This weekend a friend dropped off several buckets of corn so my husband and I spent the afternoon freezing it. I started thinking about how I learned to preserve my garden produce from my mother who learned from her mother-in-law. Mom canned tomatoes, green beans, and pickles. She froze peas and corn, and a lot of other things too. She even made plum syrup from our plum tree.

If your mom and grandma aren't canners, you can check out our food preservation section stocked with books like:

  • "Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook" by Mary Bell
  • "Root Cellaring: natural cold storage of fruits & vegetables" by Mike & Nancy Bubel
  • "Foolproof Preserving" a guide to small batch jams, jellies, pickles, condiments, and more" by the editors at America's Test Kitchen
  • "Yes, You Can: and freeze and dry it too" by Daniel Gasteiger
  • "Naturally Sweet Food in Jars: 100 preserves made with coconut, maple, honey, and more" by Marisa McClellan
  • "Put 'Em Up: a comprehensive home preserving guide for the creative cook, from drying and freezing to canning and pickling" by Sherri Brooks Vinton
  • "Canning & Preserving for Dummies" by Karen Ward
  • "Saving the Season: a cook's guide to home canning, pickling, and preserving" by Kevin West

Beyond home canning, some other neat books in that area include:

  • "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a year of food life" - a book about gardening, preserving and a whole lot more by Barbara Kingsolver
  • "The Backyard Homestead: produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!" by Carleen Madigan- this book covers gardening and branches out to yogurt and beer making among many other topics.
  • "Homesteading: a backyard guide to growing your own food, canning, keeping chickens, generating your own energy, drafting, herbal medicine and more" by Abigail R. Gehring
  • "The Encyclopedia of Country Living: the original manual for living off the land & doing it yourself" by Carla Emery. Some of the topics this book covers include candle making, milling flour, how to make a haystack and foraging for wild food, as well as gardening and food preservation. For the record, this is my favorite book in the entire building.

Another great resource for beginning food preservation is the University of Nebraska Extension office (or website). Researchers at UNL have been testing food preservation methods for decades and have lots of good resources available. You can find several NebGuides on their website entitled "Let's Preserve." Extension even has a device you can borrow to make sure your pressure canner is working properly.

When we got done with the corn, the kitchen had corn splatter everywhere. As I was wiping it up, I remembered a friend from when I lived in eastern Nebraska. She had a basement kitchen designed specifically for putting up hundreds of ears of corn every year. She had rolling stainless steel tables, a huge sink, and a commercial stove. She may have even had a floor drain to wash the mess down. While that would be a nice set-up, I think seven dozen ears of corn is enough for our family each year.