Gwyneth Paltrow’s greatest joy is her backyard wood-burning oven, “A luxury, I know, but it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.”

We don’t always agree but this time I know just how Gwyneth feels! I too have a luxury that’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.  Although in my case it’s not an artisan crafted heritage organic stone oven hand handmade with sustainably harvested eco-certified rocks.

No, my little gloating pleasure is today’s canning TIP #1: You’ll never regret installing a pot filler over the stove.  Not only does it fill deep pots expeditiously, it swivels over the counter to fill tall vases and bowls and stuff. Plus with this glass-top stove I can give the surface a quick shot of H2O when a sticky boil over happens.

Worry not, the rest of these tips are $10 on down to FREE.

TIP #2 – A freebie! When you’re done with the boiling water bath take the pot outdoors and pour the boiling water on weeds in the driveway or along the walk. Kills them dead down to the roots with the added satisfaction of seeing the green leaves cook into a steamy shrivel.

Tip #3 – Dazzle everyone with this exotic Norpro carrot curler (@ $6.00) .  A wavy blade on the exterior of the cone scores ridges down the shaft and a pencil sharpener-type blade inside shaves paper-thin curls. Great for things like Good and Evil Carrot pickles and salads too. BTW that’s an organic purple carrot, undoubtedly one of Mrs. Chris Martin’s favorites.

Tip #4 – Most likely a freebie.  When adding tomato to a sauce a box grater is perfect for separating tomato skins from the pulp. Cut the tomato in half around the middle, then give each half a squeeze over the sink to shake out the seeds.  Place the cut side down on the large grate side and push with your palm to grate the flesh down to the skin.  If you don’t already own a box grater get one at a yard sale or thrift store.  They’re white elephants, harkening back to the time before food processors and Microplanes.

TIP #5 – Don’t you just hate lemon seeds? I do, and I’m sure Gwyneth does too only she probably calls them pips.  So please, no direct squeezes for us. This tiny strainer catches the seeds. Simply dump the seeds, rinse it under the faucet and your done. Get rid of the reamer!   This was $2 at Kam Man on Canal St. in Chinatown.

How in the world did we get to the limitless array of pricey polypropylene food storage bags that confront us today? Well, when a family tree is rooted by the evil-sounding-but-probably-nice-in-real-life Borge Madsen, inventor of the plastic zipper and Dow Chemicals, it’s an ill wind indeed that blows through the arbor.  We have them to thank for Ziploc and its complicated cousins, every generation increasingly high-tech and more expensive. Twist-tie plastic storage bags (TIP #6) are the most inexpensive and versatile storage solutions. Old school baggies are no brainers for extra shredded cabbage not used in that relish, the odd onion half, any stray bits and pieces of this and that.  Use them to enclose a small bowl or plate — easier than cling wrap.  No regrets when the bags are mere pennies apiece.

TIP #7Bigger is better when it comes to measuring cups. Pyrex makes an two quart glass measuring cup and Norpo offers a stainless steel two c. measuring cup, great for sugar and flour. The metal cup is $8 on Amazon, the glass one is $14. Yes that is more than $10 but so well worth it. While you’re at it make sure you have two sets of measuring spoons and plenty of rubber spatulas and wooden spoons in different sizes.  You’re welcome.

A corn cutter pays for itself in no time thanks to its efficiency and ease of use. TIP #8OXO’s corn peeler is dandy for cutting corn off the cob as seen here in this exclusive SpectacularlyD Youtube video.  Sharon Franke at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute has nice things to say about the Zyliss Corn Stripper which is about a buck less.  No word yet on what Apple and Moses’s mom uses.

If you hate it when you see something really cool in a magazine like House Beautiful or Elle Decor then see it was gotten at the Paris Flea Market, well you’ll just hate this.  TIP #9 – This Alvar Aaalto or “Aalto-esque” wood pot lid holder thingy was found in a little housewares shop in Berlin’s arty Brunnenstrasse neighborhood. It was inexpensive (@$4). This charming thingy holds a pot lid ajar so that it sits within the lip of the pot making condensation drip-overs a thing of the past. THIS JUST IN: Reader Shara Werestiuk send this link to the UK site Panik which ships to the USA!

I cannot find the Aalto lid thingy online — can you? Send a link to an online retailer of the Aalto pot lid holder and I will send you an OXO Good Grips Corn Peeler — a $9.99 value!  Post your links in the comments on this post — one cutter for the first three different e-tailers submitted.

TIP #10 –  If you’ve canned before chances are you already have the efficient wide-mouth funnel that comes with the Ball Utensil Set (currently on sale for $7.49). Upgrade now to this Progressive International Canning Funnel ($7.49). Designed to fit both wide-mouth and standard jars, the outer wall sits over the jar edge, keeping it clean and the design allows you to place it on the counter top with without having the mouth of the funnel touch ground, keeping it clean and sanitary.

What else? You tell me. Happy canning.

Share and Enjoy

Written by on September 1, 2012 under Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Relish.

To support this blog, Spectacularly Delicious is an Amazon and Google AdWords Affiliate.

Copyright 2014. Spectacularly Delicious and Sean Sullivan All rights reserved.