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Cherries Are the Bomb

Cherries! Early summer's best drupe is finally in season, and there are just oh so many things to do with them. Grab a bushel or 10 while they're abundant, and tuck into these DIY projects, from jam to sauces to drinks and more.

Cherry Pitters: The Right Tool for the Job
Cherry Pitters: The Right Tool for the Job
First things first: There's a wide variety of tools to pit cherries, from the Cadillac model to the humblest DIY tricks. Here's a few options.
Cherry Jam
Cherry Jam
Jam up those cherries for a sweet spread that tastes of summer all year long. (Image via Shockingly Delicious)
Cherry Preserves
Cherry Preserves
Preserve whole or chunked fruit for more texture, perfect for desserts. (Image via Kitchen Apparel)
Cherry Pie Filling
Cherry Pie Filling
Can your own sweet cherries for those holiday pies and treats. (Image via Delectable Musings)

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Cherry Pitters: The Right Tool for the Job

cherrypitters

 

Ah, the cherry pitter. That oft-neglected kitchen gadget that takes up room in your already full kitchen drawer. But if you are a canner and faced with 20 pounds of cherries that need to be pitted in a hurry, this little gadget can be your best friend.

Like most kitchen gadgets, there are plenty of styles across a broad price range. Which one is right for you is really a matter of personal preference, but here are a few choices to get you pointed in the right direction if you are considering a purchase.

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What Are You Smoking?

Fire up the grill and bust out the wood chips. Summer is smokin' hot, and we've got a variety of hot smoking projects for your Smokey Joe. What are you smoking?

DIY Hot Smoker, found on punkdomestics.com
DIY Hot Smoker
You can turn that charcoal grill you probably already have into an effective hot smoker. Here's a few tips. (Image via Well Hung Food)
Bacon, found on punkdomestics.com
Bacon!
Everything is better with bacon, and making your own is surprisingly easy. Go with the traditional, or branch out with variations like French ventreche, Sichuan spiced, or made with wild boar or lamb belly. (Image via Eat Live Travel Write)
Smoked Ham, found on punkdomestics.com
Smoked Ham
Brine up a leg and then smoke it low and slow for a tender, flavorful ham. (Image via And Here We Are...)
Canadian Bacon, found on punkdomestics.com
Canadian Bacon
Or go for the loin to make the classic Canadian bacon, more like ham than its American counterpart.  (Image via Smoke Cure Pickle Brew)

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16 Ways to Put Up Strawberries

Strawberries! Everybody's favorite bright red berry is finally in season, and there are just oh so many things to do with them. Grab a flat or 10 while they're abundant, and tuck into these DIY projects, from jam to sauces to drinks and more.

Strawberry Jam
Strawberry Jam
Kick up the jam with fresh, ripe strawberries, straight up or paired with vanilla, herbs or its best friend, rhubarb. (Image: Sean Timberlake via Cooking Channel)
Strawberry Freezer Jam
Strawberry Freezer Jam
Making freezer jam never cooks the strawberries so you get the most fresh tasting strawberry jam ever. And it's easy, to boot. (Image via Tikkido)

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Eggs Come First

The ultimate symbol of spring, eggs are the harbinger of spring and renewed life. Think beyond the breakfast plate, and use eggs in these interesting and creative DIY ways.

Mayonnaise, found on PunkDomestics.com
Backyard Chickens
For the best eggs, nothing beats freshly laid. You don't need a farm; chickens can be kept in urban and suburban homes.
Mayonnaise, found on PunkDomestics.com
Mayonnaise
The creamy white stuff in the jar is a pale imitation to the real mayonnaise, an emulsion of eggs, oil, and vinegar. Simple yet elegant, it dresses up everything from fries to spring vegetables.
Curd, found on PunkDomestics.com
Curd
Curd is the word! Eggs, butter, and acidic fruit come together in a magically indulgent spread.
Pickled Eggs, found on PunkDomestics.com
Pickled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs take on flavor and color when immersed in brine. Try it in beet brine for brilliant pink eggs.

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We Heart Beets

Jewels from the ground, beets delight with their earthy sweetness. Whether you like ruby red, golden, or candy-stripe Chioggia, here's a bunch of ways to put up these gemlike roots.

Pickled Beets, found on PunkDomestics.com
Pickled Beets
Sliced or chunked beets pickled in a sweet brine enhances their natural flavor. Delicious as part of a cheese plate, or with salads. (Image via San Diego Foodstuff)
Beet Pickled Eggs, found on PunkDomestics.com
Beet Pickled Eggs
Don't chuck that brine! Use it to pickle hard-boiled eggs for a colorful, and very delicious, treat. (Image via This American Bite)
Kabees el-Lift, found on PunkDomestics.com
Kabees el-Lift
When fermented with turnip, they become a mustardy, pink pickle known as kabees el-lift, the classic condiment for shawerma. (Image via The Domestic Man)

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15 Ways to Preserve Lemons

Lovely lemons bring a ray of sunshine during the cold, dark winter months. If you're lucky enough to have a neighbor with a tree, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the bounty. (If you don't, be sure to order some fragrant meyers from Lemon Ladies here in the Bay Area, trust.) Here's a bushel of ways to put the lemons by. 

Lemon Marmalade
Lemon Marmalade
Harness the bittersweet flavor of lemon rind and turn it into a sunny yellow marmalade, sure to brighten your morning muffin. But first, make sure you know how to slice citrus for marmalade, for the best results. (Image via Life Currents)
Lemon Jam
Lemon Jam
Lemon pairs nicely with plenty of other flavors in homemade jams: kiwi, red peppers and even onions and oregano. (Image via Autumn Makes and Does)

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Orange You Glad We Have So Many Ways to Preserve Oranges?

In the dead of winter, no fruit brings a beam of sunshine better than the bright sweetness of oranges. Whether you're working with bitter Sevilles, sanguine blood oranges or sweet-tart cara caras, we've got a bushel of ideas on putting up everyone's favorite citrus.

Orange Marmalade
Orange Marmalade
Sevilles are great, but orange marmalade can also be made with blood oranges, cara caras and others. But first, make sure you know how to slice citrus for marmalade, for the best results. (Image via Local Kitchen)
Orange Jam
Orange Jam
If you don't like the orange's bitter rind, use the flesh for a sweeter jam. Warming spices or bourbon and vanilla kick it up a notch or two. (Image via Sunchowder)

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Preserving Mushrooms

Winter rains have come to the West Coast, bringing wild mushrooms aplenty. Even if you don't have access to wild, mushrooms are delicious year 'round, and are ripe for putting up.

Foraging mushrooms, found on Punk Domestics
Foraging Mushrooms
Finding wild mushrooms can be fun and delicious. Just be very sure you have an experienced forager with you, since some varieties are downright deadly. (Image via Eat Simply, Eat Well)
Pickled Mushrooms, found on Punk Domestics
Pickled Mushrooms
Mushrooms are naturally porous, making them excellent candidates for pickling. Whether you're fermenting or vinegar-brining, they act like sponges and soak up all the good stuff. (Image via Hank Shaw)
Funghi sott'olio
Funghi Sott'olio
Mushrooms preserved in oil (known as sott'olio) are a classic Italian delicacy. The technique lends them a richer flavor. (Image via Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti)

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Marmalade: Beyond Orange

Citrus is in, and nothing captures the essence of these sunny fruits like marmalade, whether you're making the classic orange or dabbling in other citrus.

How to Cut Citrus for Marmalade
How to Cut Citrus for Marmalade
First things first: How you cut your citrus can make a big difference in the final product when making marmalade. Here's how to make perfectly uniform cuts.
Orange Marmalade
Orange Marmalade
Sevilles are great, but orange marmalade can also be made with blood oranges, cara caras and others. (Image via Local Kitchen)
Lemon Marmalade
Lemon Marmalade
Sweet and fragrant meyer lemons are a great fit here. (If you don't get local meyers, be sure to order some from Lemon Ladies here in the Bay Area.) But all lemons marm up a treat. (Image via Hitchhiking to Heaven)

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