Preserving Food-Book Review

Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning is published by the amazing Chelsea Green Publishing House, who have published many books that I have enjoyed and also many more I wish to read.

I recently re checked this book out from my local library. I had checked it out a few years ago, and I was surprised by how much my opinions had changed since then. The first time I checked it out, I read it cover to cover and was alternately fascinated and repelled. Fascinated because I had never read about many of the methods of preparation and repelled because I couldn’t imagine actually eating many of the foods described. But this time I felt much more comfortable with both the methods and the foods that were produced using the methods.

There is a chapter about burying food in catches. This time reading, I thought it was a brilliant method of keeping food at a set temperature during the hard winters. Yet I could remember how uncomfortable I had been with the concept the first time I encountered it. I had worried about germs and dirt. Which is funny because most of the foods suggested for this method of preservation, onions, potatoes and other root vegetables, grew from the dirt. Why did I feel it was okay to eat a potato pulled up from the dirt today but not eat a potato that had been reburied in a storage hole? I’m not sure.

The chapter on vinegar preservation revealed similar changes in my attitudes. When I first read the book I wondered in horror why anyone would want to eat foods that had been preserved in vinegar. But since then I have actually made vinegar at home from wine and found it has a lovely sweet flavor, which is nothing like the store bought vinegars I had consumed in the past. Now the thought of eating vinegar persevered cherries and mushrooms is intriguing rather than horrifying.

After filling the library book full of book marks and trying several of the recipes I realize that there is no hope for it, I will have to purchase a copy of this book for myself.

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