I’ve been wanting to post about “putting up”, or preserving for a while now and the cover article in today’s NYT Dining section inspired me to get going. As we begin to enjoy the harvest from our own gardens and the farms that supply us through farmers’ markets and CSAs, we may well find ourselves inundated with cucumbers, asparagus, strawberries and other fine candidates for preserving. Lucky for us, the book has been written on how to do this and it’s online.
The USDA’s National Center for Home Food Preservation provides step-by-step instructions for home food preservation and processing. Jarden, the manufacturer of Kerr and Ball jars, has free instructional videos on its site that teach us how to “fresh preserve” low-acid and high-acid foods. This is self-directed learning at its best! If you’re more of a page flipper, Eugenia Bone’s just published “Well-Preserved: Recipes and Techniques for Putting Up Small Batches of Seasonal Food” is a beautiful treat. She provides recipes and instructions for preserving everything from asparagus to tuna and provides suggestions on how to serve it gourmet style. The poached pears with strawberry preserves piqued my interest!
So the next time you’re fortunate enough to find yourself with an overabundance of ripe tomatoes, asparagus, cucumbers or fresh fruit, don’t despair. Find a friend and hold a preserving party. I have fond memories of a long day preserving fruit and peppers with a friend from cooking school in her country kitchen in Princeton. Each beautiful jar told a story of friendship and food.
Will you be joining the growing ranks of consumers “putting up”? If you already preserve, please share some tips and recipes with us.