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

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"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 to the future-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. 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. It is an essential guide for those who seek healthy food for a healthy world."

Customer Reviews:

  • Awsome
    This is the best book that I have read in years. If you are into preparedness and food presevation then this is the book for you. It is chalked full of great nutritional information
    Andrea W.
    Washington State...more info
  • Excellent reference for a lost art
    As someone who has a large garden and works at preserving the harvest, I really appreciate these alternative techniques. Many of the recipes are more healthful and quicker than canning and don't require heating up your kitchen on a hot August day. The lacto-fermented recipes alone make the book worth purchasing. An excellent companion to Sally Fallon's classic: "Nourishing Traditions."...more info
  • Thrifty In The Truest Sense
    This is a really good reference, with discussions of fermenation and brining, that go beyond the superficial. Good recipies as well, we are now enjoying our salted lemons in salads and in other dishes. This would be in the top ten I would recommend for getting by in a pinch. Also they, for the most part require little or no gas or electric use. ...more info
  • Amazing Book!
    This book provides great information on traditional food preservation techniques that are fast being forgotten. The recipes yield some incredible tastes--try the pickled garlic--and practical ways to extend the life of your garden produce with its beneficial nutrients intact. Definitely a must for the serious organic gardener!...more info
  • Good overview of basic food preservation
    For the most part, I really like this book. I have lots of ideas that I am dying to try when my garden starts to bear. I have a ceramic-invection cooktop so I am wary of putting a fully loaded 30 quart pressure cooker on top of it.

    I would consider purchasing an additional book if you are unfamiliar with food safety and home food preparation. I gathered that the contributors and the authors are aware of these practices, but did not really elaborate on them very much or stress crucial points necessary for food safety, like cross-contamination or not washing the vegetables well. The book does stress the importance of not using chlorine-treated water so it must be filtered in some way to remove it. Don't want to kill the good bacteria, I suppose.

    I'm not sure how well these concepts would work if you have a very small kitchen or don't have a keeping room or cellar. Instructions are given for digging out a small keeping area and topping it with a large flat rock you can slide off. I just gathered you need a good work and storage space.

    Directions for making drying racks with screen are given. I have heard of using a discarded screen door for large amounts of drying.

    I often do not have huge amounts of fruits and vegetables on hand to do massive canning. The amounts here seem to be very manageable, as well as easy to try out the different types of preservation on the same item to see which you prefer.

    I didn't quite know what to make of the jelly/sugar section. The blueberry recipe sort of bewildered me as you are to mix fresh blueberries with what is left of last year's blueberry mixture (not pure blueberries). Sorry, but I don't have any of last year's mixture as I just bought the book and I'm not even sure what was in last year's mixture. I assume it contains some sort of fermented starter, like a fermented bread starter.

    I was intrigued by the alcohol section, especially the recipes for elderberry and dandelion wines.

    Some of the recipes are for basic canning. You have to have hot, sterilized jars. It wasn't mentioned, but when the recipe tells you to place the lids on the jars for a seal, I think the jar still needs to be hot. The overall impression of some of the recipes is that you meander around the kitchen and process when you feel like it. I saw my grandmother do this when she only had enough to fill a few jars and she called it canning, even though she also used a pressure canner.

    This is not a literal cookbook to me. This is a collection of recipes from residents in Terre Vivante. Some of the recipes are vague at best, offering no measurements or ratios. Some are more specific, thankfully. As I am unfamiliar with the finished product, I am afraid that I might over or underestimate the amount of herbs or spices. Some of the recipes gave instructions on how to preserve zucchini and other vegetables through drying, but no idea how to use it in a recipe. Do you put it in dry or have to rehydrate it first?

    A few of the recipes seemed to be different versions for the same item, so perhaps those could be combined for one functional recipe. ...more info
  • An excellent book for those who wish to eat healthy all year long.
    I read the previous edition of this book ("Keeping Food Fresh"), then bought this edition for my daughter. All of the methods I have tried from this book have been very good. I appreciate knowing how to preserve food the way people used to (and obviously some still do), without having to destroy so many nutrients through canning. Many of the recipes in here can be adapted to other foods. For example, I took a recipe on pickled onions (lactic acid fermentation), eliminated the spices, and substituted garlic for the onion. I now have a wonderful method of preserving garlic to get that fresh taste all year long. I can also just use the juice. These methods also preserve food for a longer period of time than freezing does....more info
  • A very useful book, that calls to mind grandmas of the world!
    I ordered this book a bit over a month ago. I received it very promptly and read it front to back the same day. I was totally amazed by the varied methods of preserving- from using root cellaring to fermenting to using salt and oils and even making jams and jellies! This book is teaching me a lot of methods that I remember my grandmother telling me and my cousins about. Up til now they were lost to time as she died when I was young and too little to remember everything she did. The most exciting thing for me is first making sauerkraut and then the dandelion wine recipe. I have already started the wine, and once I bottle it (next week) I'm using my crock to make some kraut. I can't wait. I'm also anxious to try making some jam. I really like the idea of not using high-temperature canning, since I've always thought that it changes the flavor. When I taste before canning, I love the fresh flavor, but after having been canned, its just off somehow. My mom tells me I'm nuts, but we'll see when I try out one of these recipes that doesn't use that method. I'm sure the freshness will come through.

    I read some other reviewers saying that the recipes aren't concise enough, not giving exact amounts, etc.. I find this to be a lot of hooey. The recipes are as concise as they need to be. Sometimes you seriously need to use some common sense. Its not too far fetched to see these mothers and grandmothers from the Terre Vivante just adjusting recipes to their own taste. Thats all you need to do when you are questionable about amounts. Adjust them to meet YOUR standards. After all, when all is said and done what they did doesn't matter, it matters what you do and what your tastebuds tell you.

    The most useful part of this book, I think is the chart at the back showing the basic and alternate methods of preserving almost every fruit or vegetable I can even think of, and then some. The descriptions of each method at the beginning of each chapter and the introductions at the front of the book are all also very informative. And of course, the descriptions of what to do in the recipes in the farmers' own words, along with who they are and where they're from are priceless. They put me in mind of my grandmothers' recipes. Totally authentic and interesting to me to see how they actually make them. I think anyone who wants to learn about traditional methods should get this book! And maybe a second one too if your as messy in the kitchen as me! I'm sure to need to get another one in the coming years as it'll be like the rest of my favorite recipe books, splattered and spilled on til the recipes are almost unreadable. :o) hehe. -FYI this review by, MRS. S.G. Bewley...more info
  • A Plethora of Life-Sustaining Flavor
    This detailed and inclusive book includes all of the old-style methods of food preservation that came before canning and freezing technologies. With detailed instructions (sometimes several sets for each method) and discussion of why each method is used (or not) for varying foods, this is the perfect primer for anyone interested in learning alternative food preservation methods.

    An ideal resource and companion for anyone looking to return to a simpler style of living.

    Old-time recipes & tools for the modern era. A serious must-have for any gardener, survivalist, primitive skills enthusiast, or food-lover....more info
  • Preserving food
    Very nice book. Lots of information on very old, but also contemporary, methods of food preservation. Recipes that have never previously been published. Simple, practical, ways to store the harvest....more info
  • Useful information
    This book is an excellent source of information and techniques. It is clearly written and the recipes are really easy to follow. A must have for any serious home preserver. ...more info
  • New old ways
    I do a lot of preserving of food and try to eat in season and use nearby food sources. There were some new (old) ways I was not aware of. ...more info
  • Excellent Recipes
    This book has just what I wanted: Some simple, low-cost, low-energy ways of preserving food. I will be using these techniques extensively this summer and fall....more info
  • Food for the Gods from our Forefathers: What good taste they had!
    I'm so glad that this book exists! All the simple and proven methods of food preservation that any of us can use and all without a freezer or complicated sterilization processes.

    What a joy to read about simple and natural methods that not only preserve fruits and vegetables, but that make them taste better and in many cases make them positively gourmet!

    Every person should grab a copy of this book whether they grow their own vegetables or not. Imagine being able to purchase fruit in season at reasonable prices, and then take some of it and preserve it for the dark days of winter when it would be prohibitively expensive. Our forefathers (and those great foremothers that did the preserving and came up with the 'recipes')knew to preserve not only the bounty of the summer and fall harvest, but to preserve the nutrition that is stored in the produce.

    Vinegar, oil, salt, alcohol, sugar, drying methods too simple to name were all developed so that they (and we!) can eat food fit for the Gods all winter until the spring harvests. Each one of us can make a simple salt and water brine and preserve green beans. Each one of us can string a multitude of fruits and vegetables on strings and dry them for later rehydration in stews, soups, cobblers and pies.

    What a book! What simple and flavorful methods! I'm so glad that this collection from the 'Gardeners and Farmers of Terre Vivante' was compiled so that all of us can benefit not only from their expertise, but from the nutrition and flavor that we can capture and hold over from harvest to harvest.

    Get this book. Bronze it and pass it on to your children, friends and family. Everyone should know how to preserve food...whether they have bought it or grown it. Invaluable! TEN stars! ...more info
  • A 'must' for collections strong in either cooking or ecological living.
    The usual book on preserving garden produce assumes boiling or freezing vegetables or fruits will take place - but Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Stage, and Lactic Fermentation uses little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles, is newly translated into English for American audiences, and uses less costly methods featuring locally grown, minimally refined fruits and vegetables. It's a cut above your usual 'how to preserve' title and a 'must' for collections strong in either cooking or ecological living....more info
  • Not for beginners
    As some other folks have noted, this book is very much for people who already have some decent experience with food preservation. There are some interesting ideas but a complete lack of details and some just plain dangerous suggestions. For example, the notion that you can throw some raw garlic cloves into a bottle of olive oil and leave it to stew in the sun for several months is beyond irresponsible. If you don't know why I'm saying that, you shouldn't buy this book. Instead you should go google "garlic in oil". ...more info
    I like this book. It is well organized and tells how to organize food storage and how to use it.

    Seeing what happened during Katrina it became necessary to think a little of what if's! KY experienced Hurricane Ike last September and many were without electric, and services for weeks! Things happen and it is always good to be prepared! Guess it is from Scout background but they are right! One can store as they have room or see fit for their needs.

    I recommend this book. It is an easy book to read and follow. ...more info
  • A word of caution
    This book has a lot of recipes that sound interesting and worth trying, but I would like to see the issue of food safety be addressed in greater detail and for each recipe (or at least for each section). For example, I would be very hesitant to use the recipes listed in the chapter on preserving in oil, for fear of botulism. I would be interested in hearing a review from somebody who works at the FDA or USDA.

    Perhaps readers might be interested in the following references:
    1. Solomon H, Kautter DA, Rhodehamel EJ, et al: Evaluation of
    unacidified products bottled in oil for outgrowth and toxin
    production by _Clostridium botulinum_. J Food Protect 1990; 54: 648-9.
    2. Morse DL, Pickard LK, Guzewich JJ, et al: Garlic-in-oil associated
    botulism: episode leads to product modification. Am J Pub Health
    1990; 80: 1372-3....more info


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