Sure, we all plan to plant. But how many of us plan to preserve?
For instance, when do you figure your supplies for your jars, bands, lids, freezer boxes and other preservation supplies? And what recipes do you use? Do you stick with the tried and true because it’s the last minute? After all, the harvest isn’t predicatable, right?
Well, that may be true. But this is the year you change, because Sherri Brooks Vinton has published Put ‘Em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook and Put ‘Em Up! Fruit: A Preserving Guide and Cookbook, two fantastic collections that share some great ways to dry, freeze, can and preserve your garden’s and orchard’s harvest.
Put ‘Em Up, published in 2010, is written in a friendly, approachable style. I love these chapter headings in Put ‘Em Up’s Getting Started section: Things That Will Get You Into Trouble and Things That Look Bad But Aren’t Dangerous. That’s perfect for me–I’m not exactly a beginner in the canning arena, but I’m far from a pro!
It’s almost like having a friend with you at the harvest and during the preserving process, showing you the best ways to keep your produce–and sharing recipes in which you can used those preserved items later on. Put ‘Em Up! Fruit, released in 2013 is similar in approach, but focuses entirely on fruit preservation techniques.
Clear instructions, photos and illustrations in both books show techniques to cope with almost everything you can grow or find at a farmer’s market. Both books are organized alphabetically, by type of produce or fruit.
Experienced canners and preservers will find the material useful–these books aren’t just aimed at first-timers. But the refreshing approach and gentle humor do help to make both books enjoyable.
The recipes themselves are distinctive, showing how locally-grown or home-grown ingredients can easily be manipulated into dishes that sound like they have just come from a big city restaurant menu: Chili Relish with Coriander, for instance, or Lemon Ginger Marmalade. These recipes are side by side with the tried and true: Dilly Beans, Corn Salsa, Cherry Leather.
Pick them up now. When you’re paging through the seed catalogs this winter, planning your armchair garden, you can have these two great books to hand, and start your “kitchen chair” preserving too.