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Pickling & Preserving

Top 5 Gifts for Food Preservationists

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Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 6:15 AM

click to enlarge BALL, CORP.
  • Ball, Corp.
With the establishment the Master Food Preserver program here in L.A. earlier this year, chances are there are a few budding, or even master, food preservers on your shopping list. And it might be tempting to go out and get them a Ball canning kit and call it a day.

That's about as thoughtful as giving a pastry chef some random cake decorating kit. Sure the genre's right, but don't be surprised if the response is tepid gratitude. If they're already canning, they already have those tools, and probably much nicer ones. You can do better. Much better. And we're here to help.

click to enlarge THERMOWORKS
  • Thermoworks
5. Thermapen: This was one of the hottest items at a recent Master Food Preserver silent auction, and with good reason. The gel point in jams and jellies can be an elusive beast. But not when instantaneous accuracy is at your fingertips. Reaching the magical 220°F is much less painful, easier on the eyes, and involves way less clean up than the standard, bulky candy thermometer. Plate test, schmate test. Trust us, they will love it.

click to enlarge 15 1.2 quart version.  Good for smaller kitchens. - ALL AMERICAN
  • All American
  • 15 1.2 quart version. Good for smaller kitchens.
4. All American Pressure Canner: Pressure canners are essential for safely canning low-acid foods like chili, salsa, soups, stock, and vegetables. Not a pressure cooker. There's a huge difference between a gaugeless pressure cooker and a well-calibrated pressure canner. And no one has been making them longer than the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry. The All American Pressure Canner has been their primary consumer product since 1930, and the design hasn't changed much since.

click to enlarge FELICIA FRIESEMA
  • Felicia Friesema
3. Farmer's Kitchen Fermentation Jars: Master Food Preserver and executive chef Ernest Miller constructs these himself. The advantage? His design, based on the beer fermentation buckets he uses to make sauerkraut, uses an air-lock system that eliminates yeast growth - a potential spoiler in the fermentation process. There are several models to choose from, but we're really fond of the converted Le Parfait bale jars, making countertop fermentation as beautiful as it is functional.

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