Put Up and Eat Up: Canning and Food Preservation

Posted on August 1, 2016

by Linda K

Ramping up your food production skills may help ramp up your dietary options as well. Why not learn more about preparation, drying, canning and preservation? It puts you in charge of what’s in your food and provides more choices regarding the types of foods you can try. Best of all, you will no longer be limited to a relationship with the long-distance-shipped, salt/sugar/simple carb/fat-packed “food grid” of modern society. Time and other constraints may keep you largely on the grid, but you can explore your options by developing new skills, especially in food preservation.

Canning and Preservation

The all new Ball book of canning and preserving : over 350 of the best canned, jammed, pickled, and preserved recipesThe most intimidating traditional skill – for me, anyway – is canning. Succeeding is impressive, but screwing up leaves the possibility of mortally sickening yourself and your loved ones, something that hardly ever happens when knitting or quilting. Luckily, there’s lots of help to make sure you’re doing it right. Choose canning books written after the mid 1990′s, when new guidelines on pressure vs. boiling water canning were announced. Ground zero for the latest scientific information on food preservation is the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia, so this is a great place to start for worrywarts. If you want to hone in on canning, another great government resource, USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning (2015 revision), might be your choice. For a fun, creative take on things, try Homemade Living: Canning & Preserving by Ashley English. It gives a rundown on useful basic equipment and handy side tools, as well as a primer on different types of canned foods, like chutney, marmalade, and curds. Looking for a newer book on the subject? Check out The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving, which is organized by technique. It covers water bath and pressure canning, pickling, fermenting, freezing, dehydrating, and smoking. Straightforward instructions and step-by-step photos ensure success for beginners, while practiced home canners will find more advanced methods and inspiring ingredient twists.

More Books on Canning and Preserving

The gentle art of preserving / Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi ; photography by Chris Terry Foolproof preserving : a guide to small batch jams, jellies, pickles, condiments, and more / by the editors at America's Test Kitchen
Canning and Preserving A Simple Food In A Jar Home Preserving Guide for All Seasons by Samantha Michaels
Weck small-batch preserving : year-round recipes for canning, fermenting, pickling, and more / Stephanie Thurow
Canning for a new generation : bold, fresh flavors for the modern pantry / Liana Krissoff ; photographs by Rinne Allen Better homes and gardens complete canning guide [eBook - OverDrive] : Freezing, Preserving, Drying / Better Homes and Gardens Preserving by the pint : quick seasonal canning for small spaces by Marisa McClellan Blue ribbon canning : award-winning recipes ; jams, preserves, pickles, sauces & more / Linda J. Amendt

Food Fermentation

Real food fermentation : preserving whole fresh food with live cultures in your home kitchen / Alex Lewin
Fermentation for Beginners The Step-by-Step Guide to Fermentation and Probiotic Foods by Drakes Press
The Art of fermentation : an in-depth exploration of essential concepts and processes from around the world / Sandor Ellix Katz ; foreword by Michael Pollan

Food Drying

Food drying with an attitude : a fun and fabulous guide to creating snacks, meals, and crafts / Mary T. BellI was intrigued by Food Drying with an Attitude. Drying is the oldest food preservation technique, and Mary T. Bell gets you back in touch with creating a lot of possibilities outside of dried fruit snacks: homemade jerkies with various meats, dried fruits that can be made into soups and jams, dried vegetables that can be powdered to create tasty flavoring ingredients for your cooked foods, camping foods, even pet snacks. Bell gives drying techniques and recipes, as well as recipes that use dried ingredients. It made me want to run out to buy a dehydrator.

If you REALLY want to step off the grid, check out The Solar Food Dryer by Eben Fodor, part of a series of books by Mother Earth News. Solar drying (with a possible electrical backup) is a preservation technique that uses the least amount of manufactured energy. The book doesn’t go deep into drying techniques or recipes, but gives several detailed plans for building your own solar drier (even tips on how to make one from recycled materials), and explaining the principles of how they work in various climates.

More Books on Food Drying

The Beginner's Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods : Preserve Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, and Meat with a Dehydrator, a Kitchen Oven, or the Sun / Teresa Marrone The ultimate dehydrator cookbook : [the complete guide to drying food, plus 398 recipes, including making jerkey, fruit leathers, and just-add-water meals] / Tammy Gangloff, Steven Gangloff & September Ferguson The complete idiot's guide to dehydrating foods by Jeanette Hurt The Complete Guide to Drying Foods at Home Everything You Need to Know About Preparing, Storing, and Consuming Dried Foods by Terri Paajanen

Food Storage

I can't believe it's food storage : a simple step-by-step plan for using food storage to create delicious meals / Crystal GodfreyAnother concept in stepping off the grid is food storage–storing up food for a predetermined amount of time, like a few months or a year. In the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons), it’s part of their belief in self-sufficiency. The problem is, as Crystal Godfrey notes in I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage, putting up lots of dried milk, eggs, wheat and other long-term food that you don’t use in your everyday life leads you to dread the concept rather than embrace it. She points out that you already use these products daily if you use ready-made baking and cooking mixes, so why not make your own cheaper and to your own taste? You can take or leave the Mormon theology and still get lots of good takeaway ideas for running a household, like the “magic mix” that instantly creates white sauce for soups and side dishes and keeps for months in your fridge, or a way of creating a workable substitute for expensive sweetened condensed milk for baked goods. Godfrey includes lots of recipes and practical tips for easing into using dried foods. And while you may not have a church store to buy from, the Internet has made purchasing shelf stable food easier than it used to be, when the book was published.

Closer to home, the Lucas County OSU Extension Service will answer your food preservation questions at 419-213-4254 (Mon-Fri, 9-4:30 PM), or the OSU Food Safety Hotline will do the same at 1-800-725-2751 (Mon-Fri, 9-5 PM).

More Books on Food Storage

Store this, not that! : the quick and easy food storage guide / Crystal Godfrey and Debbie Kent The Good Pantry: Homemade foods & mixes lower in sugar, salt & fat - Cooking Light Grow cook eat : a food lover's guide to kitchen gardening, including 50 recipes, plus harvesting and storage tips by Willi Galloway Independence Days: a guide to sustainable food storage & preservation by Sharon Astyk
Looking for more books on food preservation?

Search our catalog using the following subject terms:

  • Canning and Preserving
  • Food — Preservation
  • Food – Drying
  • Dried Foods
  • Fermentation
  • Fermented Foods
  • Food — Storage
  • Fruit — Preservation
  • Vegetables — Preservation

Featured Image Credit: Foodlander (flickr, Creative Commons license).

Did you like this blog post? Keep up to date with all of our posts by subscribing to the Library’s newsletters!

Keep your reading list updated with our book lists. Our staff love to read and they’ll give you the scoop on new tv-series inspired titles, hobbies, educational resources, pop culture, current events, and more!

Looking for more great titles? Get personalized recommendations from our librarians with this simple form.