Preserving the Harvest: A Book Recommendation for the CSA Membership

August 9th, 2020 | Posted By: Stephen Douglass | Posted in Clients' Culinary Creations, Crops, CSA, Food Preservaton, Instructional Cooking Videos, News, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

A Great Book Recommendation for the CSA Membership

Hi Folks,

I’ll have a better idea of what’s coming in this week’s box tomorrow, but, I wanted to share with you an excellent recommendation from our CSA Member, Cyndie.  Cyndie is the one who donated the terrific scrubbies.  From time to time she checks with me on availability of items in quantity for preserving.  A couple weeks ago, she wanted some extra English cucumbers for freezing, and in that conversation she recommended The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader.

Imminently Readable

I get a lot of recipes, tricks and tips from the CSA Membership on different ways to prepare dishes using the CSA Box, and, because of that, I’ve been mulling over the idea of (over time) collecting these ideas and making a sort of living cookbook on the website here – something we could compile into an ebook.  I’ve actually studied the cookbook writing process a good bit which is one of the reasons I love this book.  It makes sense.  It starts with crops and sourcing – with a glowing recommendation that everybody join a CSA, HA! – moves methodically into crops and quantity per quart charts before going through all the methods of preserving fruits and vegetables.  As you might have guessed.  I like books, but not just the content.  This book looks good, and it actually feels good.  The lettering is large and bold enough that I don’t need my special “book-readin” glasses to read it, but not so large that my kids make octogenarian jokes.   About a third of the page is empty margin perfect for notes, and the book lies open easily due to it’s wide-ish shape.  Now I know all this physical stuff about the book may sound silly, but tools need to be functional, and that what Preserving the Harvest is – a tool.

Comprehensive

The book starts with water-bath and pressure canning, including information on meats and poultry, and then moves through dehydrating and freezing methods.  The pages on drying herbs piqued my interest for sure as we are planting a whole quarter acre of herbs for the CSA – something new for us.  The jams and jellies section is a favorite for making gifts.  The same goes for vinegars and seasonings, too.  I know Sue and I are going to be doing a lot of that this Fall.  The book finally wraps up with a chapter on cold storage that even includes root cellar basics.  What’s amazing is that each method section has a corresponding section with lots of great recipes using the corresponding method.

Using the Book with the CSA

As soon as all this planting dies down a little bit, I will be doing videos again and I plan to make quite a few of these preserves in the videos – right after I make Jacqueline’s no-mess-mayo.  That’s definitely up first.

After looking through the book, almost every crop we are planting can be preserved one way or another – with the exception of our salad mix and lettuces.  And, since we are growing much greater quantities, there will be plenty to “put up” if any member wants more.  I made a partial list of crops in the last blogpost, but what I’m going to do here is show you the overall crop plan.  We use a pretty sophisticated crop planning application called Tend that I’ve found nearly impossible to show here, but I still have to “gameplan,” or create a  “big picture” using an excel sheet.  I unfortunately labeled our 12 plots as fields in the picture below (eg. F-1, F-2…..) but each plot has 16 beds that are 210′ x 100′.  The high tunnel and caterpillar tunnel are listed, too.  All that information is in the link below if anybody is interested.  Check back from time to time as I will be updating the Overall Plan.

Thanks Everyone,

 

Farmer Steve

Farm Plan

winter-spring 2020 plot 9 MASTER