What inspired you to write your book?
I had always wanted to learn how to can food at home and in 2006 I taught myself how to do it. I got hooked and started doing it a lot. Then I had the opportunity to give a seminar about home canning and I was amazed when 20 people showed up to watch me boil water. Shortly thereafter, I was invited to be a guest on green living podcast and discuss home canning. Because people seemed so interested in the information, I expanded upon my handouts from the seminar and created a guidebook and added some recipes. It’s not a big guide, but it will quickly teach people what to do and give them the confidence to learn home canning. It’s a great way to stock up on delicious food. Home preserved food tastes so much better than anything from the grocery store.
About your Book:
Preserve the bounty of your garden, support local growers, claim total control over ingredients, increase your food security, and enjoy great tasting foods that beat the pants off of anything from a factory. All of this is possible with home canning, and you are absolutely capable of mastering this easy-to-learn and affordable food preservation method. Once the commonplace domestic art of most households, home canning faded for a while but is again attracting a new generation of enthusiasts. This short guide quickly presents everything you need to know to safely preserve delicious foods like jams, fruits, relishes, pickles, soups, and most importantly tomatoes. Nothing at the store tastes as good as homemade tomato sauce preserved from tomatoes the day they were picked at the perfect peak of ripeness. Stop wondering if you could can food in your home kitchen and start doing it. This guide is written from the direct experience of the author who uses both the boiling water bath and pressure canning methods to preserve a variety of foods.
This guide specifically addresses how to use a boiling water bath and a pressure canner. You will also learn how to easily decide which one you should use for any specific food. The principles of safety and how to prevent food spoilage are explained. A selection of recipes for popular foods is also included with a detailed emphasis on ways to preserve tomatoes and applesauce. Advice on ways to find affordable fresh local produce is also offered. If you are interested in affordably improving the quality of the food you eat, supporting local food, and expanding the productivity of your home garden, then you definitely need to learn home canning.
Cuisine Style or Food Genre
Home food preservation
Sample Recipe or Food Advice
In this canning recipe you can either chop the peaches or puree them. I prefer it chunky, but making a smooth marmalade with the pureed peaches would be fine.
Peach marmalade ingredients:
1/4 cup water
3 pounds peaches
1 (1-3/4 ounces) package powdered fruit pectin
5 cups sugar
Quarter the orange and lemon and remove any seeds. Then cut the orange and lemon wedges into very thin slices. Cook the citrus slices and the 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan. Cover the pan and simmer the orange and lemon for 20 minutes. Check the simmering citrus slices periodically. I once burnt them all up after the water boiled off.
Prepare the peaches by peeling them, pitting them, and dicing into small chunks or puree them in a food processor. Combine the peaches with the orange and lemon mixture in a big stock pot. Stir the pectin into the fruit and bring to a full rolling boil. Then stir in the sugar. As the sugar dissolves bring the mixture back to a full rolling boil while stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and skim off foam. Ladle the marmalade into sterilized half pint or pint jars. Make sure to stir up the marmalade as you go so that the fruit remains evenly distributed. Leave a 1/4 inch headspace in the jars, wipe clean the rims, and apply the lids.
Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath and then remove. Leave jars undisturbed for at least 12 hours before checking the seals. Wipe clean the jars and lids and store in a cupboard for up to one year. Yields 6 to 8 half pints.
What formats are your books in
How do you see writing a food/cookbook as different from writing other genres of books?
Although I am primarily a fiction writer, I also enjoy writing nonfiction subjects, and it’s what I was trained for. I still try to keep a little personality in the writing, but have to always focus on clear communication for the reader. Also a cookbook needs very careful fact checking and proofreading. I had to be careful that I was always stating the correct times, amounts, and temperatures for things.
Advice to someone that is thinking about or currently working on a food book or cookbook
When you’re writing a cookbook always step back and ask yourself questions. Look for holes in your directions. Imagine a reader trying to follow your recipe or acquire a skill for the first time. Be clear and explain everything in chronological steps. Save rambling philosophies and anecdotes for paragraphs outside of the actual recipe. Write everything you want, but keep recipes clearly designated with clear directions.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I decided to publish my cookbook because that’s what I do. I write and publish books! I’ve been self publishing for years and have my own company. It did not even occur to me to seek another publisher. I chose to publish it through ebook retailers mostly as a trial to see if anyone was interested. There’s lots of competition but in this category there is also an insatiable desire for information from the reading public. Sales have been consistent and rising since publication in 2011.
Tracy Falbe is an author who is always looking for ways to make her lifestyle more sustainable and low polluting. She currently lives in Michigan, but lived many years in Northern California, a place she still loves. She likes to grow food, write novels, go bicycling, and watch endless documentaries no matter how depressing they are. She has direct experience with the recipes and techniques explained in her home canning guide. She has fed home preserved food to her children for years.
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