Calgarians are embracing the adage to eat local by returning to their roots, and planting both individual backyard gardens and community gardens with gusto. The next logical step, once you have all that fresh produce, is to spend some time in the kitchen preserving the fruits of your harvest for the winter ahead.
What’s the first thing you think of when I say “canning, pickling and drying”? According to author Sherri Brooks Vinton, the first two reactions are usually a fear of hard work and a fear of killing someone. In her new book, Put ‘em Up! A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Picking, Vinton writes:
“Why on earth would you do that?” That’s what people want to know when they see me moving through the hardware store balancing five cases of Mason jars on my way to the cash register. It’s often followed by “Aren’t you afraid you’ll kill someone?” I guess these questions pretty much sum up the most widely held beliefs about home food preservation: 1) that it’s hugely time-consuming and not worth the effort, and 2) that it’s mysterious, difficult, and wickedly dangerous. Well, I say, not true and not true. Home food preservation is simple and delicious, and no one was harmed in the marking of this book.”
Put ‘em up! Is an entertaining, colourful, and informative book with instructions on how to preserve everything from apples to zucchini, along with mouth-watering recipes. She does make preserving food sound easy. Beet Relish? No problem! Dilly Beans? I could make them in my sleep! If I could just get off the couch…