and often limited) real estate. All you need is a trellis – or support – for your wandering veggies.

But what makes a good trellis for vegetables?

Before you grab your keys and head for the nearest big box store, let’s toss around some interesting ideas and think outside the box store. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

Creating trellis structures out of unusual things can be:

  • Free (at the top of my important list)
  • Eco-friendly (that item just dodged the landfill)
  • Beautiful (the most unexpected bonus)

Where do you find these unusual trellises?

Oh let me count the ways…

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