Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything

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by Mary Clemens Meyer, Susanna Meyer



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780836195125
Publisher: MennoMedia
Publication date: 05/28/2010
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Mary Clemens Meyer and her husband, Ron, raise certified organic vegetables and fruits, grass-fed beef, and pastured poultry on their farm near Fresno, Ohio. They also sell produce at a local farmers' market and run a 35-household CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group. Mary and Ron often field questions from CSA members and market customers about cooking and preserving fresh produce. They are members of First Mennonite Church in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Susanna Meyer works for the nonprofit organization Grow Pittsburgh, growing organic produce and seedlings in the city for restaurants and residents. She also educates children, teenagers, and adults about growing their own food, and will be happy to direct them to this book when their gardens overflow. She and her husband, Neil Stauffer, live on a quiet wooded block in Pittsburgh; they started preserving produce on their own during the years they worked as co-managers for Mildreds' Daughters Urban Farm, also in Pittsburgh.

Read an Excerpt

From The Preface

Taking The Mystery Out Of Preserving Food

By Mary Clemens Meyer and Susanna Meyer

Until recently, preserving food was in danger of becoming a lost art. From the early days of "putting up food" for the winter, canning was a familiar practice in the scrimp-and-save Great Depression and war years of the 1930s and 1940s, and the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s.

The 1980s and 1990s brought cheap canned goods to grocery store shelves. Women joined the work force in unprecedented numbers, and had little time for homemaking "extras." Fewer people had time or interest to grow gardens or buy extra produce to store. The process of canning and preserving food seemed like a mysterious art from the past—not relevant or efficient for modern times.

Things began to change in the early 2000s. There was a sharp rise in farmers' markets and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription farms, along with a greater demand for organic foods, the growth of local food and slow food movements, and the planting of urban and community gardens. All of these things illustrated people's desire to reconnect with their food.

At the same time, the children of the 1980s and 1990s—people who grew up learning about care for the earth—reached adulthood and began making lifestyle choices. Many are choosing healthier and less processed foods. They want to buy "fresh and local" and grow at least some of their own produce, even if it's one pot of tomatoes on the balcony. They want to feed their babies wholesome meals without additives. They want to be part of the whole experience of food, not just opening a can of tomato soup or a box of flavored noodles.

But, for many, preserving food seems like a mysterious art. How do you can, dry or pickle produce? What implements do you need? Where do you start?

That's where Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything comes in. We wrote it to show that preserving food is not a mysterious art. With clear steps, photos, and easy-to-follow instructions, we show how anyone can pickle, can, freeze, and dry almost anything. With a little practice, the process will become second nature and lead to years of satisfying experiences and good eating.

There's nothing more satisfying than seeing a row of colorful, home-canned jars on your shelf, or serving your friends and family homemade applesauce or strawberry jam in the winter. Preserving your own food also brings peace of mind—you know the quality of the ingredients and the care taken in processing. Best of all, the flavor is even better—a generous helping of taste for just a little effort.

Through Saving The Seasons, anyone can learn to preserve food, and also get the answer to the big question that comes from abundant CSA boxes and home gardens: "What do I do with the extra?" The answer: "Enjoy it all year long, from your shelf or freezer!"

From the Preface to Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything by Mary Clemens Meyer and Susanna Meyer.

Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything is available from Mennonite Publishing Network at or by calling 1-800-245-7894 x 278 (U.S.), 1-800-631-6535 (Canada). The cost is $24.99 USD/$28.99 CAD.

Herald Press is the book imprint of Mennonite Publishing Network, the publishing ministry of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.

Table of Contents

Guide to the Harvest
Canning and Freezing Yields
How to Can
Vegetables, Meats, and Soups
Herbed Vinegars
Pickles and Relishes Introduction
How to Make Pickles or Relishes
Jams, Jellies, and Spreads Introduction
How to Make Jam
Cooked Jams, Jellies, and Spreads
Freezer Jams
How to Freeze
Vegetables and Herbs
Meats, Poultry, and Fish
Baby Food Introduction
Baby Food
How to Dry
Bibliography of Helpful Books
Sources for Canning, Freezing, and Drying Supplies

What People are Saying About This


"Saving the Seasons is the newest cookbook from the publishers of the beloved Mennonite cookbooks: Simply in Season, More with Less, and Extending the Table. This new work lives up to and expands the ideals of its predecessors.

"In the nearly 35 years since More with Less first appeared on the scene, American kitchens have undergone some big changes, and not just in the shift from “autumn harvest” appliance colors to stainless steel. In much of the country, the locavore movement is in full swing, folks are prioritizing where their food comes from and how it gets to them. They are looking for farmer’s markets and buying up farm shares and subscriptions on such sites as Vegetable gardens, chicken coops and beehives are popping up in urban neighborhoods, and with the current DIY climate, and the financial necessities many families are facing, the More with Less approach to homemaking has new relevance.

"The upsurge in interest in various arts of domesticity and homesteading means this book comes out at exactly the right time for a new group of novice gardeners who are wondering what exactly they are supposed to do with the 10 pounds of pickling cucumbers they accidentally grew.

"It is wonderful to have the basics of canning, freezing, stock making, drying, pickling and basically any method of preserving you might think of laid out simply in one place. The volume of information could be overwhelming, as in larger encyclopedic style cookbooks, but the easy style, lovely photography, and directness and simplicity of the instructions take away the intimidation factor. The book begins with a “Guide to the Harvest” that lays out produce alphabetically, with photos, descriptions, notes on season, recommended preservation methods and an index to recipes in the book.

"Each following section is interspersed with notes on preserving in general, some of which are particularly helpful, such as the commentary on what kinds of produce work best for preserving baby foods, and which crops tend to be sprayed more often with pesticides on commercial farms. The authors include the approximate yields you can expect for canning and freezing specific fruits and vegetables, which takes some guesswork out of the process, when you are first getting started. There are brief notes troubleshooting common problems for novice canners, or sharing the origins of recipes beloved by the authors. In addition there is a comprehensive troubleshooting chart for canning problems at the end of the book.

"Throughout the book, I appreciated the focus on the genuine basics and necessities for canning. It’s no more than I should expect from a book with this book’s Mennonite pedigree, but the simplicity of the instructions definitely distinguishes this guide from the other books out there. There is no nitpicking about perfect techniques, and no insistence on using specific new products or trendy cookware. And yes, there is such a thing as trendy canning equipment.

"Whether you have a couple of acres of tomatoes or simply an urge to try making Apple Cake in a Jar (59), this book has something for you. The blueberry jam recipe was delicious, the strawberry freezer jam was indescribably easy, and so far the only fault my family has found is with the salsa recipe. We are born and bred Texans though, and have very specific ideas about what constitutes good salsa. Our dissatisfaction probably has more to do with the fact that the lovely authors, based in Pittsburgh and Ohio, haven’t been raised on habañeros and probably still have their taste buds intact. Next time I make that particular recipe I may leave the jalapeno seeds IN.

"Overall, this book is a useful addition to the library of experienced canners and preservers, and absolutely indispensable for novices."
--Englewood Review of Books--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Strawberry Freezer Jam•2 cups / 500 ml strawberries (about 1 quart /1 L)•4 cups / 1 L sugar•1 box (1/3 cup /75 ml) powdered pectin•3/4/ cup / 175 ml waterWash and crush berries. Measure exact amount of fruit into bowl. Measure exact amount of sugar into bowl. Stir sugar into fruit. Mix well and let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.Stir pectin into water in small saucepan. (Pectin may be lumpy at first.) Bring to a boil on high heat and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir pectin mixture into fruit mixture. Stir constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy, about 3 minutes. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)Ladle quickly into rigid glass or plastic freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch / 12 mm headspace. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours until set. Put in freezer.Makes 5 half-pints / 250 ml jars.(Recipe reprinted here with permission of Herald Press.) diggIf you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the Feedburner feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Related posts:1.Review: PARENTING BEYOND YOUR CAPACITY – Joiner/ Nieuwhof [Vol. 3, #29]2.Review: TERRA MADRE by Carlo Petrini [Vol. 3, #14]3.Review: START HERE by Alex and Brett HarrisThis entry was posted on Friday, August 20th, 2010 at 11:34 pm and is filed under *Featured Reviews*, Uncategorized, VOLUME 1, VOLUME 3. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. One Response to “Review: SAVING THE SEASONS

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Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anne-B More than 1 year ago
When I was a kid, my grandma always made jam and jellies.  My mom learned how, but I never did.  I wish I had.  I've honestly been very intimidated by canning.  So, I have been looking for a good cookbook to help me learn how.  Two years ago I reviewed a canning cookbook published by Storey Publishing.  The recipes were good and it had a ton of information, but many of the recipes used Pomona pectin--which happens to be quite expensive.  One of my prerequisites for a cookbook I'll use over and over is that the recipes use affordable ingredients.  That one didn't fit the bill.  So, I've continued to look for a solid canning cookbook that would fit easily on any cookbook shelf (since the cookbook space in my kitchen has filled up) that would help me feel like I can tackle canning jam and be successful at it.   So, I was excited to discover that the publisher of Simply in Season, Herald Press, published this cookbook.  It's a nice size.  It is a thin volume, but it's just the right size for all the information that I found on the pages inside.  I asked a friend of mine to look it over and give me her opinion of the cookbook.  She is an expert canner who is well known in my church for her jams, jellies, salsas, and condiments! She liked it.  She loved the pictures and was very interested to find out who the photographer was.  She was tempted to purchase the cookbook just for the photographs!  Her opinion is that is a great book for beginners - clear directions, good explanations,  The step by step pictorial directions are easy to follow.  The recipes are a good selection and are almost identical to the recipes she already uses--which have worked well for her for years.  She also thought there was a good selection of tomato based canning recipes.  The Farmer's Market Salsa recipe looked interesting to her.  She did try the marmalade recipe and it turned out just the recipe said it would.   When I opened up this cookbook, I was immediately reminded of all the things I love about Simply in Season.  Both cookbooks are simply written and are easy to understand.  I did love the photographs.  The photographer did a wonderful job of capturing candids, portraits, and still lifes.  Saving the Seasons has the basic recipes that I want and more.  I don't have tons of time to look all over the internet for good directions and illustrations of how to can.  I need all the information in one place.  In the back of the cookbook, the author biographies reveal that Mary runs a CSA from her family's farm.  Susanna is her daughter.  Susanna is now involved in urban community farming in Pittsburgh, PA.  Mary has had lots of customers over the years ask for canning recipes.  This cookbook was the fruit of her effort to provide them with a good place to start.  I think the authors succeeded in doing just what they set out to do.  I am even inspired to seriously consider purchasing a dehydrator.  The information included answered one of my big questions--like the financial cost of using a dehydrator vs. an oven.   This cookbook isn't as large as many canning cookbooks, but it's a lot more useable than many I've seen.  It will have a place in my kitchen for many years.   If you're interested in canning and haven't done much before, I'd highly recommend this cookbook!  It is one that will be easy to use and follow.  And-- there's always the great pictures to look at! Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this cookbook for review from Herald Press.