PRESERVING IS BACK, AND IT'S BETTER THAN EVER. Flavors are brighter, batch sizes are more flexible, and modern methods make the process safer and easier. Eating locally is on everybodys mind, and nothing is more local than Heirloom Salsa made from vine-fresh tomatoes or a quick batch of Ice-Box Berry Jam saved from the seasons last berries.Read more...
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PRESERVING IS BACK, AND IT'S BETTER THAN EVER. Flavors are brighter, batch sizes are more flexible, and modern methods make the process safer and easier. Eating locally is on everybodys mind, and nothing is more local than Heirloom Salsa made from vine-fresh tomatoes or a quick batch of Ice-Box Berry Jam saved from the seasons last berries. Even beginners who never made peach jam or dill pickles in their grandmothers kitchens are eager to pick up preserving skills as a way to save money, extend the local harvest, and control the quality of preserved ingredients.
The step-by-step instructions in "Put 'em Up "will have the most timid beginners filling their pantries and freezers with the preserved goodness of summer in no time. An extensive Techniques section includes complete how-to for every kind of preserving: refrigerating and freezing, air- and oven-drying, cold- and hot-pack canning, and pickling. And with recipe yields as small as a few pints or as large as several gallons, readers can easily choose recipes that work for the amount of produce and time at hand.
Real food advocate Sherri Brooks Vinton offers recipes with exciting flavor combinations to please contemporary palates and put preserved fruits and vegetables on dinner-party menus everywhere. Pickled Asparagus and Wasabi Beans are delicious additions to holiday relish trays; Sweet Pepper Marmalade perks up cool-weather roasts; and Berry Bourbon is an unexpected base for a warming cocktail.
The best versions of tried-and-true favorites are all here too. Bushels of fresh-picked apples are easily turned into applesauce, dried fruit rings, jelly, butter, or even brandy. Falling-off-the-vine tomatoes can be frozen whole, oven dried, canned, or made into a tangy marinara. Options for pickling cucumbers range from Bread and Butter Chips and Dill Spears to Asian Ice-Box Pickles. Something delicious for every pantry
Pickled Asparagus Wasabi Beans Beet Relish
Berry Bourbon Grannys Chow-Chow Agua Fresca Cantaloupe Rum Asian Carrot Slaw Curried Cauliflower Drunken Cherries Cherry and Black Pepper Preserves Pickled Jalapenos Three-Chili Hot Sauce Preserved Lemons Candied Citrus Rind Oven-Dried Sweet Corn Bread and Butter Chips Pickled Fennel Figs in Honey Syrup Roasted Garlic Butter Grape Leather Dill Pesto with Feta Martini Onions Ginger and Peach Jam Dried Pear Chips Sugar Plums Pickled Ramps Classic Strawberry Jam Sweet Pepper Marmalade Salsa Verde Oven-Dried Tomatoes Pickled Watermelon Rind
Lifestyles: Going back to basics
In Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World, Mark Frauenfelder, editor in chief of Make magazine, advocates the expansion of DIY into a pragmatic philosophy. After years of working with hundreds of diverse do-it-yourselfers, the author realized his own life could use a little tinkering. Frustrated by the fast-paced, consumer-centric and increasingly virtual nature of his family’s lifestyle, Frauenfelder decided to devote a year to creating a richer, more meaningful life: “a life of engagement with the world.” Readers follow his progress through a fairly low-tech to-do list, including: raise chickens, build a tree house, keep bees, tutor his kids in math and science and turn the front lawn into a vegetable garden. In no rush merely to divulge results, the author details each step, however embarrassing or slow, and demonstrates that to be successful, DIYers must have “the courage to screw up.” The payoff is in the process as well as the product: Every glimmer of self-reliance earned from daring to modify one’s physical world is priceless.
“Preserving is hot,” declares Sherri Brooks Vinton, author of Put ’em Up! A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook. In this colorful, friendly book, Vinton shatters the notions that preserving foods is too complicated, or too old-fashioned, or too dangerous. New methods, flexible batch sizes and straightforward, illustrated recipes mean anyone can do it. With sections organized by produce item, readers can easily find which methods suit whatever they happen to have in hand: blanching; jams and jellies; vinegar pickles and fermented pickles; granita (a frozen dessert) and agua fresca (a fruity beverage); salsas, chutneys and relishes; or butters, sauces and ketchups. Just a few of the possibilities are oven-dried tomatoes, watermelon granita, roasted garlic, martini onions, basil pesto, pear butter and Charred Chili Salsa. In addition to being easy and delicious, preserving is a natural companion to the Slow Food and Eat Local movements, and a logical extension to DIY gardening. Home “put-up” also tastes better, costs less, is easy on the Earth—and preservesvenerable traditions as well as fresh produce.
TOP PICK FOR LIFESTYLES
The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms is, in every sense, a book that grounds the reader. With this book—and a helpful adult or two—to guide them, children of any age can practice more mindfully what already comes naturally to them: to see their world from the ground up, whether that means in a backyard or on a sidewalk, by a lake or a storm sewer, in a park or a parking lot. The author, Clare Walker Leslie (Keeping a Nature Journal), believes in “finding nature wherever you are” and that everyone can be a naturalist by simply paying attention. Her guide encourages this new way of seeing with questions, tips, exercises and creative prompts that can ground a child in the world at large, plus foster environmental literacy, responsible stewardship and a passion for nature. Of course, kids don’t really need to know these momentous goals: For them, exploration is its own reward, and success lies in every new thing noticed, recorded, pondered or named.