Whether you garden or not, you have access to great food close to home. Visiting farmers’ markets, the farms themselves, or even the local grocery store can yield a quantity of delicious and healthy foods grown right here. But how to enjoy these foods as the growing season wanes? Preserving is the answer.
Most of us associate food preservation with a foreign and scary (come on, admit it) canning process that we know little or nothing about. But I can assure you that canning there is nothing to fear when armed with good information (and you have more options than canning).
You can find classes locally at Angelic Organics Learning Center, Bushel and Peck’s Local Market, or even groups of folks looking for others to learn with. If a group or a class isn’t your style, then look for resources online and in print.
The University of Illinois Extension has great resources and step-by-step instructions.
Great general preserving books that cover various types of preserving include the Blue Book of Preserving by Ball Home Canning Products, So Easy to Preserve by the Cooperative Extension at The University of Georgia, and The Busy Person’s Guide to Preserving Food by Janet Chadwick. A great new book is Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round by Marisa McClellan.
If you’d like to try your hand at fermenting, a good overview is Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. Do you have little space to store your preserved food? Then dehydrating is for you and you’ll want to check out Mary Bell’s Complete Dehydrator Cookbook. As a way to keep root vegetables and winter squashes, look to Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel.
With the growing popularity of preserving food, there are numerous resources if you seek them out.