Tag Archives | gardening

Cookbooks: Homegrown Pantry

People often ask me if I grow the things I preserve, mostly in the hopes that I’ll be able to share with them favorite varieties for growing and canning. I always end up disappoint them when I confess that other than a couple seasons with a mediocre community garden plot, I almost no gardening experience.

Happily, there’s a new book that is the resource that people have always wished I could be. Called Homegrown Pantry and written by Barbara Pleasant, this book should be on the shelf of everyone who likes to garden and preserve what they’ve grown.

The book is designed to help you choose the best varieties to plant, determine how much you’ll need to grow, and the best ways to preserve the fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are the result of your hard work.

This book digs into canning, drying, fermenting, freezing, root cellaring, and even wine making. There are tips, tricks, recipes, and a world of useful recommendations.

It’s even useful for those of us who don’t garden, but occasionally find ourselves in possession of a bushel of apples, a big bundle of herbs, or a fresh potatoes from the farmers market. It’s a really terrific resource!

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Homesweet Homegrown Sneak Peek + Giveaway

The fact that it’s possible to grow food in a tiny patch of yard or a basic window box is nothing short of a miracle to me. I grew up in a household that gardened religiously and throughout my childhood, there was always something delicious growing within steps of the house.

These days, my one frustration with my life as a high rise dweller is the fact that I have no place to combine seeds, soil, water and light to create my own edible miracle.

Home Sweet Homegrown spine

Despite my complete absence of garden space, I still love thinking about vegetable gardens. Each spring, I pick up a new gardening book or two and imagine what I would plant if I had a plot.

This year, my new favorite gardening book is a little volume called Homesweet Homegrown: How to Grow, Make and Store Food, No Matter Where You Live by Robyn Jasko (she’s the founder of Grow Indie, a fab website with lots of great resources for the grow your own type).

Home Sweet Homegrown contents

What’s so nice about this little book is that fact that’s both comprehensive and comprehendible. So often, gardening books contain a heck of a lot of more information than is possible to digest. This one is easy to swallow and so, so useful to boot.

As you can see from the above photo of the table of contents, the book will walk you through the entire gardening process, from those first initial steps all the way through to what to do with your harvest. If I wasn’t already a gardening convert (at least, theoretically), I’d be entirely convinced by the first section in which she breaks down the cost of home grown food as compared to grocery store or farmers market produce. The difference is staggering.

Home Sweet Homegrown canning

Towards the back of the book, there’s a nice little section that hits the basics of canning (as well as freezing, fermenting, dehydrating and other storage methods). While it doesn’t go into the deep minutia of canning, for someone who’s generally familiar with the process but needs a little refresher, this chapter is absolutely perfect.

I also love the instructions Robyn included entitled “How to Pickle Everything.” It’s an excellent reminder that pickling isn’t some mysterious thing. It’s really just the combination of vinegar, spices and fresh produce. There’s really no need to make yourself crazy over it.

Home Sweet Homegrown end paper

This is the best handbook I’ve seen for home gardeners who want to have all the basic information they need right at their fingertips. It makes me itch to get my fingers into the dirt. Hopefully someday!

Thanks to author Robyn Jasko, I have two prize packs (each contain a book and a seed pack) to give away to Food in Jars readers. Here’s what to do:

  1. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’re growing this summer. If you don’t have a garden, share what you wish you were growing.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Sunday, June 3, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted to the blog on Monday, June 4, 2012.
  3. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian readers.
  4. One entry/comment per person, please.
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book. The giveaway packs were also received at no cost to me. My opinions do remain entirely my own.