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Keeping Food Fresh: Old World Techniques & Recipes [Paperback]

Vivante
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 1999
Too often, preserves are but a pale reflection of fresh foods. Luckily, this definitely is not the case with natural preserving techniques. Thanks to the nine main methods described in this book, we learn that almost any food can be preserved without nutrient loss. All of the recipes are effective, economical, and easy to do at home. Most of the methods (drying; lactic fermentation; and preserving in oil, salt, or vinegar, for example) issue from a long tradition that has been swept aside by a tidal wave of industrial canned and frozen foods. This tradition holds an immense but lately obscured wealth of gastronomic and nutritional value. Very often, these recipes go beyond merely preserving food: they transform it by enriching it with new flavors, and better than either freezing or sterilization usually can. We also discover that by using less sugar in jams and other sweet preserves, fruit retains its full flavor, without burdening us with additional calories. With 300 recipes describing how to preserve over one hundred kinds of food, this book restores our appetite for traditional preserves that truly are house specialties.

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From Library Journal

Deliberately omitting the two most widely used food preservation methods in the United States (canning and freezing), editor Aubert (Hunger and Health: Eleven Key Questions on Farming, Food, and Health in the Third World) presents here an array of old-fashioned recipes for food preservation collected from the editors at Terre Vivante, a French ecological center. The result is a charming, compact collection about how to use salt, oil, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, drying, cold storage, and lactic fermentation to preserve foods. Though the contributors are European, similar recipes and methods were used throughout the world until the advent of canning in the late 19th century. But, since many of the recipes do not meet current American food safety standards, this book is more a curio than a practical handbook; it may, however, be useful for Y2K survivalists and historical researchers. Not an essential purchase for public libraries; recommended only for the most extensive food collections or where demand warrants.ABonnie Poquette, Shorewood P.L., WI
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

This enlightening book offers options to the traditional methods of preserving fruits and vegetables from the garden by freezing or canning. In a foreword written by Eliot Coleman, the well-known gardener notes how the use of more natural methods serves to enhance the flavors as well as the nutritional values of foods. Contained here are 250 recipes that feature eight different ways to preserve fresh produce. In various instances, spoilage is prevented by using salt, sugar, oil, vinegar, wine, or alcohol. Some recipes preserve foods for weeks, while others keep foods good for many months. Should the millennium bug be a problem, look to this manual for information on how to preserve food by storing it in the ground or a root cellar, by air drying, by preserving with the condiments mentioned above, and by other techniques that deserve wider recognition. Alice Joyce

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but not a normal cookbook July 8 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The recipies in this book were submitted by French magazine readers, and cover a wide variety of traditional preservation techniques: preserving with vinegar, oil and sugar; preserving with alcohol; preserving by lactic fermentation; and several other techniques.
If you're looking for straightforward, easy, safe recipies for preserving food, you'll find this book a mixed blessing. Many recipies omit quantities, and few of them have been tried in any sort of test kitchen. Most importantly, a number of these traditional recipies involve important food-safety issues--as the book itself repeatedly makes clear. You will, however, find many excellent ideas in the chapters on oil, vinegar, sugar and alcohol.
If, however, you're interested in traditional food-preservation techniques, this book is uniformly excellent. The chapter on lactic fermentation of vegetables is fascinating, and the diversity of preservation techniques is remarkable.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Paperback
"Keeping Food Fresh" is a compilation of recipes for preserving food contributed by readers of a French gardening magazine. It was originally published in French and has been translated to English with care. Recipes for frozen or canned products were omitted to allow a focus on older, more traditional methods.
The material presented is perhaps best used by the American reader as a point of reference when evaluating other recipes. It also could serve as the starting point for experimentation. It is not a cookbook in that the recipes come from many sources and do not appear to have been checked in a test kitchen. Some of the quantities betray their metric roots, since few recipes in this country would call for 11 pounds of an ingredient.
Some recipes clearly do not meet USDA safety guidelines, as is pointed out in the editorial comments.
Those who appreciate Eliot Coleman's writing should realize that his writing in this book is limited to the introductory material.
Overall, I found the book to be an interesting read, with much unique knowledge not available elsewhere. It approaches "primary source" material in that the traditional family recipes have undergone little editing, thus their historical fabric is more effectively captured.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have Book June 29 2000
Format:Paperback
I can't recommend this book highly enough! If you are interested in delicious, safe ways to preserve food without the need for a freezer, canner, or other equipment, this is the book for you. Written in a wonderfully personable style by gardeners and farmers who've been using these recipes all their lives.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Traditional Food Preserving Techniques from France Aug. 1 2001
By "steve-xwzx" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Keeping Food Fresh" is a compilation of recipes for preserving food contributed by readers of a French gardening magazine. It was originally published in French and has been translated to English with care. Recipes for frozen or canned products were omitted to allow a focus on older, more traditional methods.
The material presented is perhaps best used by the American reader as a point of reference when evaluating other recipes. It also could serve as the starting point for experimentation. It is not a cookbook in that the recipes come from many sources and do not appear to have been checked in a test kitchen. Some of the quantities betray their metric roots, since few recipes in this country would call for 11 pounds of an ingredient.
Some recipes clearly do not meet USDA safety guidelines, as is pointed out in the editorial comments.
Those who appreciate Eliot Coleman's writing should realize that his writing in this book is limited to the introductory material.
Overall, I found the book to be an interesting read, with much unique knowledge not available elsewhere. It approaches "primary source" material in that the traditional family recipes have undergone little editing, thus their historical fabric is more effectively captured.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have Book June 29 2000
By Leda Meredith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can't recommend this book highly enough! If you are interested in delicious, safe ways to preserve food without the need for a freezer, canner, or other equipment, this is the book for you. Written in a wonderfully personable style by gardeners and farmers who've been using these recipes all their lives.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but not a normal cookbook July 8 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The recipies in this book were submitted by French magazine readers, and cover a wide variety of traditional preservation techniques: preserving with vinegar, oil and sugar; preserving with alcohol; preserving by lactic fermentation; and several other techniques.
If you're looking for straightforward, easy, safe recipies for preserving food, you'll find this book a mixed blessing. Many recipies omit quantities, and few of them have been tried in any sort of test kitchen. Most importantly, a number of these traditional recipies involve important food-safety issues--as the book itself repeatedly makes clear. You will, however, find many excellent ideas in the chapters on oil, vinegar, sugar and alcohol.
If, however, you're interested in traditional food-preservation techniques, this book is uniformly excellent. The chapter on lactic fermentation of vegetables is fascinating, and the diversity of preservation techniques is remarkable.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Grandma forgot to tell you. Oct. 12 2005
By Melisande - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you're like me you missed learning the ways of preserving food without canning or freezing at your mother or grandmother's elbow. This book is an excellent reference for an experienced cook to learn some forgotten or abandoned ways of food preservation.

The translation is well done, the information and instructions are very clear for me. I'm especially pleased with the suggestions on about how long you can keep the food when preserved by each recipe.

I'm looking forward to trying something different with the fruits of this years harvest.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeping Food Fresh: Old World Techniques and Recipes Aug. 20 2006
By Miranda D. Sieh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a great compendium of old-world preserving techniques that can still be used today. A great resource for kitchen gardeners who treasure their ability to feed themselves around the year with their homegrown and preserved produce! Low-energy techniques make it possible to preserve without depending on electricity.
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