Okay, people, I’m feeling generous again. Now that school is out and it’s officially summertime, I have pickling on my mind. Even more so since I started flipping through the new book Put ‘Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton, a charming ode to canning, pickling, and other methods of putting food by. An excerpt:
“…Home food preservation is a natural progression of the Real Food Revival—our increasing demand for food that is grown the way it should and used to be. We want food that’s good for the farmer, the environment, and ourselves. Putting up food is part of this passion. It’s part of coveting the harvest so much that you can’t let it slip through your fingers so fleetingly. It’s part of cherishing the work of local growers or your own toil in the backyard and wanting to hold on to some aspect of that even when fields lie fallow.”
Well, not so much my own toil. I prefer to cherish other people’s toil, but I get her point. Plus pickling is like tasty time travel. Not only does it yield a healthful, homemade snack, but it also allows you to return to a moment, a place, a memory—whether it’s the sunny spot where you picked your own summer beans or the rainy morning when you finally decided to bite the bullet and boil some jars. You get to remember those simple pleasures many months down the road while eating something delicious that you thoughtfully put aside for yourself.
This book is a great introduction to the art of freezing, drying, brining, canning, and otherwise storing your bountiful summer produce for later enjoyment. Included are recipes for quick and fermented pickles, like dilly beans, pickled beets, and sauerkraut. Other recipes that had me daydreaming: cherry and black pepper preserves, spicy peach salsa, sweet pepper marmalade, charred chili barbecue sauce, fennel and onion jam, rhubarb jelly, roasted pepper ketchup, and watermelon granita. Plus it has such cute pictures of hand-labeled jars. Adorable!
So here’s the deal. Storey Publishing, a nice little publisher out in western Mass., will give away two cookbooks, one to each of two lucky readers. And all you have to do is regale me with a story about the best pickle you ever had in the comment section. That’s right, one more homework assignment before you’re off for the summer. But if you win, you have to promise you’ll actually make something out of the book. No entering yourself in the lottery and then letting the book sit on a shelf. I’ll walk over there and take it back.
Okay, enough with the empty threats. You have until sometime on Sunday. Ready, set, go!