A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spring Greens

Nothing wakes your senses from Winter slumber like bright, crisp, fresh Spring greens.  Nature's plan is for these to act like a tonic, cleansing your system of winter fats (and holiday eating).  Our tastebuds are so eager for that first crunchy salad!  I like to make supper salads; lots of greens, chunks of any meat or fish and whatever fresh veggies are coming into farmers market.  This is one way to stretch your meat budget as half or less a portion of meat is plenty for a filling salad.

A good salad spinner is a must in my kitchen for drying greens well after rinsing in cool water.  Drying greens, and other veggies, allows for dressings to coat them better and keeps them from spattering when cooking them in oils or fats.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Poundcake - May Dessert of the Month

This is a dense, delicious and moist cake with much versatility.  It stores well in the fridge for weeks and freezes well, keeping its quality for months in the freezer.  It thaws in minutes.  This is a wonderful cake to have on hand for a last-minute dessert, brunch or coffee break food.  It travels well and the sauce, kept separate, can be added last minute.  It can be served simply with a dusting of cocoa or powdered sugar and fruit garnish, or presented as a rich dessert with a sauce or brandied fruit and whipped cream.  I generally make mine with vanilla, but other flavorings are just as nice--almond or lemon. 

Here is the basic recipe followed by some suggested sauces:
Poundcake   Makes 1 regular-size bread pan (or a cake pan for wedges)
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 medium eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1-1/2 cups flour

Except flour, mix ingredients in order, beating well after each addition.  Add flour and stir just until incorporated.  Spoon into regular-size bread loaf pan.  Put in cold oven.  Turn to 350 and cook 45-60 min—until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 15 min before removing from pans and cool completely before slicing.  Slices best cold or next day.  I slice as I need it.  Refrigerate or freeze.  Serve on dusting of powdered sugar or with a topping below.
Sweetened whip cream:  Add 1 oz. honey or syrup to 1 pint of heavy whipping cream before whipping.  Whip in chilled bowl or crock with beaters on high.
Brandied Fruit:  Slowly cook 4 cups cut up fruit ( fresh and/or dried) in ¼ cup of brandy  and 2 Tablespoons sugar until fruit soft.  Top with whipped cream.
Caramel Sauce:  In saucepan, combine ½ cup butter, ½ cup white sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Bring to simmer and cook, stirring, until warm and thick.  Top with pecans.
Chocolate Sauce:  In saucepan, melt ½ cup butter and 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate.  Add 1 cup evaporated milk, ½ cup light corn syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Bring to boil and boil, stirring 1-2 minutes.  Stores well in refrigerator and can be reheated.
Any-Fruit Sauce:  4 cups sliced fruit (mash 1 cup of them), 2/3 cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, 6 Tablespoons water.  Put all in saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat.  Boil and stir 1-2 minutes.  Cool.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Morels and Fiddleheads--Mushroom Soup!

Dave and I went morel hunting and got 12 medium-large mushrooms.  We also picked some fiddlehead ferns.  I Made mushroom soup for supper.  It was delicious; and a fiddlehead salad on the side made for a perfect Spring meal after a day of foraging.
Cream of Mushroom Soup  (fills two soup bowls)                                                
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 TB diced onion                                                           
1 TB diced celery
12 large morels, 
or 2 cups any variety mushrooms,cut up 
  (rehydrate 1+ c dried mushrooms in 1 cup boiling red wine)
pinch of dill weed
1 cup chicken broth with 1 tsp chicken boullion
2 cups Half and Half
splash of red wine (optional but good)
dash or pepper
--Saute onions, celery and mushrooms in butter; add flour and cook a little until the flour starts starts to brown.  Stir in chicken broth until smooth and thickened.  Add Half and Half (any combo of milk and cream) and splash of wine (if desired).  Heat through.

Fiddlehead Fern Salad  
(They are best eaten the day picked; they lose flavor & quality after a day)
Bunch of fiddlehead ferns, snapped off a few inches below curled head
Garlic clove
Olive oil
Pinch of Thyme
Balsamic vinegar or vinegarette
Little honey (or sugar) if desired

Remove any brown-paper-like covering from fiddlehead.  Rinse well, drain, pat dry. Slice garlic clove in half and rub entire bottom of medium fry pan.  Coat pan bottom with olive oil.  Toss in small hunk of butter and thyme.  Heat until butter melted and bubbles appear around edges of pan.  Add ferns in single layer and cook until starting to soften.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and add splash of balsamic vinegar or vinegarette.  I sometimes add a few drips of honey to the vinegar to mellow it out.  Toss to coat ferns.

Fiddlehead’s flavor resembles asparagus with a little nutty flavor.  Their season coincides with morel mushrooms.  Use a guide if you are unsure what they look like as other ferns are not edible.  Best part of fiddleheads—they are free (and up to $6/pound elsewhere)!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Twin Sis Deb and I went to Marge Wartheson’s organic produce farm and each got 8 pounds of organic asparagus.  She gave us a deal at $4.00/pound.  I canned 18 pints of cut-up asparagus and made 12 cups asparagus broth to freeze.  I freeze the broth in one-cup packages and use it for soups, pasta, cooking rice…  I make broth by saving the ends I cut off and cover them with 3-4 inches fresh water in a pot and let the water cook down to half.  If I am freezing the asparagus, I just add the ends to the blanching water and cook down the same.  Strain the broth, cool and freeze or can.

My two favorite asparagus soup recipes:
Asparagus Soup – Broth Style
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic green, sliced (they look just like a green onion) or 1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1-1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tsp thyme
2 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp dill
1 rounded tsp sugar
3-4 cups cut up asparagus
2 cups asparagus broth OR 2 cups or cans chicken broth )
2 tsp chicken boullion (or cubes)
splash white wine
pinch cayenne pepper
--Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms in butter with spices; add broth,
boullion, asparagus and wine and simmer 30 min; add cayenne pepper

Cream of Asparagus Soup
1/4 cup diced onion
2 TB diced celery
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp dill weed
small pinch nutmeg
pinch of black or white pepper
3-4 cups cut asparagus
2 cups asparagus broth OR 2 cups or cans chicken broth )
2 chix boullion cubes or 2 tsp granules
1 quart Half and Half
--Saute onions, celery and mushrooms in butter with dill and nutmeg; add flour and cook a bit until flour starts to brown, stir in broth and boullion until smooth, add asparagus and cook until thickens, stir in H&H and heat through or simmer a bit, stirring frequently.

Ramps and Green Garlic

While at Marge’s farm, we picked up some organic ramps and garlic greens.  They were each in bunches of from 5-7 and cost $2/bunch. 

Garlic greens look just like green onions but are more mild than garlic.  They are excellent in stir fry dishes and make a nice addition to fresh salads.   They are also good sautéed in butter with potatoes or any other seasonal veggie, like green beans.   

Ramps have a delicate oniony, garlicky flavor and are delicious in soups, stir frys, mixed with mashed potatoes or other vegetables and grilled or roasted.  Nice in salads too.  Their greens are edible and can be added to a salad mix or chopped and tossed in soups or  other dishes for a little onion-garlic flavor.  They can be sautee’d in butter and oil and eaten on their own.  They are especially good sautee’d with morels or other mushrooms.  Ramps can be used interchangeably with onion or leeks.  They can be chopped and frozen for later use. 
                                          Garlic Greens                         Ramps
Ramps can be found in the wild (forests) in the Spring—also called wild leeks (only much easier to clean than leeks).  They have the same growing season as morels.

Recipe Ideas for Ramps
-Steam sliced ramps and chopped greens with fresh, cut asparagus and, if available, chopped morels.  Steam until barely soft.  Fold into omelet and top with goat cheese.
-Fry sliced leeks with fresh peas and, if available, chopped morels.  Fry in 1 TB olive oil until peas are just tender.  Stir into cooked rice, risotto or other grain dish.
-Fry sliced ramps in little butter with mushrooms and Italian herbs.  Serve with grated cheese atop as a side dish or spooned over beef.

Getting Ready For a New Growing Season

I like to start with an empty freezer for a new preserving season.  Nothing goes to waste and I can keep track of how much meat and produce we use in a  years' time.  Meats are canned which extends their quality for another year (see previous post on Canning Beef).  Veggies are dehydrated and can be stored for 2-5 years.  Since veggies were blanched before freezing, they can be tossed on the dehydrator with no other processing necessary.  These foods now provide quick summer suppers without cooking, roasting or baking; and are easy to grab for a picnic or camping. 
from  freezer to jars

Monday, May 23, 2011

Homemade Vinegar

Two of the easiest vinegars to make are fruit-scrap vinegar and cider vinegar.  Both result from a simple fermentation process.  I don't use this vinegar in canning because I am unsure of its acidity; but it is healthful and has many delicious uses for cooking.

Fruit Scrap Vinegar
The peelings of a pineapple makes one of the more delicious vinegars; it's called for in many Mexican recipes.  Any fruit scraps will work well though: apple peels and cores, bruised fruit, overripe bananas, overripe berries, grapes or cherries...

Put any of the above fruit in a clean, food-safe container and cover with sugar water--1/4 cup sugar to one quart of water.  Honey can be substituted for the sugar, but it will take a bit longer.  You only need enough sugar water to cover the fruit.  Put cheesecloth on top to keep insects out.  The wider the top, with greater surface area exposed, the less time fermenting will take.

After about a week, when you notice the liquid darkening, strain out the fruit and let the liquid sit another couple of weeks.  Stir it occasionally.  It's ready!  Don't worry about leaving it too long, as it's a staple product and won't turn into anything else.

You may notice a film collecting on the surface.  It's edible and nutritious, nothing wrong.  This is the "mother" of you vinegar and can be used to start a new batch (instead of fruit).  If your "mother" has sunken below the surface with solid blobs, it is inactive.  You can strain it out or use it as vinegar (or toss it).

If mold appears on the surface or fruit of your vinegar--this sometimes happens and I don't know the reason--toss it out and start over.

Cider Vinegar
This is real easy--just let a jar of fresh apple cider sit on the counter (cheesecloth on top).  Within a week, you'll have "hard cider"; and a few weeks later, you'll have cider vinegar.
starting rhubarb vinegar from the ends I cut off the stalks

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Homemade Vanilla

Making your own vanilla is easy and there's no comparison in the richness of vanilla flavor of homemade versus commercial brands.  You simply split three vanilla beans and put them in a glass jar with a cup of vodka (or bourban), cover it and store it in a cool, dark place for a few months.  It's cheaper than commercial products too.

I like to make mine now so it's ready for holiday baking.  I make a double-strength vanilla, saving one bean out for vanilla sugar.

I order Madagascar beans from Penzey's online (they come in threes).
I use a 375ml bottle of vodka and add 5 split beans to it.

The sixth bean I split almost to the top and insert in a jar of sugar for vanilla sugar.  Vanilla sugar is excellent for donut sugar, sprinkled on sugar cookies or added to custards or coffee.  It's excellent in plain scones for a subtle hint of vanilla.  Be sure to leave the bean peeking at the top of the sugar so you can pull it out and stir up the sugar occasionally.  Over time it can lump from the bean moisture.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Making Pasta

I really need a drying rack

  There's nothing as good as a warm pasta dish made with homemade pasta. The ingredients are few so you can always have them on hand to make any variety of pasta.  I often experiment with different shapes and flavors, and they're always a rewarding surprise to my tastebuds.  An easy, no-fail, standard recipe is as follows:

My Pasta
1/2 cup white flour, 1/2 cup semolina flour, 1/2 cup water (or any liquid)
knead for ten minutes
let rest for 20 minutes, covered with plastic wrap
put through pasta machine as per instruction
dry for 1+ hour
cook in boiling, salted water for 3 min.

This recipe makes 4 servings; or 2 very-generous servings, with a little left over. 

You can switch out the water for vegetable broth or boullion.  I save and freeze the juice from my jars of canned veggies, or the juice left over in the food processor after dicing tomatoes or green peppers just for this purpose.  Potato water is especially good.
making pasta with daughter Abby

The pasta roller I would recommend is the Atlas.  It's easy to use, has good instructions and has several options for width and thickness of noodle.  I also use it for making uniquely-long breadstix. 

I'll be posting some of my favorite pasta sauces, salads and dishes in my recipe file soon. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Healthy Broth

A day or two after I cook a roast or poultry, I make broth.  I put the bones or carcass into a large pot, add the pan drippings and water to about 4 inches above the top of the bones.  Toss in some celery, onion, sometimes carrot and sometimes garlic.  Cook, slowly bubbling, until bones start to peek above broth (few hours).  This broth can be frozen or canned.  Use it for making rice, pasta, soups—anything you would otherwise use water for.  It’s far more flavorful and healthy.  Good store-bought broth is almost $4/can—this is free!  Makes buying free-range chicken and meat more economical.

Canned Broth—nice for soups, marinades or cooking rice

Grandma was right--nothing comforts a cold like a warm cup of homemade chicken broth.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Canning Beef

Canned 8 pints of beef from freezer. 
I can meat after it has been a year or more in the freezer.  Now it's good to go for another year and is a delicious addition to a large salad--a quick, no-cook summer meal.  The broth from the jar makes a flavorful base for a no-fat vinegarette atop.  Spring is a nice time to can—don’t mind the heat and no other food waiting to be processed.
Canned Beef—nice and easy for soup or summer salads

Don't be afraid to can your own meat--it's surprisingly easy.  Mostly, you just loosely fill the hot jars with chilled, raw meat; put the lids on and put them in the pressure canner.  Then continue as per pressure canning.  Nothing more to add--it makes it's own delicious broth.  Just be sure to follow the instructions per a good canning guide (see recommended list).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bread Baking

I usually do my bread baking weekly, especially during Winter months.  Nothing better on a cold winter day than the aroma of fresh bread coming from a warm oven.  When it’s too hot to bake, we get our grain from other dishes--rice, couscous, cereals, flaxseed…

I do not use quick-rise yeasts, as a slow rise gives the bread more character and flavor.

My favorite bread recipes:

Mom’s Milk BreadThis is my mother's recipe for white bread and rolls
350 for 25-40 min   (15-20 min for buns—makes 2 doz)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar  (sugar can be reduced; I allow it as I am all-too-familiar with, and fond of, this recipe.)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 TBlsp. Salt
1 TBlsp Yeast (1 pkg) dry or ½ cake
5-6 cups flour (more if needed for soft dough)
--Melt butter ;  Add milk and heat to lukewarm;  Heat water to lukewarm.  Put yeast in the water and let sit until foams (15 min)   Sift 3-4 cups of the flour into a large bowl.  Add the sugar and salt and mix.  Make well in center and add liquids.  Stir in remaining flour until large ball can be formed.  Place ball on floured surface and knead 10 minutes.  Put in large bowl, cover with light towel and set in warm place to rise until doubled.  Takes approx. one hour to rise.  Punch down and put in greased bread pan or make buns on greased cookie sheet.  Let rise a second time.  It will take less time, approx. ½ hour.  Bake until golden brown on top and has hollow sound when top is tapped on top.  Cool before storing.

Herb Breadspice up white bread simply by adding herbs
Make Mom's bread recipe above adding  1 TBlsp. fresh or dry herbs to dough.  Do not use powdered herbs.  I sometimes add 1/2 TB each of two different kinds. 
My favorite additions:  1 TBlsp. Italian Herbs
                                      1/2 TB minced garlic or onion plus 1/2 TB Oregano
                                      1/2 TB rosemary plus  1/2 TB grated orange peel
                                      1 tsp sage leaves plus 2 tsp grated lemon peel

Wheat or Rye Breada nice variation, nice with soups or stews
Substitute 2 cups rye or wheat flour for 2 cups white flour in Mom's bread recipe above.

Dill Breada delicious savory bread, good for company and appetizers
350    25-30 min        makes two 8” rounds
1 package yeast dissolved in ¼ cup warm water  (let sit 10 min)
1 cup warm cottage cheese  (be careful not to overheat)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon instant onion
1 Tablespoon butter
2 tsp dill seed (not dill weed)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
1 egg
2+ cups flour
--Prepare yeast and warm cottage cheese in microwave.  Mix with rest of the ingredients in order; add flour as needed until it becomes a stiff dough, form into ball, cover and let rise to double.  Divide in half, form into flat rounds, put in greased pie pans, let rise again; bake.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread--Melt-in-your-mouth kind!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread
  350, 30-40 min in greased 9x5 pans,  Makes 4 loaves
Mix together:   2 cups instant oats
                         4 cups wheat flour
                         4 teaspoons salt
                         1/2 cup honey
                         1/4 cup oil, coconut oil is healthiest
Stir in 4 cups boiling water;  Cool to lukewarm
Stir 1 Tablespoon of yeast into 1 cup warm water and let sit 10-15 minutes.  Add to cooled oat mixture.
Stir in:   2 cups whole wheat flour
              3-4 cups white bread flour
Knead dough 6-8 minutes.  Let rise to double in bulk.  Put in bread pans.  Let rise again.  Bake 350.

The most delicious and moist wheat bread I have ever had. 

Bread Pudding

I never throw out drying bread, ends or crusts.  They make wonderful bread puddings, stuffings and croutons or used in any recipe calling for bread crumbs (think meatloaf).  Keep two large Ziplocs in the freezer, one for white bread pieces and the other for herb bread pieces.  If my bread ever turns out doughey or hollow in the middle, I cut off the good parts and toss them in the bag(s).
Here are two yummy recipes for leftover bread:

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce   
4 cups bread cubes  (1/2”-1” in size)
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs – well beaten
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoons vanilla flavoring
--Spread bread cubes in 8- or 9-inch square pan.  Melt butter.  Add milk and heat to very warm or hot.  Pour over bread cubes in pan and let sit until bread is soaked through (10-15 min).

In separate bowl or blender, mix sugar, eggs nutmeg and vanilla.  Pour over bread mixture.  Bake at 350 until lightly browned, approx. 30-40 min.  Serve with vanilla sauce—recipe follows.

Vanilla Sauce 
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoons vanilla.
--Bring all except vanilla to boil.  Remove from heat, add vanilla.  Serve warm over bread pudding.

More often than not, I can’t wait for the white bread pieces to accumulate for this melt-in-your-mouth treat; so I make a fresh recipe of milk bread and press it out solid in a  greased jellyroll pan to bake.  Turn it out immediately after it comes from the oven; cut it into cubes when cooled.  The cubes can be used for bread pudding without first drying.

Herb Stuffing         makes 9x12 pan      350  for 25-40 min
I save the herb and dill bread leftovers all year to make stuffing at Thanksgiving-mmm!

8 cups bread cubes  (1/2-1 inch in size)
1 tsp. poultry seasoning or sage
1 tsp. Italian herbs (omit if using herb bread)
1 cup diced celery
½ cup diced onion
½ - 1 cup sliced, fresh mushrooms or two 4-oz cans, drained  (mushrooms optional)
  if using fresh mushrooms, reduce broth to 1/3 cup; drain canned mushrooms
½ cup butter
1 cup chicken broth and 1 tsp boullion granules or cube, or ½ cup prepared boullion
2 eggs

--Spread bread cubes in 9x12 pan.  In large frypan over med. heat, melt butter and cook celery, onion (and mushrooms if desired) until starting to soften and mushrooms release juices.  Add herbs/seasoning, broth or boullion and heat to very warm.  Pour over bread cubes in pan and let sit until bread is soaked through and slightly cooled (20+ min).   Beat eggs and stir well into pan mixture.  Bake until lightly browned.  Can stir and put in bowl, or cut into squares and serve on plate.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

I make these warm, gooey treats for our Christmas Breakfast, following my mother's tradition.  I'm sure to make plenty for a quick breakfast treat on other Winter mornings.  They can be frozen individually and warmed in the microwave (1 min.); then frosted(recipe included)

Cinnamon Rolls            
350   ungreased 9x12 pan(s)    makes 1-2 dozen cinnamon rolls
Make “Mom’s Milk Bread” dough (recipe found in previous blog under “Bread Baking”).  After the first rising of dough to double size, punch dough down and roll out into large, thin rectangle.  Slather rectangle with coat of soft butter.  Then cover with light coat of brown sugar.  I put a fistful of brown sugar in the center, then lightly spread it over the butter with fingertips.  Add more as needed until butter covered.  Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.  Starting at one long end, roll up tightly.  Slice at 1” intervals.  Put in cake pan(s) to rise.  Let rise to double.  Bake to light brown.  While hot, turn pan over onto another pan.  Frost while warm, but not hot.

Frosting:  2 TB butter, 1 tsp vanilla, sifted powdered sugar (2-4 cups), milk
--Mix butter and vanilla, add powdered sugar alternately with milk until thick, store in fridge 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

April Showers bring May Flowers for the Table

I love the warmth and color that cloth linens add to a meal; and using them supports my "zero paper/packaging" goal. A meal at Grandma's was all the more inviting with her many-different, hand-stitched tablecloths and matching napkins.

Being a collector of dish sets and linens, I provide myself the opportunity to change the look of our table for every season and holidays.  The meal table never gets boring.

Pink roses seemed appropriate for the dishes and table linens during the month of May. 
The tablecloth was my favorite of Grandma's.  She used to iron on the pattern and take them to her wheelchair-bound mother, who would then add the color.  This is one of those sets embroidered by my Great Grandmother.

  I acquired this set of rose-patterned dishes
while working at a jewelry store during my college years. 

If you looking for in vintage table linens and accessories, visit my cousin Sandy Cookman's website, hobnobbers-sandy.blogspot.com, for some exciting buys and great sales.    

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Preservation Guides and Cookbooks

These are my favorite books for food preservation and cooking with local foods.  They pretty much are in order with my most favorite at the top, although they are all good.

Preservation Books
So Easy to Preserve by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension; order at http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_uga.html
  This is the canning bible of Iowa Extension Offices (mine too!), answers lots of ?’s
Preserving Summer’s Bounty by Rodale Garden Book   (Amazon)
 Excellent book for all methods of preservation, very good recipes
Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving  (cheapest through Amazon)
  Very good, thorough canning book for water bath and pressure canning
Root Cellaring by Mike & Nancy Bubel   (Amazon)
 A must for those who want to do lots of root cellaring; has many plans root cellars
Fermenting by Sandor Katz 
  He’s the Guru of fermenting food, and this book has it all
Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman  (salting, smoking and curing meats, poultry, fish)
 Michael is the master of Chacuterie and this book is the best there is for it.
Preserving by Oded Schwartz
 Fun, colorful book for methods of preserving in vinegars, oils, brandy…, good gift ideas 
Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning
 Excellent book for salting, fermenting, using vinegars or oil, drying and cold storage
Dehydrating Books by Mary Bell of the Dry Store: http://www.drystore.citymax.com/
 Instructive and creative ideas for dehydrating
How to dehydrate and store food  (Youtube video)  google at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxVpIHre2ao
 step-by-step instructional video for dehydrating, good introductory video to dehydrating
Fresh Food from Small Places  R.Ruppenthal
 good for the apt or condo dweller; year-round container growing, fermenting, sprouting
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
 Has it all!  Instruction for traditional preservation and much info on nutrition.
Three great cookbooks for creative, fresh recipes using seasonal, local products:
  Lots of lore, guidelines, charts, tips and pics; fun to read
  Earth to Table by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann
  Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert
  Farm Food by Chef Daniel Orr
Savoring the Seasons of Northern Heartland by Lucia Watson/Beth Dooley
 wonderful, ethnic-Minnesota traditional recipes, lore and pics (a must for Minnesotans)
Cooking with the Seasons by Monique Hooker
 seasonal cooking from French heritage (no longer in print, but grab it if you find it)
New Prague Hotel Cookbook by John Schumacher
 delicious German-inspired recipes; good guide for preparing wild game
Farmer John’s Cookbook by J. Peterson
 Great, fun book for growing, storing and cooking with garden produce; lots of good tips
Moosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden by David Hirsch
 Excellent, creative book for vegetarian gardening and cooking
Chez Panisse Cooking by Paul Bertoli with Alice Waters
 Renowned and Legendary Organic Restaurant and Chef
Betty Crocker Pie and Pastry Cookbook  never fails me for a delicious pie of any kind