Food & Health Archive


DIY: Make Whole Fruit Jam

Monday, July 28th, 2014

The supply of fresh summer fruit is about to be in abundance and before you know it, apples and pumpkins will abound.

If you’re lucky and berries or stone fruits are providing a bountiful array of flavor, try this easy method of preserving them: whole fruit jam.

This recipe relies on the natural sugars in fruit to provide a balanced flavor and sweetness in this complimentary spread.  Preserve the last of your seasonal fruit simply – no added sugar and no freezing.

The following is an excerpt from Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning by the Gardeners and Farmers of Terre Vivante:

Sugar is a practical and economical method of food preservation—so much so that we tend to overindulge, and make jams that contain more sugar than fruit! When we discover that excess sugar is one of the great scourges of the modern diet, we might think it best to renounce jams completely. Besides, replacing white sugar with brown sugar is only a relative improvement. Whole or raw sugar (evaporated juice from sugar cane) would be a better substitute, but its strong flavor often masks the taste of the fruit.

The solution to this problem is twofold: avoid eating too much jam and other sugary foods, and make these foods using far less added sugar, or none at all. Knowing and applying these techniques, we can continue to preserve food properly and successfully. For example, certain jams made with very little sugar must be refrigerated once opened, preferably in small jars, to prevent premature spoilage. For those recipes that require sugar, we will use either brown or whole sugar. Other recipes are “sugar-free,” or use honey instead.

Note that the term “sugar-free jam” in essence is a contradiction in terms, since by definition, sugar is the preservative agent in jams. To be more precise, we should discuss “jams with no added sugar.” In reality, jam already contains sugar: both glucose and fructose, which naturally occur in all fruit.

Jams with no added sugar were not invented by health-food advocates wanting to reduce their sugar consumption. These preserves are an old tradition dating back to a time when sugar was scarce and expensive (or even nonexistent). Three classic examples, and the most commonly known jams of this type, are pommé (apple jelly), poiré (pear jelly), and raisiné (grape jelly). The first two have been made for centuries in certain regions of northern Europe, particularly Belgium and Germany, whereas the raisiné is a tradition of Périgord in southwestern France. Carob “honey” is a similar preserve that is found in the Middle East, Galilee (recipe follows in this chapter). All these preserves share this common feature: They are made from the juice only, and not from the whole fruit. Thus, they are jellies or thick syrups, rather than jams. Their preparation is based on this simple principle: Prolonged cooking evaporates enough water to concentrate enough of the naturally occurring sugars for preservation to take place. Jams from whole fruit can also be prepared by following the same principle. In general, after pouring hot jam or jelly into a jar and sealing it, turn the jar upside down. This will sterilize any air remaining in the jar and ensure preservation. It’s also a good idea to store the jars upside down.

Whole Fruit Jam
Very ripe fruit (any type)
A preserving pan or large saucepan
Canning jars and lids

This method is good for all types of fruit, including grapes, greengage plums, and so on. Use fruit that is very ripe; simply cut and crush it roughly. Bring the fruit to a boil; then cook it over very low heat for a very long time.

It is impossible to recommend a precise cooking time, since this depends on the type of fruit used, and its ripeness and water content, both of which vary from one year to the next. In any case, you should allow as much water as possible to evaporate. Stir often, because certain fruits have a tendency to stick during cooking. The jam is ready when it does not run off of the spoons but forms a bead that sticks to the spoon. At this stage pour the jam into scalded screw-top jars. It will keep for at least two years.

Recipe: Ginger Beer

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Ginger is a spice perfect for any time of year. Its fragrance can perk up everything from chai tea to apple pie. This humble root can also add a gentle kick of heat to stir fries or soups.

The natural yeasts in the root can also be used to kick start a bubbly ginger beer. Give it a try!

The following recipe is from Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, by Sandor Katz.

This Caribbean-style soft drink uses a “ginger bug” to start the fermentation. I got this idea from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions. The ginger bug is simply water, sugar, and grated ginger, which starts actively fermenting within a couple of days. This easy starter can be used as yeast in any alcohol ferment, or to start a sourdough.

This ginger beer is a soft drink, fermented just enough to create carbonation but not enough to contribute any appreciable level of alcohol. If the ginger is mild, kids love it.

TIMEFRAME: 2 to 3 weeks

INGREDIENTS (for 1 gallon/4 liters):

  • 3 inches/8 centimeters or more fresh gingerroot
  • 2 cups/500 milliliters sugar
  • 2 lemons (or limes)
  • Water

PROCESS:

  1. Start the “ginger bug”: Add 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) grated ginger (skin and all) and 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) sugar to 1 cup (250 milliliters) of water. Stir well and leave in a warm spot, covered with cheesecloth to allow free circulation of air while keeping flies out. Add this amount of ginger and sugar every day or two and stir, until the bug starts bubbling, in 2 days to about a week.
  2. Make the ginger beer any time after the bug becomes active. (If you wait more than a couple of days, keep feeding the bug fresh ginger and sugar every 2 days.) Boil 2 quarts (2 liters) of water. Add about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of gingerroot, grated, for a mild ginger flavor (up to 6 inches/15 centimeters for an intense ginger flavor) and 11/2 cups (375 milliliters) sugar. Boil this mixture for about 15 minutes. Cool.
  3. Once the ginger-sugar-water mixture has cooled, strain the ginger out and add the juice of the lemons (or limes) and the strained ginger bug. (If you intend to make this process an ongoing rhythm, reserve a few tablespoons of the active bug as a starter and replenish it with additional water, grated ginger, and sugar.) Add enough water to make 1 gallon (4 liters).
  4. Bottle in sealable bottles: Recycle plastic soda bottles with screw tops; rubber gasket “bail-top” bottles that Grolsch and some other premium beers use; sealable juice jugs; or capped beer bottles, as described in chapter 11. Leave bottles to ferment in a warm spot for about 2 weeks.
  5. Cool before opening. When you open ginger beer, be prepared with a glass, since carbonation can be strong and force liquid rushing out of the bottle.

DIY Dilly Beans: Voted “Best Snack Ever”

Monday, July 14th, 2014

For those who love fermented foods, I now welcome you into the world of the dilly bean. If you already make your own, this recipe is killer. If you’ve yet to try it…and you’re like me, a vinegar obsessed freak on the verge of collapse every time a pickle is near, then brace yourself for the best snack ever. Voted on by me, and by the folks at Chelsea Green.

There’s nothing like a dilly bean. A jar full of ‘em in the fridge, next to a plate of cheese and crackers, on a sandwich, or straight from the jar in the middle of winter when you’re sick of potatoes and pasta. Dilly beans! I’m picking all my beans this weekend and dilly-ing them. And you can do it too, even if you have to buy beans at the farmer’s market or wherever you shop. (They also make great gifts, and housewarming presents, and things to bring your hostess…just grab a jar from storage, and bam.)

The following is an excerpt from Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Katz. It has been adapted for the Web.

Dilly Beans

Pickling food in vinegar is not a fermentation process. In brine pickling, vegetables are preserved by lactic acid, which is produced by the action of microorganisms on the vegetables. Vinegar pickling makes use of a fermented product, vinegar, but the acidity of the vinegar prevents microorganism action. Vinegar pickles contain no live cultures. According to Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning, a book by Terre Vivante, a French eco-education center focused on organic gardening and preservation of Old World food-preservation techniques, “Pickles were always lacto-fermented in times past, and then transferred to vinegar solely to stabilize them for commercial purposes.” Indeed, the great advantage that vinegar pickling has over lacto-fermentation pickling is that vinegar pickles will last forever (well, almost), while brined pickles will last for weeks or months, but rarely for years, and definitely not forever. Cookbooks are full of vinegar pickling recipes, so I will offer just one: the dilly beans my father makes from his garden every summer and serves to his family and friends all year long.

TIMEFRAME: 6 weeks

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:

  • Sealable canning jars: 1 1⁄2 pint/750 milliliter size is best, as its height perfectly accommodates the length of string beans

INGREDIENTS:

  • String beans
  • Garlic
  • Salt (my dad swears by coarse kosher salt, but sea salt is fine, too)
  • Whole dried chili peppers
  • Celery seed
  • Fresh dill (flowering tops best, or leaves)
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Water

PROCESS:

  1. Guesstimate how many jars you’ll fill with the string beans you have. Thoroughly clean jars and line them up.
  2. Into each jar, place 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) of salt, 1 whole red chili pepper, 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 milliliters) of celery seed, and a flowering dill top or small bunch of dill leaves. Then fill the jar with beans standing on end, stuffing them as tightly as you can into the jar.
  3. For each jar you have filled, measure 1 cup (250 milliliters) of vinegar and 1 cup (250 milliliters) of water. Boil the vinegar-water mixture, then pour it into the jars over the beans and spices, to ½ inch (1 centimeter) from the top of the jar.
  4. Seal the jars and place them in a large pot of boiling water for a 10-minute heat processing.

Leave the dilly beans for at least 6 weeks for the flavors to meld, then open jars as desired and enjoy. My father serves these dilly beans as an hors d’oeuvre. Heat-processed pickles can be stored for years without refrigeration.

RECIPE: Summer Cherry Cornmeal Cobbler

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

It’s that time of year again…outdoor barbecues are a weekend staple, trips to the beach or pool are becoming more frequent, and cherries are ripe for the picking!

Take this seasonal cue and enjoy the fresh fruit while you can with this recipe for summer cherry cornmeal cobbler from Cooking Close to Home.

Authors Diane Imrie and Richard Jarmusz believe no matter where you live, you should be able to cook locally throughout the four seasons. Their book, Cooking Close to Home, is a seasonal guide with more than 150 recipes that will inspire you to create delicious and nutritious meals using ingredients produced in your own community.

So visit your local farmers’ market or find a “pick your own” cherry orchard near you and stock up—this sweet homestyle cobbler awaits!

Cooking Close to Home: A Year of Seasonal Recipes is on sale now for 35% off until July 15.

Summer Cherry Cornmeal Cobbler by Chelsea Green Publishing

25% off Essential Books for Homesteaders

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

In this age of rapid change, how can we best adapt to sustain our food systems and regenerate our land?

Drawing from time-tested holistic techniques our authors show homesteaders, farmers and growers of all sizes how to remain resilient.

Whether you grow veggies and herbs on your balcony, intensively garden a half-acre on your homestead, or make a living off the land, we’ve got a book (or two) for you. Now through July 31st SAVE 25% on books for your homestead or small farm. 

Our books and authors never skim the surface – they think in systems and farm holistically, applying the wisdom of letting nature do the heavy lifting and giving the skills to empower you.

We hope you’re having a busy and abundant growing season!

Happy reading from the folks at Chelsea Green Publishing

P.S. Don’t forget to look at our full list of sale books here: www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/sale


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only). International orders can be placed by phone (802-295-6300) or email.


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The Resilient Farm and Homestead
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Keeping a Family Cow
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The Resilient Gardener
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The New Cider Maker's Handbook
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From the Wood-Fired Oven
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The Sugarmaker's Companion
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The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat
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The Small-Scale Dairy
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The Small-Scale Poultry Flock
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Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking
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The New Horse-Powered Farm
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The New Organic Grower
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The Holistic Orchard
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Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land
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Market Farming Success, Revised and Expanded Edition
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Raising Dough
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Farms with a Future
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You Can Farm
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The Organic Seed Grower
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The Grafter's Handbook
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The Winter Harvest Handbook
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The Organic Grain Grower
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Compact Living
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The Moneyless Manifesto
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Natural Beekeeping with Ross Conrad
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Year-Round Vegetable Production with Eliot Coleman: DVD
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~~ Coming Soon: Available for Pre-Order ~~

Integrated Forest Gardening
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Dried Tomato Recipes: Enjoy Your Harvest All Year Long

Monday, July 7th, 2014

As your tomatoes start ripening on the vine this season, think ahead to how you want to preserve your summer harvest and enjoy it all year long.

Here are a few versatile dried tomato recipes that are easy to make and don’t require freezing or canning.

For more recipes using traditional preserving techniques like salt, oil, drying, cold storage, vinegar, and fermentation, read Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning by the Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante, on sale now for 35% off until July 15.

Tomatoes Dried Naturally

  • Tomatoes
  • Almond oil (or another mild oil)
  • A clean rag
  • Drying apparatus
  • A glass jar

Tomatoes are by far the vegetable most often preserved by drying in various forms.

We prefer to use the ‘Beefsteak’ variety, a pulpy tomato with fewer seeds.

Peel the tomatoes. (If this poses a problem, soak them for a few seconds in boiling water.) Cut them lengthwise (from bottom to top) into slices approximately 1/4-inch thick and remove the seeds. Place the slices on a clean rag to absorb the juice. Oil the dryer screen lightly, preferably with mild almond oil, so that the slices will not stick. When the slices are dry on one side, turn them over; they will be hard when dry. Store the tomatoes well packed in a glass jar.

To use, pour one cup of boiling water over one-half to three-quarter ounces of dried tomatoes per person, and leave them to soften for a few minutes. Add a teaspoon of olive oil, season to your tate, and serve with a purée or a grain dish. We also add these tomatoes to grains or vegetables that are nearly done cooking.

Odile Angeard, Cognin

Stuffed Dried Tomatoes in Oil

  • Tomatoes
  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Anchovy fillets (optional)
  • Fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • Oil
  • Drying apparatus
  • A glass jar

I dry my tomatoes in a solar dryer, cut in half and seeded (easily done with a small spoon). When the tomatoes are dry, stuff a little finely chopped parsley and garlic between the two halves. If you like, add an anchovy fillet, or a basil leaf. Place the reassembled tomatoes in a jar and cover with oil. These are delicious added to a salad during winter.

Anonymous

Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Oil

Variation 1:

  • 4 lbs. tomatoes
  • 1 lb. coarse salt
  • Oil
  • Drying apparatus
  • Gauze
  • A clean, dry cloth
  • Glass jars

Choose very ripe, small, oblong tomatoes. The Italian variety “Principe Borghese’ is an excellent drier, as are many smaller plum or “paste” tomatoes.

Cut the tomatoes in half, place them on a tray set in the sun, add salt, and cover with gauze to protect from insects. During the day, turn the tomatoes over twice; at night, bring them inside to protect from moisture.

A few days later, when you see that they are very dry but not totally dehydrated, remove some of the salt with a clean, dry cloth. Put the tomatoes into jars and cover them with approximately three-quarters of an inch of oil over the tomatoes, coming up to three-eights of an inch below the rim. Close the jars tightly and store them in a cool place. In Italy, tomatoes preserved in this manner are eaten as hors d’oeuvres, with no additional preparation.

Marie-Christine Martinot-Aronica, St. Dizier

Variation 2:

  • Tomatoes
  • Vinegar
  • Hot peppers, mint leaves, or whole garlic cloves (optional)
  • Oil
  • Drying apparatus
  • A glass jar

Choose tomatoes that are firm and completely intact, preferably plum tomatoes. Cut them in half lengthwise. Allow them to dry on trays in the sun, bringing them in whenever it is humid, and in at night to avoid dampness. When they are dry, soak the tomatoes in warm vinegar for twenty minutes. Drain and put them in a jar, alternating layers of tomatoes with one or two hot peppers, mint leaves, or whole cloves of garlic. Press well to allow any air to escape, and then cover with oil. These tomatoes will keep for a very long time. We eat them as hors d’oeuvres or with rice, pasta, meat, or fish.

Babette Cezza, Vergt

The Best Meat Temperatures From The Gourmet Butcher

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Have plans to fire up the grill this fourth of July? Take some advice from the gourmet butcher himself – Cole Ward – and make sure your meat is at the right temperature before you serve it to family and friends.

In the following excerpt from The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat (adapted for the Web), Ward lists the proper cooking temperatures for meat ranging from beef, lamb, and veal, to poultry, fish, and pork.

For more information on meat—how to source it ethically, cut it professionally, and prepare it properly—pick up a copy of The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat. It’s on sale now for 35% off until July 15.

By Cole Ward

What’s the Best Cooking Temperature for Meat?

Storing meat is fine, but at some point you’ll probably want to eat it (just a thought). I get lots of questions about cooking temperatures for meat. Kinda matters, ’cause we’ve all suffered through one of those disastrous dinners involving steak cooked to a crisp, or a roast bleeding onto the table. The USDA has developed guidelines for cooking temperatures of the various meats, and I urge you to consult these.

Having said that, let me tell you that I don’t follow USDA guidelines for meat temperatures except for poultry, eggs, and ground meats whose source I don’t know. I feel comfortable with this because I know the provenance of every piece of meat I consume: where it was raised, how it was raised, when and how it was slaughtered, and so on. I’m comfortable cooking it as I like it. This is probably an example of “don’t do as I do.”

Beef, Lamb, & Veal

For beef, lamb, and veal, the USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). I prefer rare at 125 to 130°F (52–55°C). If you prefer medium rare, cook to 130 to 140°F (55–60°C). For medium well, 150 to 160°F (66–71°C). And if you prefer your meat well done, I can’t help you, because I would never order or cook meat well done. My preference is rare, and it can be difficult to convince a restaurant— hampered as they are by health inspection regulations—to serve you a truly rare (“blue”) steak.

If you are cooking burger from ground muscle meat that you are certain comes from a healthy local source, I recommend 140 to 145°F (60–63°C). For any other (unknown) source, 160°F (71°C) is safest and is the temperature recommended by the USDA.

Poultry & Fish

All poultry should be cooked to 165°F (74°C), and fish to at least 145°F (63°C).

Pork

I get a lot of questions about pork. Specifically, the correct internal temperature to cook it to before serving. I’m vigilant about buying only the best meat from a properly raised animal (which is why I like to know about the farmer behind the product), so an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) is what I recommend. This gives a tender, delicious result. However, most people prefer to cook pork to a higher internal temperature of 155°F (68°C) . . . it provides peace of mind. And I agree. If you’re uncertain about the quality of the meat, err on the cautious side.

Fermentation Fun with Sandor Katz

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Here in our home state of Vermont, summer is in full swing – verdant hills of green, blue lakes and ponds, and the sound of folks out and about in the great outdoors hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, fishing, and … fermenting?

OK, maybe fermenting is best for folks looking for some indoor activities in between outdoor activities. In that case, we have the perfect itinerary for you.

Vermonters and visitors alike will have multiple chances to see the fermentation revivalist himself – Sandor Ellix Katz – at multiple stops in Vermont throughout the month of July. Come see why Michael Pollan calls Katz “The Johnny Appleseed of Fermentation” and why his latest book The Art of Fermentation was a New York Times bestseller and won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference.

Katz kicks off his Vermont tour with a two-week intensive workshop at Sterling College up in Craftsbury. As of this writing, there were two slots remaining in this credited course (four continuing education credits). The course is part of the college’s continuing education program of two- and four-week courses that offer learning opportunities that complement the college’s focus areas.

This class will offer an in-depth overview of the art and science of fermentation. Expect to learn the basics of how to ferment almost anything. Over the two weeks, attendees will make a wide variety of fermented foods and beverages, including: fermenting vegetables in many variations; beverages from seasonal fruits; kombucha, kvass, water kefir, and other lightly fermented tonic beverages; sourdough, porridges, and grain-based beverages; Asian bean ferments including Tempeh, Natto, and Dosa; yogurt, kefir, basic cheesemaking, and kishk (a Middle Eastern ferment of yogurt and bulgar wheat); and others, based upon the interests of participants. Participants will have a unique opportunity to begin fermentation projects as a group and see them through to completion, with the benefit of observing, tasting, and discussing them as they progress over several weeks.

During his two-week stay, however, Katz will venture south to Barre for a public talk at the Aldrich Public Library in Barre at 6 PM on July 16.

After his course ends, Katz will make his way from Craftsbury to Tinmouth where he’ll be the keynote speaker on July 20th at SolarFest, an iconic summer event that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

He then heads back north to Shelburne Farms for an evening talk (open to the public) on July 21 from 7-9 PM, followed by two full days of workshops on July 22 and 23 (pre-registration required).

During the two-day intensive at Shelburne Farms, you’ll learn how to make fermented vegetables (kimchi!), beverages (including a fruit-based wine), dairy products (yogurt, cheese, sour cream, kefir, etc.), grains, legumes, and starch. The two-day program includes lectures, demonstrations, and a hands-on element.

So, catch Katz one, twice, or a few times if you can.

RECIPE: How To Make Blue Cheese

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Attention moldy cheese lovers, this recipe is for you! It’s true, moldy isn’t usually a quality we look for in our food, but when it comes to blue cheese, the mold cultures contribute largely to its unique texture and bold flavor.

Try your hand at making an authentic Rindless Blue Cheese using the ingredients and techniques listed in the excerpt below from cheesemaking expert Gianaclis Caldwell.

If you are interested in making your own artisan cheeses, Caldwell’s book, Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking, provides an incredible amount of detail around the intricacies of cheesemaking science with instructions for preparing a variety of cheese types.

Caldwell is passionate about cheese and has been an active contributor to the recent debate regarding FDA regulations around using wooden boards in the aging process. Get the full story here.

Her book is a must have for home hobbyists and anyone serious about the commercial artisan cheese business. Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking is on sale for 35% off until July 15.

And now, it’s moldy cheese time! Enjoy

From the Garden to your Gut: Eco-Food Books 35% off

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

One thing we all know is that where our food comes from and how it is grown matters. Having control over our food supply is key to a more resilient and sustainable future.

We’ve got a wonderful crop of books to help you dive in and take that next step toward transitioning to a more local and self-sufficient food system.

A major part of Chelsea Green’s mission is to inspire you with ideas and practical tips. So whether you want to get your hands in the dirt; looking to find the best local cheese; find a new recipe; or preserve those veggies—we have the book for you, and best of all we’ve put some of our keystone food books on sale until July 15th. 

Happy Reading from the Employee Owners at Chelsea Green!

P.S. Don’t forget to check out our full list of books on sale: www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/sale


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only). International orders can be placed by phone (802-295-6300) or email.

 

Eco-Food Books: 35% off until July 15

The Art of Fermentation
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The Permaculture Kitchen
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The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat (with CD)
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Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking
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Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist
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From the Wood-Fired Oven
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Keeping a Family Cow
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Cheese and Culture
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The New Cider Maker's Handbook
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Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning
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Wild Fermentation
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Farm-Fresh and Fast
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From Asparagus to Zucchini
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Edible Perennial Gardening
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Retail: $40.00
Sale: $26.00

~Coming this Fall: Available for Pre-Order~

The Heal Your Gut Cookbook
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
The Wild Wisdom of Weeds
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $25.97

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Discount Codes cannot be combined with any other offer and will not apply to sale books.  Free shipping for orders $100 or more is applied after the discount is applied and for U.S. orders only. International orders can be placed by phone (802-295-6300) or email. Pricing and sales for online orders only. Please contact a representative for wholesale or retail orders.



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