pickled pink

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, food and garden, projects


the fact that we’d have no kitchen this summer led us to forego planting the garden as well—it was a good choice considering how busy we are and how much added work there is when undergoing a major home renovation. we are very relieved not to be worrying about watering and weeding or where the heck we are going to wash whole baskets of produce.

we still however, crave the sparkling flavors of fresh summer veggies and have been lucky to rely on the kindness of friends and neighbors who are sharing the overflow from their gardens. in particular, our dear friend beckie not only lends her kitchen weekly for me to prepare foods for freezing, but never sends me home without a basket of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, or even eggs for our table.


throughout the season, we’ve been getting together at her house to bag up berries, peaches, tomatoes—all those fruits that are too sticky to deal with when one doesn’t have a sink big enough to wash them.


in a corner of the porch we are using for our main living space right now, i eked out a little square to lay down a cotton rug for ripening peaches under newspaper. most of these will be for the table, but if they all ripen at once, i may end up freezing some.

yes, it’s that time of summer when the harvest is an unstoppable tide and it’s all we can do to keep up with it. that said, it’s important to make sure you know what you’re doing; preserving food has wonderful benefits but only if you use best practices. as an ever-evolving science, the rules of food preservation change and so should our knowledge about the topic, if for no other reason than that food itself is constantly evolving too.

it never hurts to know more about preserving food safely and efficiently, while retaining the best flavor and texture possible. everyone can use a little help in this regard and a good book on the subject can be a valuable friend.

enter a new release from the culinary institute of america, preserving: putting up the season’s bounty


i’m sure there are many more comprehensive volumes out there on canning and preserving—big thick books that cover every eventuality. but this book has something those books don’t—it’s small size, weight, and attractive layout make it so easy to digest that i’m actually reading and using it.

why, i can pop this baby in my tote bag and take it along to beckie’s house to read to her if i want—i like that.


inside, it’s filled with all sorts of useful information that we want to know. but what i like is that it gets you thinking about the endgame before you even start gardening or buying produce.


very smart advice since the end result is only as good as the quality of the produce you have to work with.


the preparatory chapters also discuss the concept of the pantry, how much you really need to put by, and how to store preserved goods properly. all good advice for laying a good foundation.


because let’s face it—putting up food is a labor intensive job, often hot and messy and somewhat pricey; maybe even more costly than average store-bought brands. the big payoff is a healthier, better tasting product of known origin; important enough for many of us to pursue despite the cost. the least we can do to pay ourselves back by treating the final results  like the treasured goods they are.


the middle chapters of the book focus on various preservation methods, each having its own pages in the spotlight. for each, the authors discuss tools and terminology, introducing basic methodology and defining the terms you need to know.


this is where, as a beginner or someone who has limited space to work,  you can choose the tools and strategies that will work best for you. for instance, one of the reasons i have yet to pursue canning, is that for so many years i lived in city apartments with no space to store big pots and boxes of jars that i would use but one month per year—or to store rows of finished canned goods either. i took to freezing because it was quick and easy after a long day of work and ziploc bags took up much less space when not in use.


however, freezing is not the best method for every food and it does require quite a bit of freezer space. i know i should explore canning for certain types of food and one of these summers, i will. i’ll probably get beckie to walk me through canning at some point; just not right now.


still, i love to read about it and doing so may spur me to try it on some level, sooner rather than later.


of course there is a chapter on pickling, along with drying, smoking, and freezing.


you’ll probably find it amusing that even though we don’t cook meat here, i still think it would be awesome to make my own bacon if i did include that in my diet.


i mean, it’s GOTTA be a far cry from what you’d buy in the cooler at the supermarket, right?


even as we work away at freezing fruits and vegetables, beckie and i come up with questions we need answered. it’s always nice to read more about a method i use all the time—why not? one thing i do know is that i don’t know everything about anything.


safe food storage is a topic that totally deserves to be revisited on a regular basis—scientists are finding out new information all the time and updating old, long-held beliefs about the “right way” to handle food.


finally, the book ends with a chapter on homemade pantry staples such as ketchup and other condiments, with advice on filling up that pantry you prepared at the start of the season. it’s nice that they circled back to the beginning i think; it makes me feel that it’s in keeping with the growing cycle of the garden.


here the authors discuss how to clean and assess your jars and equipment as you empty and put them away during the winter—when to get rid of pieces that won’t be useful in the future, how to keep an eye on the shelf life of preserved goods, and how to keep the pantry clean and free of pests. a lot of information for such a small volume.

doesn’t that sound like a terrific little book? wouldn’t you like to own one? well as luck would have it, our friend nathalie who is the director of publications at CIA (and an awesome knitter), has very generously offered us two giveaway copies of preserving!

here’s how it’s going to work: we’re going to give away one copy here on the blog and one copy on our knitspot facebook page. erica will mastermind how the FB giveaway will work and announce it there. the cool thing is that you can throw your name in  the hat in both places for two chances to win (though we will award only ONE book per winner).

to be included in the blog giveaway, leave a comment at the end of this post by 9 pm ESDT on sunday august 24th, telling us what favorite summer food you are  preserving (or wish you could). we’ll pick a winner and announce it early next week.

a big thank you to nathalie for giving us an advance peek inside the preserving book and providing giveaway copies for a late summer treat.

195 thoughts on “pickled pink

  1. I haven’t been able to have much produce this summer, but I’m really hoping to enjoy the end of peach season. It would be great to have preserved peaches all year round.

  2. Cucumbers! Tried to make my own pickles this year for the first time and it did not go so well. But I’m not giving up yet…

  3. In our home, it’s all about preserving tomatoes – salsa, marinara, stewed, frozen, sun dried, roasted… You name it! Yum!

  4. My favorite is making Tomato marmelade or jam. My Mom used to make it in Argentina all the time. It’s great on toast for breakfast.

  5. I love the taste of canned peaches. We aren’t able to grow them locally, but a farm stand down the road trucks them in from downstate MI. Unfortunatly, an impending move is keeping me from canning much of anything this year–would love to have this book ready on the shelf for next year!

  6. My freezers are full of ripe, lucious blackberries from the yard. Lucious microwaved with oatmeal and water, then topped with raisins, cinnamon and cottage cheese for protein. Everyday breakfast when fresh fruit is not around.

  7. my favorite things to preserve are my raspberries and my neighbors apricots. i only make jam with the apricots and freeze the berries. i am a canning lightweight and need to learn more. this book sounds absolutely phenomenal and looks like not only a great resource but one i would sit down and read cover to cover. thanks for the review

  8. Strawberry jam…my grandmother always sent us home with jam when we would visit. My mom canned all kinds of things every year and my sisters and I always talk about the rows of canned food in our basement, my dad even built her a whole shelving unit for one wall of the basement. I wish the 2 of them were still around to tell me how to make it work but, I’m going to start slowly this year.

  9. No question about it, 7-day pickles. These pickles are sweet, but not too sweet. They are work, but worth it.

  10. I love the green nail polish! I’m waiting for Damson Plums to become available to make jam with. They are our favorite and have a nice tart flavor.

  11. I’m planning on canning tomatoes next month when we get to the end of the season in my part of the country. And I’ll do some stone fruit jam over the next couple of weeks, too.

  12. Peach Jam! My absolute favorite during long, cold winters. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of Preserving.

  13. I have my first veggie garden in 10 years and am excited to be trying refrigerator pickles!!! And hopefully lots of tomatoes for paste and sauce for the freezer.

  14. I love learning
    Learning about Everything
    Especially about something so-yummy as food from the garden
    I’m always concerned about sanitation
    This books seems to be a good sourse along those lines

    Tomatoes and Peaches
    So colorful, so juicy
    So many ways to serve


  15. I love love love preserved lemons! Have not made them in a whole, but I will soon. This is a lovely book!

  16. I try to can tomatoes each summer with tomatoes purchased from the farmers market (we’ve not had good luck growing them). And applesauce. Love homemade applesauce!

  17. Tomatoes and pumpkins are my favorites. Right now we have two freezers and we are thinking we may have to add a third.

  18. I make berry jellies and have made green tomato relish and pickles. I would like to branch out to more preserving. Thanks for offering the book!

  19. We have just moved into a house with two apple trees laden with fruit, so I will be doing everything possible with apples, including experimenting with cider…

  20. Oh! I didn’t get to plant a garden this year either because we moved, but usually this time of year I am up to my neck in produce, getting ready to can. This looks like a great book.

  21. I would love to put up fresh tomatoes – I’ve dry roasted some and frozen others, but canning seems to preseve the flavor like no other method.

  22. What a beautiful volume — please include me in the drawing! I would be canning blackberries this year if the canes had not been cut down last fall… may have to put up some peaches instead.

  23. I’m afraid of canning, so we’ve mostly been doing quick-pickles, freezing, or turning things into sorbet and then freezing them (cucumber-melon has been the most exciting sorbet so far)

  24. Roasted tomato sauce, pesto, and refrigerator pickles. If there are a lot of tomatoes to come I may make some more tomato jam, a big hit from last year.

    Every year the garden is different, and I am trying to figure out what things are worth the effort. Besides tomatoes, that is:)

  25. Looks like an excellent book to walk a person through preserving and canning processes. Would love to be better at both.

  26. My husband always plants more heirloom tomatoes than we could ever eat. I’m making some lovely sauce with the excess and freezing it for th deep of winter.

  27. This year the apricot didn’t bloom: no apricot-pineapple jam or dried apricots 🙁
    and the cherry trees were not their usual exuberant selves, so we left the meager harvest for the all the nesting robins in the neighborhood. That means no vissino (look it up!), dried cherries, or freezer packs ready for pie. The book looks great, and I’d love to have a second book on preserving – it’s often helpful to have multiple recipes and methods to compare.

  28. SALSA! We plant tomatoes, onions, and peppers every year and can our own. We put up a lot of fruits and veggies, but Salsa is what we want the most. My mouth waters when I even see a jar!

  29. All of my canning/preserving knowledge has come from my Mom, who learned from Grandma, etc… I grew up helping to make all kinds of jelly: chokecherry, crabapple, raspberry, blueberry, cranberry & my favourite strawberry jam. one of my fondest memories is when Mom told me i was old enough to stir the pickles – that was my job every day. I was so proud!
    Even now, she’s still teaching me – no longer do we spend a week making icicle pickles. this past Christmas she taught me how to make refrigerator pickles & i tought her how to pickle brussel sprouts. This looks like an excellent book to add to her Christmas list. thanks for the tip!

  30. The favorite are the frozen blueberries that we’ll put on our cereal for a bright taste of summer in the middle of winter. I also made dill pickles and will freeze poblano peppers from our small urban community garden plot.

  31. I so love putting away summer’s bounty to be enjoyed in the winter months, that it’s hard to choose my favorite thing. I would have to say canned tomatoes. Nothing compares to the scent of those tomatoes and the memories of summer when you open them on a winter day.

  32. I just threw away an old government publication I had from my mother(!) on preserving and canning, figuring the info was really dated. I love freezing because I can put up extras as I cook all summer. My favorites are chard pie, blanched greens, and berries. When I take out berries in the winter the sun shines.

  33. I’d love to have a pantry filled with jars and jars of tomatoes from my garden, and jam, yeah jam from our own fruit, that would be awesome. The book sounds fantastic, a great giveaway!

  34. I look forward to canning every year, and my favorite part of it is admiring my filled pantry shelves! Then of course I become almost “freak-like” not wanting to use any of it because it looks so pretty and organized. But each year, I get over my “hoarder” ways and give the majority of it to others as gifts. There is nothing better than something homemade and delicious!

  35. My favorite summer food to preserve are hatch green chiles! They’re from Hatch, New Mexico, and I buy them from the case from our local grocer, roast them, and freeze them. So amazingly good!

  36. I love looking at shelves of canned goods I’ve put up myself. My two favorite things to preserve at the moment are berry jams and frozen Lady Cream Peas or Crowder Peas. Oh, yes – and frozen pesto!

  37. The best day of my summer? Spent the day with my 86 year old dad making pickles with the cucumbers, dill and garlic from his garden. (I did remember to write everything down! He remembers-I won’t!). Doesn’t get better than that! Thanks Daddy!

  38. Love homemade jam….
    Strawberry, strawberry rhubarb, saskatoon berry and rhubarb orange marmalade were this year’s offerings!

  39. Sounds like a great book! I do a little jam-making, but that’s about it so far. Would love to expand my repertoire. Wish I had a pantry to stock!

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