Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Preserving the Harvest

A dear friend has asked for recipes for preserving. I am happy to oblige by sharing my favorite books. (These are linked to Amazon so you can get a good feel for them, but I encourage you to support your local library/independent bookseller/used bookstore.)

My "bible" (somewhat literally, since the growing and preparing of food is definitely a spiritual practice for me) is Preserving Summer's Bounty by Rodale Press, the same folks that pioneered organic gardening before "organic" was commodified by corporations and codified by the USDA. This book has everything you need to know on canning, freezing, drying, and juicing pretty much every variety of fruit or vegetable, and it has a section on herbs as well.

There's another cool book published by Chelsea Green called Keeping Food Fresh. Actually, it has a different title on the website, but I'm pretty sure it's an updated version of the same book I have. This book has techniques for preserving foods without freezing or canning, by using salt, oil, lactic fermentation, and other methods. I haven't made as much from this one, but the recipes I have used are great, leading to some great pickled veggies for summer potato salad! Many of them are from traditional European methods.

Another favorite, which I found in a used bookstore, is Putting It Up with Honey. I prefer to use local honey whenever possible, rather than sugar which is mostly imported from faraway locations.

And I gotta tell you, I love Mary Jane's farm...her Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook, for the Farmgirl in All of Us (don'tcha love that title?) is just that...chapters on preserving, cooking, needlework, and more. It's chock full of ideas!

Now go to your garden/farmers market/u-pick place closest to you, and get busy!

2 comments:

Melissa said...

I am a preserving beginner. I have done it once or twice with others but never by myself.

MOBarger said...

Here are some other essentials:
The Blue Book
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0972753702/

Stocking Up http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671693956

And Preserviing the harvest
http://www.amazon.com/Big-Book-Preserving-Harvest-Vegetables/dp/1580174582/