Looking to further explore the world of preserving and canning (and in particular, fermentation) I sat down with a copy of "Preserving With Friends," a DVD that covers pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about preserving food. Host Harriet Fasenfest ("A Householder’s Guide to the Universe") takes you through the basics of water bath canning and making a few jam recipes before hauling out the big guns: Her friends. Harriet has hand-picked her friends who are experts on various subjects ranging from pressure canning to pickling to fermentation. All of her guests (and Harriet herself) are very knowledgeable and I learned quite a bit more than I originally bargained for.
Several chapters really jumped out at me, including "The Alchemy of Jam Making," in which Harriet explains all the elements of making a really good jam and how they work together. She follows this up with a great recipe for homemade pectin using crabapples. She further explains how to can whole fruits and vegetables and the different methods for each.
The most intriguing for me were the chapters on fermentation featuring Sandor Ellix Katz (Wild Fermentation) and his hearty “Lemmy” beard. This guy really know his fermentation! After a brief history and science of fermentation lesson, he dives into the recipes. After watching his careful instruction, I was able to start my own containers of fermented pickles and sauerkraut.
Along with the education and instruction comes a plethora of recipes including refrigerator pickles, sauerkraut, raspberry jam, strawberry jam and kimchi. The recipes are all included as printable extras on the DVD. Also included are various addenda like a pectin and acidity levels charts, jam making tips and how and when to use home made pectin.
There is a ton of information packed in this three-and-a-half hour DVD. Even Harriet, an experienced canner in her own right, learns a new thing or two. While it’s probably not a DVD you will pop in and watch the entirety of in one sitting, I found myself returning to certain chapters several times to check on bits information and clarification. I would highly recommend this DVD for anyone who is interested in learning and going beyond “Canning 101.” After watching Harriet and her friends’ lessons, you’ll feel like you just graduated from Canning U.
We've got one copy of "Preserving With Friends" to give to a lucky recipient. All you need to do is to leave a comment on this post recounting something you learned while preserving with your friend(s). For a bonus entry, click to tweet this post. Entries will be open through midnight PDT on Sunday, July 31. Go on, you know you want it.