Stephen Palmer Dowdney’s first book, Putting Up was one of my very first canning books. I bought my copy in early in 2009, around the time when I first started this blog. I used it as starting place when I made my first batch of pickled asparagus (how long ago that feels!) and I continue to reference it on a regular basis.
While walking by the Cookbook Stall at Reading Terminal Market about a week ago, I happened to spot Putting Up More in the window. I was surprised, as I hadn’t heard anything about a new canning book from Dowdney, but I stopped and bought a copy right there and then (let’s hear it for supporting local book shops!).
One of the things that makes Dowdney’s books stand out in the pack of canning volumes is the perspective from which he writes. He owned a commercial canning operation for more than 10 years and so isn’t as tethered to the home canning practices to which we all cleave. He sterilizes his jars in a bleach solution instead of a canning pot or dishwasher, utilizes the inversion method for sealing, skips a processing step for hot pack recipes and even gives you the intellectual tools necessary to check the pH levels of your goods.
Though he doesn’t specifically say it, his instructions on how to test acidity and how to adjust to bring your goods into a safe range is the information so many of us have been looking for. As long as you’re willing to follow his directions (to the letter), this technique will finally set you free from the confines of tested recipes. If this sounds appealing to you, I recommend that you get your hands on both Putting Up and Putting Up More, as they’re designed to work as companion volumes.
He includes a section of canning notes in each recipe, which details whether the recipe is one that will need to have its acid levels tested, what the yield will be, his recommendation for jar size (a hugely helpful bit) and whether the recipe can be safely increased or decreased. Dowdney has also taken a great deal of time to offer up suggestions on how to use and serve each recipe. For those of you who make things and then question what the heck to do with them, this is fantastic.
Other high points of this book include the safe for canning soups (including butternut squash, which I imagine will make some USDA canners devotees freak out), an entire section devoted to products made from hot peppers and an eggplant chutney that sounds incredible. As soon as the eggplant, peppers and summer squash are in season, I’m making it.
Because I think they’re excellent books, I’m giving away the pair of Putting Up and Putting Up More. This is not a publisher-sponsored giveaway, I just think these books are wonderful and I want to support Stephen Palmer Dowdney and the work he does in creative, inspirational canning.
The giveaway starts tonight and runs through Wednesday, May 25 at 11:59 p.m. In your comment, share what canned good you’re most looking forward to making this summer. The winner will be selected at random (via random.org) and will be posted here on Thursday, May 26. Please, just one entry per person.
In totally other news, I just started another year of a photo a day over on my other blog, Apartment 2024 (I used my birthday as the start). If you’re curious about what else happens in my life, feel free to take a peek. Recently, I drank a really tasty glass of iced coffee with condensed milk, voted in my local primary election and took a day trip to New Hope courtesy of Chevy.