I enjoy putting away my own organic tomato sauce every year, and last year I actually made enough quarts of my “special sauce” to see us through the winter and into early summer. There is nothing better and healthier than making your own. Putting Up – A Year-Round Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition, by Stephen Palmer Dowdney, Gibbs Smith Publisher, is a book that can help you every month, prepare and keep some of the seasons best.
About The Book
“This book will guide you step-by-step through the preparation of products that will convert a boring family repast into an exciting dinnertime adventure. You will put up goodies that you’ll use as hors d’oeuvres when entertaining. You’ll put up preserves that, as gifts, will become the rage among friends.”
The first part of the book explores the details of home canning, including equipment needed and basic instructions, in detail with colour photographs. The second part has recipes starting from January through to December, using seasonally available items like asparagus and strawberries in the early months to pumpkins and sweet potatoes in October.
Dowdney developed his passion for fresh, seasonal foods in his childhood, partially spent at his grandparent’s plantation in South Carolina. It is his belief that we do not put up food just because we “have to” in this day and age, but because “we like to”. The foods we grew up on, bringing back memories in the preserves we put up today.
I enjoyed this book, Putting Up – A Year-Round Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition, because it was not the typical sort of preserving book that I usually run across. I loved the illustrations and explanations, and after many years of putting up things myself, I learned quite a few new things. My idea of preserves involves putting things away that will be a reward to open in future days ahead. I remember when my mother put everything away for the winter, mainly because of sustainability reasons, growing up in rural Medonte Township, Ontario. She put up absolutely everything from peas, beans and corn to plums and berries. I on the other hand, do it now for Fun! This book begins January with Lowcountry Pluff Mud and ends in December with Christmas Pepper Jelly. The mud actually sounds like an amazing bean dip. Some recipes Dowdney suggests are very festive, such as Very Berry Preserves, or Charleston Creole Sauce, a summer favourite Watermelon Rind Pickles, which you must try at least once, and Christmas Morning Marmalade, which I will be trying soon.
How nice it is to open a jar of homemade jam from the summer on a dreary February morning, and spread some of that summer flavour on toast. Nothing better.
SEAFOOD COCKTAIL SAUCE
- 5 lbs tomatoes, cored, squeezed and diced
- 1 lb. onions, diced
- 2 green Bell Peppers, diced
- 1/2 lb. sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp coarse-ground pepper
- 1/2 cup Tabasco
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4 lb. fresh horseradish, grated fine
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp celery seed
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch made in a thick paste with water
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tbsp ground oregano
- 1 tbsp fresh picked thyme
Combine all ingredients except cornstarch and fresh herbs in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Add cornstarch mixture and continue to cook until thick. Add herbs and mix well. Hot pack according to the safe canning practices outlined on page 51.
I imagine this recipe can be halved or doubled.
Take a chance and see if you can be the lucky winner of this great book, Putting Up – A Year-Round Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition, by Stephen Palmer Dowdney, and amaze your friends at all the things you can make for them and give to them as hostess gifts or house-warming presents. This week, please comment your thoughts about preserving, and this time please tell me what is your favourite kitchen tool?
Good luck. I will post the winner next week, September 7th, so please get your entry in early!
If you wish to purchase a copy for yourself or a friend, please go to:#mce_temp_url#
Joanne won this book, and I know she will enjoy putting tons of things away this year. We know what you are giving all of us for Christmas this year Joanne!