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Book Review: Put ’em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook by Sherri Brooks Vinton

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Put 'em Up is the book for anyone who is interested in canning something beyond the typical grape jelly and canned green beans we all started with. Put 'em Up is broken down into two sections. Section one is an introduction to the techniques you'll need to master in order to proceed. It discusses both food preparation methods and food preservation methods. It includes discussions on blanching, agua fresca and granita, jams and jellies, vinegar pickles, fermented pickles; salsas, chutneys and relishes; and butters, sauces and ketchups. You will also learn about refrigeration, freezing, infusion, drying and the boiling water method. The author will introduce you to working in groups, techniques that don't work and things that look bad but aren't dangerous.

The second section is the recipe section. The recipe section is organized alphabetically by ingredient, which is very handy. If you have tons of fennel you need to know what to do with, just turn to F to find your recipes. Each ingredient has a basic introduction and a section on fresh storage recommendations. After that you find recipes that use that ingredient. Each individual recipe has a brief introduction an ingredients list, detailed instructions on how to prepare it and then a section on how to preserve. Many of the recipes offer multiple ways the item can be preserved.

For example, the fennel and onion jam can be refrigerated or frozen. There are also recipes scattered throughout the recipe section that will allow you to use some of the bounty you have just preserved. Many of the recipes also include variations when possible to allow you to try different taste options. There is also a section in the back of the book that lists additional resources and local sources for finding local food and produce seasonality calendars.

I really love the variety of recipes in Put 'em Up. These are not the typical recipes you find in a canning/preserving book. The recipes are unique and should appeal to a wide variety of palates. You'll find kid-pleasing favorites like classic strawberry jam as well as gourmet recipes like the pickled asparagus with mustard seed. I was thrilled to find recipes using wild ramps and scapes too!

If you're looking for a little inspiration in preserving your harvest, you need to check out Put 'em Up!

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.