The Last of Summer: Preserving the Flavor to Savor
It’s human nature: All season, we complained about too many tomatoes, an overflow of okra, the surplus of squash. But in the winter months ahead, we’ll be longing for those very same summer flavors.
There’s still time to preserve, pickle, and put up jars of your favorite foods.
For advice, we asked artisan jam maker Renee Joslyn to get us started. “Preserving isn't difficult - in fact it's easy, fun and creative - but you need to know the safety basics so you won't make yourself or you loved ones sick,” she says. “Someone who's new to canning and preserving should always use a trusted source for their first projects. Don't use Great-Grandma's notes, or recipes/methods over 25 years old.”
The resurgence in popularity of traditional preserving means new books on the topic are coming to the table. Sherri Brooks Vinton is the author of the popular Put ‘Em Up! series. Her newest title, the Put ‘Em Up Preserving Answer Book, explains everything from how to stock your pantry to setting up your own old-school canning porch, and includes recipes for each preserving method demonstrated.
What if instead of things to sink your teeth into, you prefer something to sip? Check out Drink the Harvest: Making and Preserving Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas, and Ciders, by Nan K. Chase and DeNeice C. Guest. Bright color photos will make readers thirsty, and eager to try their hand at creating Spiced Ginger-Bay Syrup or Luscious Limoncello.
Almost anything can be preserved or pickled, frozen or dried, turned into jam or wine. Joslyn says, “A customer challenged me to make a jam out of gorgeous local organic oyster mushrooms at the farmers market. So, I did. Another time, there was a blogger challenge involving watermelon. I made a spicy watermelon jam with fire-roasted jalapeños, lime, and cilantro.”
If you need more inspiration, consider this: “I always like to say that some people paint or draw, but I play with my food. It's my creative outlet,” Joslyn states.
Vinton writes: “For me, it’s all about connection. Preserving my own food keeps me connected to my local farms during the fallow season….It’s a way to feed some of the people I wish I could have around my table more often.”