The Home Canning Renaissance

With the full-on media blitz about the recession, the renaissance of home canning has gotten some press, and while it’s a bit late for us on the Gulf Coast to take advantage of summer’s bounty, this could prove useful for fall’s harvest or next year.

In the New York Times, Preserving Time in a Bottle (or a Jar) takes a look at the values motivating home canning, thriftiness included.

Preserving food cannot be considered new and trendy, no matter how vigorously it’s rubbed with organic rosemary sprigs. But the recent revival of attention to it fits neatly into the modern renaissance of handcrafted food, heirloom agriculture, and using food in its season. Like baking bread or making a slow-cooked tomato sauce, preserving offers primal satisfactions and practical results. And in today’s swirl of food issues (local, seasonal, organic, industrial), home preserving can also be viewed as a quasi-political act. “Preserving is an extension of the values that made you shop in the farmers’ market in the first place,” Ms. Bone said.

The article contains references to other web sites and books, including a related article at the Times, Some Canning Dos and Don’ts, which includes a slideshow of Canning, Step by Step (the example is asparagus).

You can find similar information at epicurious, which provides a useful illustrated guide covering recipes, basics, equipment, and techniques.

This brief link roundup at Culinate offers some additional sites.

REFERENCES PROVIDED BY THE ABOVE PIECES:

Books

The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judy Kingry and Lauren Devine

The Complete Book of Year-Round Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp

Preserving the Taste by Edon Waycott (out of print; search for this at your library)

Putting Food By by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg and Beatrice Vaughan

Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone

the books of Linda Ziedrich

Web Sites

Food in Jars, a blog about preserving food by Marissa McClellan, which includes a good resource page

How to Dry Food at Mother Earth News

The Jarden Company (maker of both Ball and Kerr jars)

The National Center for Home Food Preservation

Pick Your Own

I can remember my grandmother making endless jars of strawberry preserves when I was a child, but I never felt the need to try my own hand, partly because I’ve never had a garden that produced excess amounts of anything; what we grow, we eat. I’d had it in mind as a project for this year, but cancer treatment made me scale back on a lot of things, so we tried only quick cucumber pickles. I tried dill and sweet and sour – and it was been fun and rewarding. The last batch of dill (better than the earlier ones) was appreciated by all three of us, who are fans of the crisp refrigerated pickle spear.

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