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What's On Your Preservation Library Bookshelf?
Sun May 30, 2010 7:13 pmForum Host
"Ball Blue Book"
A must-have book if you want to can, freeze, make jam, applesauce, pickles, etc., whether you have an expensive pressure canner or a simple large pot. The recipes are simple and tested by generations. The instructions are clear and use standard kitchen supplies. There is also a nice section that explains how water bath canning works and how to do it right.
"Putting Food By" by Ruth Hertzberg, Beatrice Vaughan, and Janet Greene
This book takes you from knowing nothing to truly UNDERSTANDING not just how to preserve foods, but how each method works and the pros/cons of each method. Most of the information is on canning and freezing (including different packaging and wrapping techniques), but they also go into salting, smoking, drying, and root cellaring. They don't expect you to live as if it were the 1800's either. They incorporate the use of vacuum sealers and microwaves--and trying to preserve food in the confines of the modern home. Likewise, they will also explain how to create the old types of environments or something that will work just as well.
The authors also explain the best preservation method for the food (often right down to a variety of fruit or veggie, or cut of meat) and how the preservation method used will alter the food. They also tell you what the food will be best used for after preserving. For instance, if freezing cabbage means it will never be crisp again they warn you about this and tell you not to expect it to be used for salads. Things like that make a difference--especially if you didn't grow up in a household where these were items of common knowledge!
"The Joy of Pickling" by Linda Ziedrich
This book gives clear directions for making pickles from around the world, including many fermented or refrigerated ones. Her boiling water methods are very good and tend to rely on cider or wine vinegars rather than the harsher distilled white vinegar. The author also provides ideas for interesting variations.
"Stocking Up: The Third Edition of America's Classic Preserving Guide" by Carol Hupping and the staff of the Rodale Food Center
Both of these books cover all the basics: canning, drying, freezing, jams, pickles, juices — even meats, dairy, and grains. They make it easy to find how to handle specific fruits or vegetables with the basic techniques, as well as to find tasty recipes for more unusual preserves like chutneys and relishes. Both include recipes for how to use preserved foods as well. You might find them at your local used-book store, but both are popular enough to be found or ordered many places.
"Canning & Preserving without Sugar" by Norma M. MacRae
With diabetes running in many families, one might lean toward low-sugar jams and preserves when at all possible. For those who are dedicated to the notion that sugar-free canning is best, this unique book will serve as a valuable and timely guide. Canners of all types can enjoy the health benefits associated with a reduction in refined sugar intake. Whether you are on a restricted diet for diabetes or hypoglycemia or are simply concerned about good health through sensible nutrition, you will delight in the vast array of jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, and canned fruits and vegetables you can prepare without sugar or artificial sweeteners. Registered dietitian Norma MacRae provides all the important how-tos on the equipment, techniques, and ingredients you will need to ensure safe and successful canning.
"The Dehydrator Bible: Includes over 400 Recipes" by Jennifer MacKenzie
Dehydrating is one of the most effective ways to preserve food for maximum nutrition at very low cost. Sales of dehydrators are soaring as many cooks reject the suspect ingredients in commercially prepared foods. Dehydrating with the recipes in this book is one way to control all ingredients and please the whole family. Recipes for dried ingredients include herbs and seasonings, fruits, fruit leathers, vegetables and beef jerky.
"Making & Using Dried Foods" by Phyllis Hobson
It gives a straightforward look at individual fruits and vegetables, how to prepare them for drying, how to dry them in a dehydrator or the oven (or even outside), how to store them, and how to use them in recipes, including mixes for camping or hiking. It includes information on drying herbs, dairy, meats, grains, and leathers, too.
"Food Drying with an Attitude" by Mary T. Bell
This ultimate food drying resource has something for everyone: vegetarians, natural and raw food enthusiasts, hunters, fishermen, gourmet cooks, gardeners, farmers, hikers, and even fast food junkies. With more than thirty years of food drying experience, Mary T. Bell offers straightforward and practical instructions for drying everything from yogurt to sauerkraut to blue cheese, without ignoring traditional favorites such as jerky, mushrooms, and bananas. Throughout, Bell offers nutritional tips and highlights the time-, space-, and money-saving benefits of food dehydrating. Also included are descriptions of how various food dehydrators work to give readers a better understanding of the tools of the craft. Food Drying with Attitude gives readers the recipes, instructions, and inspiration they need to get the most out of their home food dehydrators.
"Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables" by Mike Bubel, Nancy Bubel
Root cellaring, as people may remember but only a few still practice, is a way of using the earth's naturally cool, stable temperature to store perishable fruits and vegetables. Root cellaring is a no-cost, simple, low-technology, energy-saving way to keep the harvest fresh all year long and need not be strictly a country concept. Though it's often thought of as an adjunct to a large garden, a root cellar can in fact considerably stretch the resources of a small garden, making it easy to grow late succession crops for storage instead of many rows for canning and freezing. Best of all, root cellars can easily fit anywhere. Not everyone can live in the country, but everyone can benefit from natural cold storage.
"Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning" by the gardeners and farmers of Terre Vivante
The book's subtitle says it all: "Traditional techniques using salt, oil, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, drying, cold storage, and lactic fermentation." Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern "kitchen gardeners" will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits. Yet here is a book that goes back to the future—celebrating traditional but little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles in ways that maximize flavor and nutrition. Translated into English, and with a new foreword by Deborah Madison, this book deliberately ignores freezing and high-temperature canning in favor of methods that are superior because they are less costly and more energy-efficient.
Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning offers more than 250 easy and enjoyable recipes featuring locally grown and minimally refined ingredients. It is an essential guide for those who seek healthy food for a healthy world.
"Smoking Food: A Beginner's Guide" By Chris Dubbs, Dave Heberle
In this book, the authors assure us that smoking is an art, not a science, and they fearlessly reveal that art's essentials--and how simple they can be. They explain how to choose the best fuels (you can use corncobs!), how to build smokers from old refrigerators and cardboard boxes, and, of course, how to smoke everything from turkeys to turtles. Their advice is as ingenious and cost-conscious as any given by Alton Brown. Aware of the needs and wants of the modern cook, they include low-sodium preparations, alternatives to preservatives like sodium nitrite, and thoughts on safely handling meat. With more than one hundred recipes and tips for making brines, marinades, cheeses, appetizers, soups, and main dishes, Smoking Food is an invaluable resource for the home smoker.
"Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods" by Sandor Ellix Katz
Fans of sauerkraut or other fermented foods must get this book. If you enjoy foraging for wild edibles, you'll be happy to know that many of the same food preservation techniques can be used for wild as well as cultivated foods. But for specific recipes, these are great foraging books:
"Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places" by "Wildman" Steve Brill, and
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places shows readers how to find and prepare more than five hundred different plants for nutrition and better health, including such common plants as mullein (a tea made from the leaves and flowers suppresses a cough), stinging nettle (steam the leaves and you have a tasty dish rich in iron), cattail (cooked stalks taste similar to corn and are rich in protein), and wild apricots (an infusion made with the leaves is good for stomach aches and disgestive disorders). More than 260 detailed line drawings help readers identify a wide range of plants -- many of which are suited for cooking by following the more than thirty recipes included in this book. There are literally hundreds of plants readily available underfoot waiting to be harvested and used either as food or as a potential therapeutic. This book is both a field guide to nature's bounty and a source of intriguing information about the plants that surround us.
"Abundantly Wild: Collecting And Cooking Wild Edibles Of The Upper Midwest" by Teresa Marrone.
The grocery isn't the only place to find a good meal. "Abundantly Wild: Collecting and Cooking Wild Edibles" is a guide to those in the Midwest to finding food in their natural surroundings, and how to harvest food to cook in their own home. Filled with nearly three hundred recipes using sixty-five different fruits and vegetables one can find naturally growing, "Abundantly Wild" also has chapters on the benefits of eating naturally growing foods and how processed foods can do more harm than good. A true do-it-yourself cooking guide, "Abundantly Wild" is a strong consideration for any concerned with health and budget.
"Making Liqueurs for Gifts" by Mimi Freid
This small pamphlet, a Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin, is available for download as a PDF (for $3.95, same price as Amazon.com's print version). Here's one exciting way to preserve fruit and to share the bounty of the season. Try the Ginger Pear Liqueur.
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