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Preserving Resources

Sarah West

Whether you are new to preserving or have been canning your whole life, online and print resources are a great tool for learning the basics or staying up to date on the latest food safety recommendations. Below is a list of resources we recommend for home-canning techniques and recipes:

Online Resources

The National Center for Home Food Preservation

If there is a one-stop shop for home canning information, this is it! Run by the University of Georgia Extension, NCHFP offers free food safety bulletins and home-preservation training through online tutorials, as well as extensive supporting resources.


USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

A comprehensive publication that is the last word on safely processing foods at home.


The Oregonian’s Introduction to Home Canning

An easy to reference trouble-shooting resource for beginning canners.


Food in Jars: Canning 101

There are a number of blogs out there to teach you about home canning. We liked Food in Jars’ Canning 101 archive because it offers a well-organized list of home canning topics.


Print Resources

The Ball Blue Book was (and still is) the go-to publication for home preservers, but visit any Portland bookstore now and you’ll find that the number of home canning recipe books on the shelves is overwhelming in its scope. These are a few of our tried-and-true favorites, with an eye for small batch, fresh, and innovative recipes:

Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry by Liana Krissoff

A comprehensive guide to all things water-bath-cannable, plus recipes for using some of those preserves for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber by Christine Ferber, translated by Virginia R. Phillips

The queen of confiture, Christine Ferber’s elegant recipes have garnered a foodie cult following. Often incorporating an overnight maceration, her jams and jellies bring out the best of their ingredients in this jam-making master class of a book. (Not recommended as a beginner’s guide as the book does not explain the basics of water bath canning.)

The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves: 200 Classic and Contemporary Recipes Showcasing the Fabulous Flavors of Fresh Fruits, by Linda Ziedrich

Clearly written, comprehensive guide to preserving farmers’ market fruits written by Scio, Oregon resident.

The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market, by Linda Ziedrich

Same as above, but for pickles. Great collection of recipes!

The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round, by Ellie Top and Margaret Howard

A wide-ranging collection of recipes focusing on small-batches, so you can have your canning and eat it, too (without staying up past midnight).

compiled by Sarah West

Want a copy of this list? Download a copy here (link).

2014 Hillsdale Farmers Market Urban Fair

Sarah West

We are introducing a new market event this October! Called the Urban Fair, it’s our take on a county fair: celebrating the agricultural products our market vendors bring to Hillsdale each week and the home cooks who transform them.

We know that HFM shoppers are dedicated to our market’s produce. We’ve seen you taking home flats of berries and bags of pickling cucumbers. Now we’re inviting you to bring a sample of your own handiwork back to the market by submitting an entry into the Preserves Showcase. A panel of judges will evaluate Showcase entries for flavor, texture, appearance and proper canning technique.

We will award Urban Fair ribbons to four winners in each of the Preserves Showcase’s three categories: jam, pickles and nostalgic preserves. To encourage preservers of all ages to participate, there is a special ribbon in each category for preservers 18-years-old and younger. All participants will receive an Urban Fair souvenir and be entered into a raffle drawing for a chance to win preservation-themed prizes. Find out more about entering your preserves in the Showcase by picking up a copy of the Urban Fair Handbook and a registration form at the market info booth on Sunday, or on our website (link).

The Urban Fair is also an opportunity to learn more about your community’s food resources, as well as to see demonstrations of traditional cooking techniques. We’ll have booths set up on the south end of the market where some of our community partners will share resources on growing, sourcing and preparing fresh foods at home. We’ll also have a demonstration booth where vendors, chefs and other food artisans will give brief tutorials in their area of expertise. We are still compiling a schedule of experts; stay tuned for a schedule and updates at http://hillsdalefarmersmarket.com/2014-urban-fair/, as well as in our newsletter.

Throughout the summer, our market chef Kathryn Yeomans will demonstrate recipes for using market products and be on hand to answer your cooking questions. She is a trained chef as well as a certified Master Preserver, and an excellent resource for learning how to improve your home-preserving technique! This season she has already demonstrated making strawberry preserves and spring vegetable pickles. Find Kathryn in the Feed Me Fresh Cooking Demo booth each Sunday from 10am-1pm.

Our goal is for the Urban Fair to be a fun and educational event that will inspire market shoppers and community members to make the most of the amazingly fresh and nutritious ingredients our local growers and producers bring to market year-round. Help us celebrate the bounty; start preserving now for the 1st Annual Urban Fair!

Fat Of The Land - All In A Pickle

Sarah West


Pickles have personality that seems larger than the sum of their parts—puckering acidity, chopped vegetables, salt and a pinch or two of seasoning add up to refreshing brightness and enigmatic flavors that effortlessly invigorate a bowl of rice, a sandwich, or a steak.

There are essentially two kinds of pickles: fermented and not fermented. Fermented pickles use a salt brine to isolate lacto-bacteria and create an acidic environment that preserves the food suspended in it. Fermented pickles are a compelling combination of salty and sour flavors, and include among their ranks the now ubiquitous deli staples of sauerkraut and kosher dills.

Pickles made without fermentation rely on another form of acid to hinder spoilage, usually vinegar. Vinegar pickles may be sealed and stashed in the pantry using the water-bath canning method or stored unsealed in the refrigerator. They are acidic, salty and often sweet, as sugar is a common addition to balance out the vinegar’s sharpness.

The difference between the two categories is vast. Fermentation transforms a vegetable into something new, creating biological and flavor components that were not present in its raw form. Vinegar brines build, maintaining the spirit of the fresh vegetable’s flavor and adding layers of brightness, herbal notes, and sweet or aromatic spices.

Fermented cucumbers were my first pickle love, and I adored the subtle funkiness of their flavor so much I often wrote off their vinegar-brined kin as being too ostentatious. The grocers and restaurants of my formative years offered little diversity in pickles; then came a pickle renaissance, and in sauntered so much more than overly sweet relishes and bread-and-butter medallions.

As interest in home canning has increased in the last decade, vinegar pickle recipes have proliferated, stretching far beyond the traditional beet, dilly bean, and cucumber standbys. Driven by DIY ethos, some restaurants now compose their own pickled preparations, lining their pantries and countertops with handsome, exotically colored jars. Pickled novelties garnish plates, perch on cocktail rims, and add an instant dash of culinary mystery to otherwise familiar dishes.

Vinegar pickles have one serious advantage over fermented pickles for chefs and home cooks alike: they can go from preparation to plate in as little as a few minutes. Known as quick pickles, vegetables doused with vinegar, salt and any number of flavorings may be used immediately for the highest contrast of flavor and texture, or after marinating for a few hours or days to mellow and blend.

While pickles became mainstays of nearly every culinary tradition because they are so good at preserving foods rich in vitamins and minerals, we also acquired a taste for them along the way. We’ve since developed a wide range of food preservation techniques and greatly increased our access to year-round fresh vegetables, and yet pickles still satisfy and inspire us.

Now a traditional food, a frill du cuisine, a blank canvas for gastronomic whim or nostalgic indulgence, pickles are always refreshing—cutting through rich flavors, showcasing seasonal produce, making us at once thirsty with their salt and quenched by their acidity. But perhaps, more than anything, we love pickles because they allow us to conspire with time and its magic.

"On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally's cellar." - Thomas Jefferson

Want to learn more about pickles? Chef Kathryn will be sharing pickling ideas this Sunday starting at 11am.

Sarah West is a gardener, eater and admirer of the agricultural arts. She gladly spends her Sundays as assistant manager of the Hillsdale Farmers’ Market, basking in the richness of its producers’ bounty and its community’s energy. Find archives and more at http://thefatofthelandblog.wordpress.com.