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Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, 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 f 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.


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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 f 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Doris Jean

    I loved this book. It reviews some of the old traditional techniques for saving food which have been passed down for generations–until now, when this knowledge has been recently fading from our food culture. Big Food corporations have gradually usurped and replaced these methods with factory manufacturing and harsh laboratory chemicals at the expense of nutrients. I liked the root cellar instructions for trench silos, steamer silos, hanging, drying, and barrel storage. This is done in tune with I loved this book. It reviews some of the old traditional techniques for saving food which have been passed down for generations–until now, when this knowledge has been recently fading from our food culture. Big Food corporations have gradually usurped and replaced these methods with factory manufacturing and harsh laboratory chemicals at the expense of nutrients. I liked the root cellar instructions for trench silos, steamer silos, hanging, drying, and barrel storage. This is done in tune with the seasons at harvest time and gently preserves food until plants can begin to grown again in the spring. I saved the easy Provence olive storage method for the next time I have access to fresh olives. I have already used the the sun-drying and string-drying methods for vegetables and herbs and fruits successfully. There are salting, brining, pureeing, powdering, fermenting methods for various fruits, vegetables and meats which I use regularly. I adopted the oil preservation lessons I learned in this book and I now have many jars of food preserved in oil alone or vinegar alone or in both oil and vinegar. Vinegar pickling is not live fermentation since fermenting bacteria cannot reproduce in vinegar. I especially like to live-ferment vegetables using only brine (which is lacto-fermentation) and these lacto-bacilli support intestinal health. There are NO live probiotic bacilli in the vinegar pickles now sold to us in our grocery stores by Big Food manufacturers. I intend to try some of the recipes such as "Carob Honey" which is a way to make a sweet syrup from carob beans without adding sugar, and this natural sweetener was a favorite of biblical times and is still appreciated today as part of the food culture of Galilee, Israel. (The "St. John's Bread" of the bible was made with the carob bean.) I plan also to try several of the "no-added-sugar" simple recipes for jams and jellies which I saved. These recipes are simple and easy ways to preserve fresh fruit. One such was Pear Puree - made only with fresh pears; and there was an Apple-Quince Jelly recipe - made only with apples and quinces and one teaspoon of cinnamon. Food preservation traditions were developed long, long ago, long before machines and refrigerators and dehydrators and the like. Survivalists should enjoy this book tremendously, as well as anyone who wants to preserve nutrients in unprocessed food. I enjoy the simple, gentle and easy old-fashioned spirit of traditional food preservation.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Okay, this book is soooo fun! I now have raw lemons on my shelf in my cold food storage! Should be good for a "VERY LONG TIME" according to the book. No cooking, no juicing, no peeling! Oh my goodness it was so easy, it was a little scary! OK maybe I'm being a giddy little school girl, but I can't help but be excited by the prospect of a fresh lemons for cooking or just for eating when the famine comes!!!!! This book teaches about Lactic Fermentation which is preserving foods with their own Okay, this book is soooo fun! I now have raw lemons on my shelf in my cold food storage! Should be good for a "VERY LONG TIME" according to the book. No cooking, no juicing, no peeling! Oh my goodness it was so easy, it was a little scary! OK maybe I'm being a giddy little school girl, but I can't help but be excited by the prospect of a fresh lemons for cooking or just for eating when the famine comes!!!!! This book teaches about Lactic Fermentation which is preserving foods with their own juices and a little bit of salt, you need a ceramin (stoneware) crock and you are on your way to preserving food without freezing or canning. WOW! I love discovering new secrets!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Harley

    I checked this out from our public library and I'll definitely be purchasing a copy of my own. It is filled with various preservation techniques and recipes(except for freezing and canning) that were submitted to a gardening publication in France. Initially,I was mainly interested in the (lactic acid) fermentation section, but after reading through some of the preservation recipes for vinegar,salt,sugar and drying,that have been included,I decided I needed to add the title to my personal collect I checked this out from our public library and I'll definitely be purchasing a copy of my own. It is filled with various preservation techniques and recipes(except for freezing and canning) that were submitted to a gardening publication in France. Initially,I was mainly interested in the (lactic acid) fermentation section, but after reading through some of the preservation recipes for vinegar,salt,sugar and drying,that have been included,I decided I needed to add the title to my personal collection. Note: This is the original title, the second edition was released under a different name: Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jen Hartley

    Great ideas for preserving food without electricity. This book is truly traditional, in that it doesn't cover canning or freezing, unlike most other books on the market about preserving food. Right now I am experimenting mostly with drying food and lactic fermentation (just bought a crock and lid and have the first batch of sauerkraut going). I love the format of this book, drawing upon traditional European "peasant" knowledge-- makes me feel in touch with my ancestors, who probably knew all abo Great ideas for preserving food without electricity. This book is truly traditional, in that it doesn't cover canning or freezing, unlike most other books on the market about preserving food. Right now I am experimenting mostly with drying food and lactic fermentation (just bought a crock and lid and have the first batch of sauerkraut going). I love the format of this book, drawing upon traditional European "peasant" knowledge-- makes me feel in touch with my ancestors, who probably knew all about root cellaring and burying cabbages and carrots and preserving with oils and vinegars and whatnot. This is a very valuable resource for anyone interested in food preservation.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    A must have in my reference library. I'm anxious to try a number of recipes and storage techniques that go way beyond canning and freezing. The book talks about storage methods using salt, oil, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, drying, cold storage and latic fermentation. Looking forward to trying this one, for example: "Nasturtium Seed Capers, Toward the of summer collect the green seeds from nasturtiums that have lost their blossoms. Put these in a jar along with dill leave A must have in my reference library. I'm anxious to try a number of recipes and storage techniques that go way beyond canning and freezing. The book talks about storage methods using salt, oil, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, drying, cold storage and latic fermentation. Looking forward to trying this one, for example: "Nasturtium Seed Capers, Toward the of summer collect the green seeds from nasturtiums that have lost their blossoms. Put these in a jar along with dill leaves and a good white wine vinegar. The taste and shape are somewhat reminiscent of capers." Would have done it this year except our nasturtiums were invaded by aphids. Aphid capers doesn't sound as tasty.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brad Belschner

    Sample recipes: rosehip jam with honey, sauerkraut made from whole cabbages, goat cheese in olive oil, green beans in a salt pot, apples dried with elderflowers, etc. This book wasn't what I expected, but it's really good nonetheless. It's not a systematic guide to food preservation; it's simply an organized collection of family recipes. The French organic gardening magazine, "Les Quatre Saisons du Jardinage", asked its readers to contribute their traditional recipes for preserving fr Sample recipes: rosehip jam with honey, sauerkraut made from whole cabbages, goat cheese in olive oil, green beans in a salt pot, apples dried with elderflowers, etc. This book wasn't what I expected, but it's really good nonetheless. It's not a systematic guide to food preservation; it's simply an organized collection of family recipes. The French organic gardening magazine, "Les Quatre Saisons du Jardinage", asked its readers to contribute their traditional recipes for preserving fruits and vegetables (without freezing or canning). This book is the result.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    If you made *nothing* from this collection of recipes, it would still be 100% worth a read. Fascinating recipes from organic gardeners all over France, many of which offer details that reveal the origin of the method, something about their family history, the taste of the gardener, etc. You gotta love the recipes that start off with "First get a clean, regular-sized barrel..." a BARREL! Many methods of preservation are introduced, included root cellars, lacto-fermentation, jams, fruit-in-booze, If you made *nothing* from this collection of recipes, it would still be 100% worth a read. Fascinating recipes from organic gardeners all over France, many of which offer details that reveal the origin of the method, something about their family history, the taste of the gardener, etc. You gotta love the recipes that start off with "First get a clean, regular-sized barrel..." a BARREL! Many methods of preservation are introduced, included root cellars, lacto-fermentation, jams, fruit-in-booze, and many more. And the methods are sound; I've used many recipes and plan to try the rest.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    These old-school, ancient recipes from the French gardeners and farmers of Terre Vivante are amazing. We've messed with canning and making preservers, but these recipes demonstrate the fundamentals of preserving in the ground, by drying, fermenting, with salt or with natural sugars. You can preserve food with very little energy input and also make something delicious that makes the time spent washing, peeling, straining whole fruits and veggies worthwhile. I borrowed this book, definitely will i These old-school, ancient recipes from the French gardeners and farmers of Terre Vivante are amazing. We've messed with canning and making preservers, but these recipes demonstrate the fundamentals of preserving in the ground, by drying, fermenting, with salt or with natural sugars. You can preserve food with very little energy input and also make something delicious that makes the time spent washing, peeling, straining whole fruits and veggies worthwhile. I borrowed this book, definitely will invest in my own copy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emily Mellow

    I really liked the emphasis on preserving nutrition and vitality in foods. I am definitely making sun-dried tomatoes this summer, and I'm going to try more lacto-fermented veggies, including pickles. There were a lot of good ideas, but sadly no pictures. All the ideas were sent in by readers, and some may be questionable. Still, a great way to preserve family recipes and local preservation customs.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Kenney

    Can't wait to own this book and to try some of the recipes. there are many wonderful techniques in this book for preserving food without freezing or canning. I will definitely be trying some of them with my tomatoes and peppers harvest this fall. I have yet to try any of the recipes, but, unlike other reviewers, I have no fears about preserving food with the methods described in this book as humans have been using these methods WAY longer than refrigerators have been in existence.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mrs.

    Very basic and simplistic. Recommend getting it from the library before you think about buying it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    This book has what looks to be some very interesting and enticing recipes of preserving food in the more old fashioned style before freezing and canning became the norm. However, the recipes in this book were compiled from those sent in by readers of a magazine which leads to two downsides: 1) there are some, though thankfully not too many, where there seem to be almost repeats -- the recipes are similar but not exactly the same, leading the reader to have to try them out to figure out which wor This book has what looks to be some very interesting and enticing recipes of preserving food in the more old fashioned style before freezing and canning became the norm. However, the recipes in this book were compiled from those sent in by readers of a magazine which leads to two downsides: 1) there are some, though thankfully not too many, where there seem to be almost repeats -- the recipes are similar but not exactly the same, leading the reader to have to try them out to figure out which works best. 2) Because the readers of said magazine are in France, the recipes are rather locationally-specific, calling for some ingredients that I have never even heard of in all my Pacific Coast-life but also excluding other forms of food preservation from other parts of the world save for the solitary mentions of Carob honey and chutneys. However, it is great to see the "older" ways of food preservation (the entire time while reading I had to keep reminding myself that this book was published in the nineties not the fifties) and it's also nice that the editors put in the effort to minimize the amount of sugar/salt/oil/vinegar/alcohol in the recipes they selected even when those are the primary ingredients for food preservation.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    Okay I feel really stupid but I didn't realize I guess that cookbooks counted...? I've read half a dozen canning and cooking etc preserving books this year, thumbing through recipes when I have time and never thought to put them down here. Aside from that this book is amazing. The recipes and suggestions and preserving techniques are fascinating and I am excited to start using them. The Meyer lemons in salt is particularly interesting, especially as I've seen it show up in several can Okay I feel really stupid but I didn't realize I guess that cookbooks counted...? I've read half a dozen canning and cooking etc preserving books this year, thumbing through recipes when I have time and never thought to put them down here. Aside from that this book is amazing. The recipes and suggestions and preserving techniques are fascinating and I am excited to start using them. The Meyer lemons in salt is particularly interesting, especially as I've seen it show up in several canning books as well. It's apparently used quite extensively in Mediterranean cooking and while I'm not a fan of lemons necessarily, I'm actually wanting to do this not only for the flavor but also I'm wondering how this preserving technique will affect the lemons. While I'm a firm believer in pH balanced water bath canning, I'm very excited to try these recipes and see how they work. The only reason this doesn't get five stars is because I am a little hesitant to stand by a lot of these recipes as it is incredibly dangerous to can food without thoroughly cooking the food and sterilizing the jars first. Other than that, great book I'd recommend it for canners and cooks alike!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I have to admit that the title of this book had me raising an eyebrow, and when I told my grandmother about it, she was also a bit concerned but curious. Even if you don't prepare a single recipe in this book, it is great to read from a cultural anthropology point of view. It is also a great way to learn about the various cultural and historical methods of preserving foods. My grandmother has nothing to worry about. I can't wait to tell her how the book contained the same methods of p I have to admit that the title of this book had me raising an eyebrow, and when I told my grandmother about it, she was also a bit concerned but curious. Even if you don't prepare a single recipe in this book, it is great to read from a cultural anthropology point of view. It is also a great way to learn about the various cultural and historical methods of preserving foods. My grandmother has nothing to worry about. I can't wait to tell her how the book contained the same methods of preserving tomatoes, onions, and garlic long after the harvest when fresh vegetables were scarce (i.e., during WWII). While I don't plan on using every recipe for preserving in this book, I have definitely picked up some good bits of wisdom and lore on traditional food preservation methods. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who follows a non-traditional diet and/or for the cultural anthropologists out there.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Great info on food preservation This book has some really good info on food preservation. Some of the instructions are confusing or unclear, however. Overall it's quite good for anyone looking to get into food storage without using freezing or canning.

  16. 4 out of 5

    April

    I'm glad this book exists but won't be using any of the recipes.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Megan Youngmee

    Amazing book. Delicious, easy, wise.

  18. 5 out of 5

    George Hohbach

    This book is easy to read, well organized and the instructions are clear and simple. If you are interested in this topic, I can highly recommend this precious book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cass

    The year I grew 30 cabbages in my garden, I tried making sauerkraut. It was good but too salty for our palates. If I had tried one of the recipes in this book, we may have like it better. This book is full of the 'old' ways of preserving food while retaining nutrients. Those of us who have been taught food preservation by canning and freezing might have a hard time eating green bean that are preserved by lactic fermination: String the beans, place them uncooked in jars and cover with The year I grew 30 cabbages in my garden, I tried making sauerkraut. It was good but too salty for our palates. If I had tried one of the recipes in this book, we may have like it better. This book is full of the 'old' ways of preserving food while retaining nutrients. Those of us who have been taught food preservation by canning and freezing might have a hard time eating green bean that are preserved by lactic fermination: String the beans, place them uncooked in jars and cover with cold water. Twenty-four hours later, discard this water and replace it with fresh water. Repeat 3 more times, every 24 hours. Move the jars to a cool, dark place. But the author does caution to be safe in the handling of the food and use the recipes as advised. I like the statement that is made about how "the scientific techniques produce dead foods and literally seal them in coffins." That is something to think about and makes me want to go buy this book (checked out this copy from the library) and try some of the recipes this growing season. I think one of the best things you could have to store garden produce would be a root cellar.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christel

    Anything I was interested in trying, I found was either too general to figure it out or missing some steps that made it safe. I've dehydrated tomatoes and then put them in oil. You can't just put something in oil. The other people who gave this a 2 star rating on Amazon said a lot of what I was thinking. So I'll keep searching for ways to do things. NOTE: I have put fresh fruit in alcohol and let it sit with whatever herbs and spices I wanted to add, strained it out, and then added simple syrup. Anything I was interested in trying, I found was either too general to figure it out or missing some steps that made it safe. I've dehydrated tomatoes and then put them in oil. You can't just put something in oil. The other people who gave this a 2 star rating on Amazon said a lot of what I was thinking. So I'll keep searching for ways to do things. NOTE: I have put fresh fruit in alcohol and let it sit with whatever herbs and spices I wanted to add, strained it out, and then added simple syrup. Once I put the fruit into an already sweetened flavored liquor thinking it would be interesting, and the whole thing molded. Not always can you tell something's gone bad, and food poisoning is no fun, nor do you want to waste food.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meghan Fidler

    While some of the directions in this book are a little difficult to follow (all of the recipes were submitted by readers of a journal, and translation may also have added a difficulty), this book was filled with thing I had never before encountered. I can't wait to hunt down a basswood tree, actual linden flowers, and earthen pots for lactic fermentation! I adore that this was a 'ground up' cookbook, and that the respondents were older folk living in relatively rural areas. It's an entirely diff While some of the directions in this book are a little difficult to follow (all of the recipes were submitted by readers of a journal, and translation may also have added a difficulty), this book was filled with thing I had never before encountered. I can't wait to hunt down a basswood tree, actual linden flowers, and earthen pots for lactic fermentation! I adore that this was a 'ground up' cookbook, and that the respondents were older folk living in relatively rural areas. It's an entirely different way of preparing food.

  22. 4 out of 5

    G

    A great resource. The book is a compilation of many people giving their traditional methods. Some as simple as stringing apples slices on a string to dry. I have had fantastic results drying many foods with wood frame/black window screen frames we put together. I ran across a recommendation for the book from a site I was using for more Weston A Price 'style' recipes. I'm definitely enjoying these new foods.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    Wonderful resource for preserving foodstuffs. I was intrigued with the process of using salt, oil and sugar to extend the length of freshness but I was not expecting the ideas and usefulness the authors presented. Granted, here in the Unites States, we don't commonly grown/eat some of the produce that is grown in France, but you will not regret owning your own copy. I initially borrowed the book from my local library and have now ordered my very own version.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning probably isn't a book that will stay on my shelf forever. However, it's a very interesting peek into old European food preservation methods and has helped me figure out a few categories of new recipes I want to try out.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

    Just realized I never posted a review for this. It's a great reference guide for food preservation, lots of interesting ideas and recipes. I think it's fantastic that regional recipes have been preserved this way, and it's also good to see an alternative to freezing/canning that preserves more of the vitamin content.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    This is more of a recipe book than a book on techniques. There are load of variants, but no information on generalizing the techniques. It might be because you can sort of make stuff up as you go, I'd worry about making up something that has to sit for a month before you can test the results, especially when food safety might be an issue.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Fritze

    A really fun and informative read! This book is a collection of recipes that have been passed down between families and neighbors. Each recipe is specific to the food being preserved and the best technique used. I've tried one or two recipes with success, and I look forward to trying more. A good index lets you cross-reference different recipes for preserving a given food.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Thomasin

    "Celebrating traditional but little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles..." Very interesting stuff in here! Drying, packing in oil, lactic fermentation, preserving with salt or sugar: this book has ideas for saving your garden's produce that I've never heard of in any other book. I'm eager to try out the directlons/recipes this year.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Excellent advice for sustainable, low-energy methods of traditional food preservation. I'm going to try many of these methods this fall! Since I have built a very functional root cellar, I am thrilled to have this useful advice for how to use it well (as well as many other preservation methods which involve oil, salt, vinegar, etc.).

  30. 5 out of 5

    N.L. Riviezzo

    While I appreciated the information on other ways to preserve fruits and vegetables, I was hoping there would be some recipes for meat. A few of the submitted recipes are vague or have statements like 'remove the mold before mixing up the contents' which makes me hesitant to try them. Other recipes seem worthwhile and worth the purchasing of this book.

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