It's that time of the year again when home vegetable gardeners can start to feel a little overwhelmed by produce. After waves of strawberries, raspberries, snow peas, and a continual abundance of leafy greens, not to mention the massive amounts of wild blackberries that are just finishing their season, we're buried under massive amounts of cucumbers, carrots, beans, and tomatoes! And if some of us never see another summer squash or zucchini again, it'll still be too soon. Next to come in the rotation are plums, then apples, pumpkins and gourds that will signal autumn's arrival.
We're swimming in the abundance of our gardens and local farms right now, and it's hard to imagine that in just a few short months we'll be bundled up in wool sweaters and pining for the taste of a juicy tomato still warm from the sun. You may not be able to wander outside and pick produce straight from the garden once the weather turns (except for those hardy winter greens, of course) but you can still save some of the summer by learning home preserving methods. That includes canning, drying, fermenting, brewing, freezing, and other ways of saving excess food from our more fruitful months to enjoy even in the middle of winter. Here are a few books from our cooking section that will help show you how:
The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz
Author Sandor Katz is a great go-to expert on fermentation methods from around the world. This popular book is a complete course on basic fermentation, its culinary history and uses internationally, and the science behind it as well as a variety of delicious recipes! Use this book as a guide to fermenting everything from fruits and vegetables (think kimchi) to grains like sourdough starters and methods for making cheese. The international nature of the recipes really give this book flare, and help introduce the reader to the wide range of flavor that can be achieved through fermentation.
Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff
As the title suggests, this book is all about preserving through canning. You may have heard warnings about the safety of home canning, but speaking as someone who has enjoyed home-canned food since childhood, following basic safety precautions (sanitation is key!) and recipe instructions like processing times will result in a safe, reliable way to can your own food. Recipes included in this book vary from traditional strawberry jam to spicy Indian pickled carrots and blueberry-lemon marmalade. It's a great book for the adventurous preserver, or someone looking to push the flavor boundaries of their pantry.
Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint, both by Marisa McClellan
Both of these preserving books by Marisa McClellan feature fantastic recipes, but the really great thing about them is that they are scaled for small-batch canning. Making just a few pints of preserves at a time may be ideal for people with small kitchens, limited stove space, or just a little bit of produce that needs processing. But for those of us who can large quantities of food at a time, it's still possible to take advantage of the delicious recipes by doubling or tripling them.
Preserving Everything by Leda Meredith
If canning isn't your thing and you'd like an overview of some other options, this should be the next book you add to your kitchen shelf. There are inevitably some canning recipes included here, but emphasis is also placed on drying, salting, and freezing as methods of preservation. The author also focuses on ways of keeping different types of meat and fish, which is an option that is easily overlooked sometimes when people think of preserving "food." The photos are pretty gorgeous too, and will make you want to head home and start making your own delicious food preserves.