Canning and Preserving
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A Can-do Attitude
There once was a time, not so long ago, when canning and preserving food was a necessity. Grocery stores and convenience food were either unaffordable or entirely unavailable. Electric refrigerators and freezers did not exist, or were available only to those who could afford the luxury.
Fast-forward a few generations. Today, all the food we could ever want is as close as our nearest grocery store—canned, jarred and preserved for us. Fresh food can go straight from the store into our refrigerator or freezer, safe to chill until we decide to eat it. Fast food is available any time, day or night, and we don’t even have to leave the car to get it.
Despite all the convenience available, home canning and preserving is back in a big way. Why? Perhaps it’s wanting to know where our food comes from and exactly what’s in each bite. Maybe it’s a yearning for independence and self-sufficiency. Whatever your reason for canning and preserving food, you will find help and advice within these pages. Whether you’re a hobbyist dabbling in putting up your farmers market finds, or an expert gardener blessed with a bountiful harvest, Canning & Preserving, the first issue of the Popular Kitchen™ Series, is here to help you.
What You’ll Find
Canning: An all-encompassing guide to canning and preserving food, Canning & Preserving walks you through the basics for successfully “putting up” your produce safely and easily in “Just Can It.” You’ll learn about the two processes for canning (boiling-water canning and pressure canning), as well as what kinds of foods should be canned using each, and the safety precautions to look out for to produce great-tasting and worry-free canned goods. When you’re ready to can your food, look to “Canning How-To” for step-by-step instructions and pictures that outline how to can properly.
Freezing: Canning food isn’t the only way to preserve it, however. “The Big Chill” will show you that freezing food is a great way to lock in the flavor and taste of most vegetables and fruits:
This method of food preservation works well because freezing temperatures (especially below 0 degrees Fahrenheit) inhibit the growth of micro-organisms and slow chemical changes that affect food quality or cause spoilage. The quality of your food before freezing affects the condition of the food once frozen and thawed for consumption. Experts suggest using high-quality food and freezing it at its peak to maintain taste, nutrition, color and texture. —“The Big Chill,” Canning & Preserving
Dehydrating: Dehydrating is another method for preserving your garden’s bounty, and you’ll learn all about it in “The Drying Game.” Find out about the different ways to dehydrate (via sun or air, electric dehydrators or oven heat), and how it turns bushels of produce into a smaller amount of concentrated flavor that will save space and money.
Food dehydration saves money because you can buy or grow seasonal produce to dry and store for year-round use. Another perk of food dehydration is compact storage -- especially important if you live in tight quarters with limited storage space. A bushel of tomatoes will dehydrate down to a few jars of sun-dried tomatoes that easily fit on your pantry shelf. —“The Drying Game,” Canning & Preserving
And much more: Learn the age-old practice of root cellaring, and find out how to store your fall harvest to keep your vegetables fresh throughout the winter. A bounty of fruit can be turned into vitamin-packed juice, and we show you how to do it and store it in our juicing article. Your canning hobby can be turned into a business with a little perseverance and a few tips from our article to get you started. Garden designer P. Allen Smith shares his favorite preserving memories and offers a great recipe. Speaking of recipes, we also share six of our favorites.
Discover the many ways to preserve your bounty in Canning & Preserving. This Magabook® (magazine-book) is the essential resource for every kitchen enthusiast.
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