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Image source: Amazon

Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation

Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern "kitchen gardeners" will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits. Yet here is a book that goes back celebrating traditional but little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles in ways that maximize flavor and nutrition.

Translated into English, and with a new foreword by Deborah Madison, this book deliberately ignores freezing and high-temperature canning in favor of methods that are superior because they are less costly and more energy-efficient.

Inside, you’ll learn how to:
  • Preserve without nutrient loss
  • Preserve by drying
  • Preserve with oil, vinegar, salt, and sugar
  • Make sweet-and-sour preserves
  • Preserve with alcohol

  • As Eliot Coleman says in his foreword to the first edition, "Food preservation techniques can be divided into two categories: the modern scientific methods that remove the life from food, and the natural 'poetic' methods that maintain or enhance the life in food. The poetic techniques produce... foods that have been celebrated for centuries and are considered gourmet delights today."

    Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning offers more than 250 easy and enjoyable recipes featuring locally grown and minimally refined ingredients.

    An essential guide for anyone working toward self-reliance.
    Where to get it?
    Chelsea Green Publishing
    Amazon US
    Amazon UK
    Amazon CA
    Amazon AU
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    Terre Vivante (in French)
    author & master steward
    Posts: 2681
    Location: Southeastern U.S. - Zone 7b
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    I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns.

    I don't recall how or where I first saw it, but the "traditional techniques" in the title was immediately appealing to me. So I bought the book and haven't been disappointed. It's a complied work by the gardeners and farmers of Terre Vivante in Isere, France. The original idea of publishing the book was to preserve the preservation techniques, themselves, but I have found it to be a fantastic resource for my permaculture lifestyle.

    The book sports two forwards, one by Eliot Coleman for the first edition, and one by Deborah Madison, which was added to the second edition. The Preface explains "How This Book Came to Be." The introduction explains the benefit of these methods—preservation that preserves nutrient value. It also touches on safety issues. Each chapter discusses a different preservation technique and includes instructions and recipes.

    Chapter 1, "Preserving in the ground or in a cold cellar." Contains a chart of vegetables that can be left in the ground all winter, and discusses various methods of underground storage including trenching, a choice of underground containers to make, and root cellaring. The last section of this chapter discusses increasing shelf life at room temperature. For example, squashes keep longer if oiled (includes a chart of how long various squashes keep), gruyere cheese can be stored in ash, and both squash and tomatoes keep longer if wrapped in newspaper.

    Chapter 2 discusses a method many of us are familiar with, preserving by drying. Explains various dehydrating methods: easy-to-make dryer trays, electric dehydrators, oven drying, sun drying, and string drying. Covers a large variety of fruits, vegetables. herbs, flowers and mushrooms. Also some unusual food items, like bread, yeast, and fish.

    Chapter 3, "Preserving by Lactic Fermentation." Lots of recipes in this chapter, starting with several for the all-familiar sauerkraut. More unusual foods to ferment include green beans, radishes, Swiss chard ribs, tomatoes, zucchini, and plums. Recipes include various vegetable medleys, tomato balls, tomato sauce, and many more.

    Chapter 4, "Preserving in Oil." This is where I got the idea to store my feta cheese in herbed olive oil! In addition to cheeses, recipes are given for eggplant, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, plus a variety of condiments.

    Chapter 5 discusses preserving in vinegar. A variety of vegetables, seasonings, and even fruit can be given a longer shelf life in vinegar: beets, Brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, horseradish, tomatillos, mushrooms, cherries, and grapes.

    Chapter 6 is preserving in salt. The modern mindset pretty much considers salt taboo, but it is an ancient preservation method. Includes recipes for grape leaves, green beans, lemons, and rose petals.

    Chapter 7 is preserving in sugar as jams and jellies, candied condiments, or in syrups. Lots of recipes here, including a few with no-added sugar: apple-pear molasses, carob honey, apple or pear syrup.

    Chapter 8 is entitled, "Sweet-and-Sour Preserves." Lots of condiments in this chapter, including chutneys, relishes, and ketchups. There's also a section of recipes for sweet-and-sour fruits such as cherries, pears, and plums.

    The last chapter is "Preserving in Alcohol." There are recipes for various wines and fruits preserved in brandy or wine.

    The Appendix contains a handy-dandy chart listing a variety of foods along with the best options for preservation methods.

    224 pages, 250 recipes, and filled with lovely hand-drawn illustrations. An excellent book for anyone interested in off grid, low tech, and historical methods of food preservation.
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