I come from a long line of canners and food preservers (well, at least I know my Mom made jam and my Grandmother canned loads of stuff from her prolific southern California vegetable garden), but most of what I learned has been self taught. By the time I got around to being interested in making jam and pickling beans and cucumbers, both these women were not around to ask and I used resources like the National Center for Home Food Preservation and more recently, fellow bloggers Sean at Punk Domestics and Marisa at Food in Jars, to fill in the gaps. Most of canning is about following directions and ensuring balance of proportions in the final product, and while there is certainly room for experimenting, food safety dictates a certain rule-following behavior.
Food writer Sherri Brooks Vinton is out with a new book this year, Put ’em Up! Fruit, a continuation of her 2010 book Put ’em Up! Both of these books are ideal for learning how to preserve food, including canning, pickling, drying and freezing. With summer about to start, I was pleased to have the opportunity to review and host a book giveaway!
I spent the most time with Put ’em Up!, the original, and homed in on the chapter about carrots. Mariquita Farms offered a special bulk sale of Imperator Carrots and I ordered a 10 pound bag. A big batch of Chilled Carrot Cumin Soup with Lime used a bunch, and with the remaining I decided to tackle two of the pickles in Vinton’s book, Dilled Carrots and Spicy Carrots. Both recipes were easy to follow and did not require kitchen heroics, either with needed tools or special ingredients. And they turned out so pretty (have not tasted yet, will wait a couple weeks for the vinegar to do its thing).
Because time is short today and I am sure you are dying to get to the giveaway, let’s do a Pro/Con on these books:
Beautiful design and photos make these books fun to read
Books are divided by fruits and veggies, so all the carrot recipes are grouped together
Vinton provides handy follow on recipes, Use it Up!, using the preserved items, like Watermelon Martinis using Watermelon Aqua Fresca
I learned about new things, like Gastriques, Avoiding Siphoning and making Limoncello in a 5-gallon glass jar (who has one of those?)
Good thing these book is fun to read, because there is so much content in here that is not indexed that you will need to sit down and read it cover to cover. Tips are hidden in amongst the recipes and you may find it best to keep a stack of post-its while reading. The illustrations in the first book and photographs in the second book help immensely with comprehension of tricky topics.
Perhaps too many kinds of preserving are covered, might have been easiest to stick with canning and pickling.
Would be nice if the books were spiral-bound so they would lay flat while cooking.
Oh, who am I kidding, I am digging for Cons, these books are both great and are a must for anyone interested in developing their food preservation skills!
NOW, THE CONTEST!
There is a copy of each of these books with your name all over it, and here is what you need to do to have a chance to win:
1. Leave a comment below answering this question: What is one tip you would pass onto friends about canning? (Mine? Only can the stuff you actually eat. It is amazing how you can get caught up in a great sounding recipe, only to realize you don’t eat that item. Like me and Peach Jam. Not BFFs)
Small print: One entry per person. Be sure to include your email address (which is not visible on the blog) so that I can contact you if you win. Sweepstakes runs from May 22-25 at 12midnight, winner announced on Sunday, May 26. Winners have 48 hours to respond before the next winner is announced. Winners will be selected using Random.org, a random number generator, from all the qualified entries. Open to residents of the United States only.
Disclosure: I contacted Storey Publishing about partnering together on my 5th Blogaversary giveaway extravaganza. They sent me review copies of these two books. All opinions are my own.
The contest is now closed, thank you to all of you who stopped by and submitted your own canning tips!
The winner of the contest is:
Congratulations to Tammy G for suggesting we keep an open mind when canning and preserving, pointing out that so many things can be canned and preserved!