"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Monday 24 January 2011

Preserve Me

I don't often recommend a book, and gain nothing by doing so - apart from the pleasure of sharing something that I really like. 

With that stated, I can't wait to tell you about this latest find.  I have been searching for a book on preserving food for ages, and even went so far as to purchase "Preserving the Taste" by Edon Waycott, which was recommended on another blog.  I was disappointed with the book.

So the hunt was on again.  I happened to be "over the mountain" at a shopping mall and popped into the bookstore there.  Shelves and shelves of recipe books - and I didn't have enough time to do them justice.  I gave the shelves a quick once over - and fortuitously my eyes came to rest on exactly the section that I needed.  In bold, rather garish, print I read: "The Preserving Book" by Lynda Brown. (Click here to see it on kalahari.net or here for amazon.com).   I grabbed the book with my free hand, put down my shopping bags in my other hand, and began to hastily page through it.

I couldn't believe my eyes - it was absolutely perfect!  I had just won the preserving book lottery!  I was so excited that I shouted out, "That's it!".  (I only realised that I had vocalised my thoughts when I noticed heads turning my way LOL).

I am going to try and give you a glimpse of what is in this book, but it is so full of fresh and amazing ideas that I hardly know where to start.

It begins with information on exactly what equipment is need for which method, and even suggests which containers would be suitable for each finished product.

It provides a chart, and details, on 29 fruits and 42 vegetables and advises which is suitable for preserving via:

natural (leaving in the ground, clamping)
fruit cheeses (intensely flavoured fruit preserves) butters and curds
crystallized fruits
bottled produce
cordials / syrups
ketchup and sauces
preserving in oil
salting and curing (vegetables/fish and meat)
and brewing and wine making!

The pages are jam packed (LOL with or without the pun) with information and incredible photographs / illustrations.  Hopefully, without infringing on copyright, here is a taster of what the book contains:

There are so many details, and delicious recipes in this book - I couldn't wait to start.  But it was near the end of the day.  My eyes happened to fall on an absolute gem - "Bottled whole tomatoes".  Easy peasy - just wash the tomatoes, sprinkle salt and sugar and lemon juice over them - toss, ram into your preserving jar, seal and cook via the hot bath method.  Brilliant!  Even this novice could do that.  I did :-)

I used some surplus baby tomatoes which I had harvested on Friday.  The recipe is easily convertible for cooking in the solar oven.

The tomatoes "shrink" whilst they are in the
hot water bath - producing a delicious juice :-)
Lynda Brown even provides storage times for your preserved goods - for instance she says that the tomatoes prepared as above will keep for 12 months in a cool, dark area.

It is seriously the most comprehensive, informative preserving book I have read and has now got it's own spot on my "treasured recipe books" shelf.

It is the type of book that one can use over and over again and then, when one is too old to continue preserving, pass it on to a daughter or son and it will still be applicable in 50 - 100 years time.

Now - all I need to do is get to the local market and purchase all those fruits and vegetables which I am unable to grow but would like to preserve...  I now know how!


  1. Hi Dani, that sound just the right book for me. I made my own version of Mrs Ball Chutney today, very good but a little heavy on the chillis. I try again for a milder one on Wensday. Yellow peaches are not found that easy here as in SA. We can buy homebrand yellow peach slices in syrup made in SA, can you believe it it's like hitting the jackpot.
    Stay safe.

  2. Sounds good. I am looking for a book that will help me learn how to preserve stuff so will see if I can get it from the my library over here first to check it out.


  3. Preserving can be addictive. Watch out. But I love it and knowing I have all that food available is a wonderful feeling.

  4. Rina - the book has a brilliant recipe for chutney

    Barb - it has 350-odd pages of pure inspiration

    Jane - with my limited knowledge, I am addicted already - can wait to dig deeper in :-)

  5. That really does look like a nice book on food preservation and I like how they used color pictures...it has been added to our wish list.:) I love that jar you used for the tomatoes, is that a common canning jar in your area? Wish we had ones with one piece screw on lids available to us.

  6. Mr H - t'is a brilliant book :-)

    Yes - these jars are freely available here. Just battle to find new lids, so I'm particular when I use them :-)

  7. Oh what a jackpot find! Lol, this will keep you at home in the kitchen for a while but you'll be loving it :D.

  8. Ooooh .. I want to see if my library has this book .. I've about exhausted the recipes in my Ball Blue Book of preserving and want to try some new ones.

  9. Mrs Mac - You won't go wrong with this book - promise :)


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