This past summer, I really found my groove when it came to putting up applesauce, jellies, jams, pickles and relishes. I canned a lot and filled my freezer with berries, pickles, and peaches. I had a great time and I couldn't have done half of it without the help of Sherri Brooks Vinton's book, Put 'Em Up!
I wrote up a big review of the book and I meant every word. During our county's fall festival celebration I entered the households contest for the Food Preservation competition. Thanks to following the Put 'Em Up recipe for Bread'n Butter Chips, I won a champion ribbon. See my photo of my winning entries at the bottom of this post.
Anyhoo. I got my nerve up awhile back and emailed Mrs. Vinton asking if I could get a short interview with her. She agreed. YEAAAH!!
Meet Sherri Brooks Vinton.
Jill: Tell us a little about your upbringing that connects you to preserving foods.
Sherri: The first thing I did was an improvised strawberry sauce that I threw together while I was cooking dinner--it was either cook those berries or watch them wither. I refrigerated some and put the rest in the freezer--it was delicious. That's what kind of turned me onto the thrill of stopping the clock on seasonal produce.
Jill: What's your favorite recipe(s) to put up today?
Sherri: Right now I'm getting ready to do a bunch of Spiced Apple Chutney. I love that stuff with some sharp cheddar cheese. When they are in season, I love to do cherry jam, orange marmalade and plum sauce. So many good things!
Jill: What do you say to folks that are nervous about canning?
Sherri: There's really nothing to be nervous about. If you can boil water, you can can your own preserves, chutneys, relishes, pickles, tomatoes, jams and jellies and fruits. It's a simple technique that is so rewarding--and with a little common sense kitchen cleanliness and case of jars you can have terrific local food all year round.
Jill: What recipe(s) from Put 'Em Up would you recommend for a new canner?
Jill: You cover more than canning in Put 'Em Up, explain "Working in Groups."
Sherri: There are lots of techniques eaters can use to preserve their own food--drying, fermenting, even freezing. So you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen to put up some of that seasonal flavor. When I do want to take on a big project, though, like putting up multiple cases of tomatoes or flats of berries, it's fun to get some friends over to help. Open up a bottle of wine, crank up the canner and you can have a good gab while putting up your winter's reward.