July 21, 2007

More for those who buy in bulk: canning, freezing and drying

Filed under: Cookbooks — Diane @ 12:41 pm

Okay, so technically this isn’t a cookbook. But it’s darned useful to anybody who buys food in bulk or who wants to preserve the summertime goodness of fresh produce or save money by stocking up on a great meat sale.

Putting Food By by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg and Beatrice Vaughan is an astoundingly complete reference book on how to best preserve pretty much any kind of food you can think of.

There are directions on canning, freezing, drying, pickling, curing — basically any kind of food preservation technique you can think of. Even making jams, jellies and preserves. The book offers specific hints and tips for every type of food, including what methods work best, and which to avoid for each food.

I remember when I was a kid, we’d go to my grandparents’ farm and pick fresh blackberries. My mom would spend a couple of days after that making blackberry jam and jelly, baking blackberry cobblers to freeze and otherwise making sure we’d be able to enjoy those that great blackberry flavor year round.

In fact, “putting food by” is pretty much a way of life for my mom. I have never lived in a house without a big ol’ freezer on the back porch, in the basement or in the garage (we’ve got a 13 cu.ft. model in the garage now, as it happens). I’ve experimented with drying and freezing. Never tried canning, although I remember my mom lifting racks of jars of fruits or veggies out of a steaming bath of boiling water. My mom is a whiz at putting food by.

But ya know, I can’t call my mom for food preservation advice every time there’s a good sale on something. This excellent book is like having my mom standing right there, telling me everything I need to know. It’s divided up into chapters for each type of preservation and each type of food, so it’s really easy to find the best method for the kind of food you want to preserve.

So, now you can shop at the warehouse club, take advantage of sales and stock up at the local farm stand or farmer’s market… and feed your family foods free of preservatives, with no artificial flavors or colors, and great fresh flavor — year round.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I just have this feeling that it has to be healthier for us to avoid all those additives and artificial ingredients. And I love the idea that I can give my family higher quality food, save money and not sacrifice convenience, all at the same time.

You really owe it to yourself to check this book out!

— Diane

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