Friday, 20 July 2007

Homework and Working on the Home

Hedgewizard asked for a review of How to Store Your Garden Produce by Piers Warren and I thought OK why not, but then it felt a bit like a homework assignment and I worried about my grade. So I'll just tell you about it and leave reviews to reviewers.

It's not one of those coffee table books that have you drooling over luscious pictures of chutney taken in a designer farmhouse kitchen.

It's a small paperback about 100 pages illustrated with fairly simple cartoons and it's in two parts.

Part One is an overview of preserving methods. What I like about this part is that things are reduced to their most basic principles eg jam requires 60% sugar by weight to inhibit the growth of bacteria. This gets me past the confusion as to what I'm doing for flavour and what is actually preserving the food and also past the wondering where to get various exotic ingredients and what you call them in French.

Part Two is an alphabetical list of commonly gown fruit and vegetables along with the best ways to store each one and where applicable a recipe for wine, jam etc for that fruit or vegetable.

So there you have it. Whether it would contain enough new information for someone well versed in all this stuff I don't know, but when you compare the £4.95 price tag to say the cost of a magazine it seems a reasonable price to pay to have all the information in one place.

One of the major problems we had in our preserving efforts was our cheap crappy LPG cooker and the things that hold the pans above the gas flame (as we call them in the trade) collapsing under the weight of large pans. All in all it's not very satisfactory.

Now we have a solution or we will have tomorrow for we have aquired a Rayburn (second hand at a v reasonable price). We used to have one on our narrowboat and it was an absolute treasure. It cooked our food, kept us warm, heated the water and even I couldn't break it. It did give the boat a slight list but that was a small price to pay. The big price was paid to get it on the boat. That took four men over an hour and was decidedly hairy at times.

I'm just glad I won't be involved in moving the Rayburn tomorrow. Now that's definetely a Tech Support job.


Hedgewizard said...

Thanks for that! It more or less confirms what I thought - it's a lightweight tome that's a good starting point, but once you get a bit further on you'll need something a bit more detailed. I had a look online too, and found that there are some holes in it - f'rinstance he omits to tell you how to remedy a lack of pectin when making some kinds of jam. I have an excellent book here but it's American, and I need a UK book to compliment it... the search continues!

Karen said...

The Americans seem to be so much more into that kind of thing. A friend of ours has just been sent a pressure canner by her daughter in America along with two excellent books on how to use it.