Friday, July 22, 2011
Stocking Up - A Book Review
Several years ago we got to know an elderly couple who lived in our community that we had not met before. They had very little money and were very self sufficient. The wife was suffering from all kinds of ailments, had been through countless surgeries and had lots and lots of medical bills; they spent most of their discretionary money on medications for her. Of course, they got social security checks each month and had Medicare, but it was never enough.
We developed a close relationship with this couple and grew to love them very much. They were such down-to-earth folks and just good people. Many people in the community looked down on them because they were “poor”, kept to themselves because of her health problems, they didn’t belong to the local church which almost everyone else in the community belonged to, and he had what I once overheard described as, “a nasty tobacco chewing habit”. Those who didn’t get to know them missed out big-time.
This man grew a humongous garden every year even though he was past 80 years old and they had chickens and a cow. They didn’t need much from the grocery store. They lived in a little bitty trailer house and the man who was very ingenious, had built a make-shift air conditioner to keep them cool and make a cool area to store their fresh produce and eggs.
These two were such an inspiration to me because of their ingenuity but even more so because of their desire to share whatever they had. They have both passed away now but I’ll never forget the time spent with them, their generosity, and ingenuity and to this day I still have several things that she made for me.
She was always telling me how they did things or how things were done when they lived in Kansas. One day she showed me an old book that she had that she claimed helped her to know how to do all these things that are now lost arts. She said this book helped her know how to prepare and preserve the things they grew and produced. I ordered my own copy of this book and it has been a great help in my preparation.
“Stocking Up: The Third Edition of The Classic Preserving Guide” by Carol Hupping and the Staff of the Rodale Food Center.
This book is about 630 pages and is a great guide to help you do almost anything. It contains comprehensive information on preserving Vegetable and fruit, including growing, harvesting, freezing, canning, drying and storing. There is a section on pickles and relishes, containing instructions for pickling almost anything you can imagine.
There is a section of James, jellies and fruit butters and also making, and preserving juices and ciders. There are lots of recipes as well as illustrations.
The section on Dairy Foods tells about freezing milk and cream, preserving eggs in several different methods and making homemade butter, cheeses and yogurts as well as ice creams.
One of the most interesting sections to me was the Meat, poultry and fish section. So many different instructions for everything from growing your own live food storage to butchering, preparing wild game and making pressed meats. You can learn how to preserve all your meat using different canning and drying methods. Lots of information on different kinds of fish is also included.
There is also a section on nuts, seeds, grains and sprouts with many recipes and suggestions for using your grains in cooking, grinding and sprouting. I love the fact that I can’t think of a question I have ever had about any kind of preserving that I didn’t find an answer to in this book.
If you are new to canning, or preserving, or just want a good reference book to help you in any of your self sufficiency needs, this is a great book to check out. If you’d like to check it out, here is a link on Amazon.com where you can take a peek inside this book. At around $15 it’s a great deal. http://www.amazon.com/Stocking-Up-Americas-Classic-Preserving/dp/0671693956/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1311010084&sr=1-1
Note: I don't know if Borders Bookstore carries this, but as they are having their going out of business sale now, you may want to check there for a good deal!