Next year have a plan for every piece of produce.
Do you plan what you are going to do with your garden produce ahead of time? Well, eat it of course, but what else? Sometimes I find myself with a box of peaches that I couldn’t pass up from the grocery store and think ” we couldn’t possibly need another jar. What will I do with them?” I need a food preservation planner to help me be efficient.
Do you have a plan for all the produce that is being planted in your garden? One idea is to contemplate recipes from your favorite canning and preserving books before you even plant one seed. Jes at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth has her food preservation for the year all neatly planned. She documents the recipes her family wants to try so they aren’t forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the harvest season.
It works like this. You know you’re growing beans this year. They are a family favorite, after all. How will you preserve them? Canning, drying, freezing and fermenting are all good options. Search through your recipes and make note of where you are going to find them again. Plan how any jars of beans you family will need until the next season.
Keeping a preservation planner makes it possible to learn from experience. As a very organized planner you can even record what recipes were used in the past and if you added or subtracted from the basic recipe.
Some people even keep more detail about all of the food that they will be preserving each year, making note of things like:
- How much you’re spending each week on store-bought food and where you’re spending it.
- How much you preserved of each item and when you ran out in the winter or spring.
- How many seed packets of each variety were planted and what you harvested.
You’ll get used to planning ahead for an entire year – from garden to garden, from season to season – in order to take advantage of every sale and garden bounty. Si sit down with your favorite canning books and become a food preservation planner. You’ll be glad you did.
Be sure to head on over to Jes’ post. She has created a fantastic Free food preservation planner as a download to share with us. I love how she has thought out of the box about growing produce in her garden. I strive to be as efficient!
What books do you use as you are planning? These are the preservation books that I have in my kitchen and highly recommend. I turn to these books every year as I am preserving the harvest.
There are affiliate links in this post. If you buy from these links, I get some gardening money (not enough for a tiller, but I’ll be able to buy more seeds!)
From the experts, the new bible in home preserving. Ball Home Canning Products are the gold standard in home preserving supplies, the trademark jars on display in stores every summer from coast to coast. Now the experts at Ball have written a book destined to become the “bible” of home preserving. As nutrition and food quality has become more important, home canning and preserving has certainly increased in popularity for the benefits it offers:
* Cooks gain control of the ingredients, including organic fruits and vegetables
* Preserving foods at their freshest point locks in nutrition
* The final product is free of chemical additives and preservatives
* Store-bought brands cannot match the wonderful flavor of homemade
* Only a few hours are needed to put up a batch of jam or relish
* Home preserves make a great personal gift any time of year
These 400 innovative and enticing recipes include everything from salsas and savory sauces to pickling, chutneys, relishes and of course, jams, jellies, and fruit spreads, such as:
* Mango-Raspberry Jam, Damson Plum Jam
* Crab Apple Jelly, Green Pepper Jelly
* Spiced Red Cabbage, Pickled Asparagus
* Roasted Red Pepper Spread, Tomatillo Salsa
* Brandied Apple Rings, Apricot-Date Chutney
The book includes comprehensive directions on safe canning and preserving methods plus lists of required equipment and utensils. Specific instructions for first-timers and handy tips for the experienced make the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving a valuable addition to any kitchen library.
Put ’em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton
With simple step-by-step instructions and 175 delicious recipes, Put ‘em Up will have even the timidest beginners filling their pantries and freezers in no time! You’ll find complete how-to information for every kind of preserving: refrigerating, freezing, air- and oven-drying, cold- and hot-pack canning, and pickling. Recipes range from the contemporary and daring — Wasabi Beans, Cherry and Black Pepper Preserves, Pickled Fennel, Figs in Honey Syrup, Sweet Pepper Marmalade, Berry Bourbon, Salsa Verde — to the very best versions of tried-and-true favorites, including applesauce and apple butter, dried tomatoes, marinara sauce, bread and butter pickles, classic strawberry jam, and much, much more.
The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest: 150 Recipes for Freezing, Canning, Drying and Pickling Fruits and Vegetables by Carole W Costenbader
Did you know that a cluttered garage works just as well as a root cellar for cool-drying? That even the experts use store-bought frozen juice concentrate from time to time? With more than 150 easy-to-follow recipes for jams, sauces, vinegar, chutneys, and more, you’ll enjoy a pantry stocked with the tastes of summer year-round.
The easiest and safest methods for making delectable preserves in small batches — all year long. “Takes the pressure off cooks who don’t have much time… but still want to savor the season’s bounty.”
-Chicago Tribune (Review of the prior edition) The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving takes the guesswork out of home preserving. Both beginners and pros can make the most of fresh fruits and vegetables when these are readily available and inexpensive. Because these recipes require a minimum of time and fuss, home cooks will enjoy creating the preserves almost as much as everyone will enjoy tasting them.
Included are both traditional and new recipes. Detailed instructions provide the safest and latest processing methods. Some recipes are suitable for microwaves. A brand new chapter features freezer preserving as an alternative to the traditional methods. The more than 300 enticing recipes include:
- Jams, jellies, and low-sugar spreads
- Conserves, butters, and curds
- Pickles, relishes, and chutneys
- Salsas, mustards, and marinades
- Flavored oils
- Dessert sauces, syrups, and liqueurs.
With delectable recipes and professional tips, The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving is the ideal guide for anyone who craves home-made preserves but doesn’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.
This is the first food preservation book I ever purchased. I use it every season as I’m planning our preserving. Nothing says “cozy” like a rustic kitchen strung with dried garlic and herbs, while jars of handmade jelly sit on the counter waiting to be slathered on freshly baked bread. Enjoy the bountiful produce picked straight from your backyard garden year-round with these simple yet satisfying home-preserving techniques.
From canning, drying, and pickling in autumn to curing and cold storage after the frost comes, you’ll soon be a master at outwitting nature’s growing rhythms.
The most comprehensive, up-to-date guide to harvesting, storing, preparing, and preserving foods of all kinds. For the self-sufficient farmer or the urban weekend gardener, the third edition of Stocking Up is an invaluable addition to any kitchen. With detailed illustrations and easy-to-follow directions, this encyclopedic resource makes “stocking up” easy.
- Freezing, canning, drying and preserving fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and poultry
- Harvesting nuts, seeds, sprouts, fruits, and vegetables
- Preparing pickles, relishes, jams, jellies, butters, cheeses, and breads.
With more than 300 recipes for preservable foods—from old standards like casseroles, fruit leather, and ice cream to new favorites such as sun-dried tomatoes, herb vinegars, and salt- and sugar-free versions of basic fare, Stocking Up covers everything for the home cook. Hundreds of charts and illustrations simplify preserving chores and choices for everyone interested in stocking up on wholesome, natural foods.
Drink the Harvest: Making and Preserving Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas, and Ciders by Nan K Chase & DeNeice C Guest
Preserving the harvest doesn’t have to stop with jam and pickles. Many fruits, vegetables, and herbs can be made into delicious beverages to enjoy fresh or preserve for later.
Drink the Harvest presents simple recipes accompanied by mouthwatering photographs for a variety of teas, syrups, ciders, wines, and kombuchas. DeNeice C. Guest and Nan K. Chase also provide advice for harvesting ingredients for maximum flavor and even creating your own backyard beverage garden. Pour a refreshing glass of Passionflower-Lemon Balm Wine and drink in the possibilities.
Read my book review here.
The Dehydrator Bible: Includes over 400 Recipes by Jennifer MacKenzie
A new update of the bestselling book in its field there are over 100,000 copies in print.
Whether grow-your-own, bought locally from a farmer’s market, or fresh from a regular supermarket, seasonality still affects the quality, abundance, and price of good food. It just makes sense to preserve food quality for those times when it’s not as plentiful or not available at all. Dehydrating food with this terrific book is easy and creates tasty food year-round.
Incorporating the age-old practices of food dehydration takes full advantage of what nature offers. All the wonderful recipes are still here and there is a bonus section on everything from pet treats to crafts and homemade gifts. What has changed is that the “Everything You Need to Know About Dehydrating Foods” section has been expanded to include even more comprehensive and complete information about dehydrating foods along with even more tips and techniques.
There are more than 150 recipes for dehydrating everything from herbs and seasonings to fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, plus more than 250 delicious recipes that actually use the dehydrated foods as ingredients. Putting home-preserved food to work for home, RV, boat or campsite has never been easier.
The easy-to-follow drying instructions along with time guidelines make even a novice cook feel like a seasoned professional.
Planting a few extra rows of tomatoes or beans, picking many strawberries at their peak or buying that big basket of freshly harvested carrots can really pay off later. Loading up the dehydrator will provide personally dried foods the whole year through.
Growing vegetables and raising livestock is only the beginning of a successful homestead — that fresh food goes to waste unless you can properly prepare, cook, and preserve it. Andrea Chesman shows you how to bridge the gap between field and table, covering everything from
- curing meats and making sausage,
- canning fruits and vegetables,
- milling flour,
- working with sourdough,
- baking no-knead bread,
- making braises and stews that can be adapted to different cuts of meat, rendering lard and tallow, pickling, making butter and cheese, making yogurt, blanching vegetables for the freezer, making jams and jellies, drying produce, and much more. You’ll learn all the techniques you need to get the most from homegrown foods, along with dozens of simple and delicious recipes, most of which can be adapted to use whatever you have available
- rendering lard and tallow,
- making butter and cheese,
- making yogurt,
- blanching vegetables for the freezer,
- making jams and jellies,
- drying produce, and much more.
You’ll learn all the techniques you need to get the most from homegrown foods, along with dozens of simple and delicious recipes, most of which can be adapted to use whatever you have available
Read my book review here
Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke, and Store Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Milk, and More (Countryman Know How) by Leda Meredith
It really is the ultimate guide to putting up food.
How many ways can you preserve a strawberry? You can freeze it, dry it, pickle it, or can it. Milk gets cultured, or fermented, and is preserved as cheese or yogurt. Fish can be smoked, salted, dehydrated, and preserved in oil. Pork becomes jerky. Cucumbers become pickles.
There is no end to the magic of food preservation, and in Preserving Everything, Leda Meredith leads readers―both newbies and old hands―in every sort of preservation technique imaginable.
Honorable Mention – The Organic Canner by Daisy Luther is now out of print. It has unique recipes and wisdom from a seasoned canner.
Your harvest may be in full swing but it’s not too late to plan. Use your favorite preservation books and the food preservation planner to be prepared for the harvest next year