By Kristina Sepetys

People have been drying and fermenting foods for flavor, storage, and good health since time immemorial. Food preservation techniques offer inexpensive, easily managed ways to avoid letting food go to waste. Find yourself with more greens or fruits than you can use this week? Put ’em up! Sandor Ellix Katz’s The Art of Preservation and Phyllis Hobson’s Making and Using Dried Foods are two seminal how-to books on the subject, but here are some new books that make excellent companions to your dog-eared copies of those classics. You’ll find recipes, tips for success, and updated resource lists.

The Beginner’s Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods: Preserve Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, and Meat with a Dehydrator, a Kitchen Oven, or the Sun
by Teresa Marrone
(Storey, 2014)

Make your own nonperishable pantry, lunchbox, and backpack staples, and avoid the sulfites typically found in dried foods that can provoke migraines. Food writer Teresa Marrone is author of many field guides and cookbooks. She’s also an avid camper, which helped hone her dehydration skills. Her comprehensive guide is chock full of useful instructions for dehydrating just about every kind of fruit and vegetable using your own oven (preferably convection), a dehydrator, or the sun. Find equipment lists and instructions for drying fruits, vegetables, and meats, together with recipes for using your finished products in a wide range of dishes, from pies and cookies to stews and casseroles, fruit leathers, and baby food.

 

Fresh & Fermented: 85 Delicious Ways to Make Fermented Carrots, Kraut, and Kimchi Part of Every Meal
by Julie O’Brien and Richard J. Climenhage
(Sasquatch Books, 2014)

Naturally lacto-fermented, probiotic foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are teeming with nutritious bacteria, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that can help improve digestion, heal gut imbalances, and boost the immune system. Seattle-based chefs Julie O’Brien and Richard Climenhage, owners of Firefly Kitchens, have been making nutrient-dense, probiotic-rich fermented foods for over 20 years. If you’re not already a believer, they’ll convince you to add sauerkraut or its juice to just about everything. Or try mixing up some of their trademark krauts like Firefly Kimchi, Emerald City Kraut, or Yin Yang Carrots yourself. Mix them into some of the 85 recipes like Kimchi Kick-Start Breakfast or Smoked Salmon Reuben for full meals. For those interested in sampling the authors’ own fare, Firefly Kitchen ferments are available locally at Whole Foods Markets.

 

Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes
by Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey
(Storey, 2014)

Kirsten and Christopher Shockey live in southern Oregon. They owned a farmstead food company offering over 40 varieties of cultured vegetables and krauts until they decided that teaching people to make their own flavorful and healthful ferments would be more valuable than just selling them. Their book reflects their years of experience and vast knowledge about the subject. It includes in-depth instruction for making kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles together with more than 120 recipes for fermenting 64 different vegetables and herbs in both large and small batches (even pint size!). Pickle up Curried Golden Beets, Habanero Jicama, Pickled Shitake Mushrooms, and Sunchoke Kimchi. A terrific, well-organized guidebook, easy to read, filled with informative sidebars and personal anecdotes.