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My Book!

I wrote a book about preserving food. The same step-by-step instruction and full-color photos you find in my blog. Buy it at Yes, You Can 

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Posts Tagged ‘yes you can’

Yes, You Can! Holiday Giveaway

Use’s Look Inside feature to see the terrific job the art director did in designing and laying out Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too. Oh… and to get a good look at the book you might win if you enter this Holiday Giveaway!

Thank you for visiting Your Small Kitchen Garden! I love writing this blog, and I love that at least some people actually read it. In that spirit I’m giving away a copy of my book, Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too from Cool Springs Press.

I wrote Yes, You Can! last summer for people who are just starting to preserve produce—whether from their own gardens, from farmers’ markets and farm stands, or from grocery stores. Reviewers have been very kind to Yes, You Can! and (of course) I’d love to see it coach tens of thousands of gardening-, food-, and green-enthusiasts into more responsible relationships with the food chain.

Win a Signed Copy of Yes, You Can!

This giveaway has an ulterior motive: to introduce more people to Yard Birds. Here’s how it works:

I’m giving away one copy of Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too. The book’s retail value is $19.95, and I’ll cover the cost of shipping to the winner.

This is a judged contest. To enter, do the following:

1. Visit the Yard Birds store (this is a link to it)

2. Note the serial number (item number) of a Yard Bird that tickles your fancy

3. Return here and leave a comment that…

  • …includes the Yard Bird’s serial number
  • …proposes a name for the Yard Bird
  • …explains why you would give the Yard Bird that name

I was lucky to capture a photo of this small flock of Yard Birds in the artist’s yard before he sold off most of them at an annual arts festival here in Lewisburg..

How We’ll Pick the Winner

My wife and kids will select one winning entry from all the entries posted. They will read all the entries and select the one they agree is the most entertaining. Use humor, pathos, irony, wordplay… if you want to play to the audience, keep in mind that some of the judges are seriously geeky.

Our judges will not know the identities of the entrants; this is a blind judging. I’ll announce the winner on this blog as soon as the judges finish their task—probably within a day or two of the close of the contest.

Enter Now, Enter Once, Enter Again!

The Yes, You Can! Holiday Giveaway ends at midnight on December 7, 2011. We will consider only one entry per participant; if you enter more than one time, we’ll include only your LAST entry in the judging. Last entry? Sure. This contest includes an opportunity for a do-over. If, after you post your entry a much better idea pops into your head, go ahead and post another entry. We’ll enjoy all your entries, but only the very last one you post before midnight on December 7th will go to the judges… so make the last one your best!

The Prize

To be clear: I’m not giving away a Yard Bird. The prize for this giveaway is a single signed copy of my book, Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too from Cool Springs Press.

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Preserve Produce from Your Small Kitchen Garden

When should you start preserving produce? As soon as you know how! I canned pineapple in January and February because I could buy them for a dollar apiece. If you want to preserve oranges and grapefruits, it’s best to do so when they’re in season in the US, and so, cheaper and fresher than when they ship from South America.

My small kitchen garden is still under water, but I know most kitchen gardeners already have things under way. So, while I impatiently wait for an opportunity to plant my cool-weather crops, I try to think up useful things to do to be ready. Not much there.

Instead, I’m rousing some rabble: Start thinking now about preserving your produce. Alarmingly, garden publishers and retail operators think that canning, freezing, dehydrating, pickling, fermenting, and what I call “sugaring” are autumnal activities. The reason, I suspect, is that people harvest the last of their produce in autumn, so that must be when you preserve it, right? Here’s why that’s totally idiotic:

You can’t preserve your own produce if it isn’t in season!

Preserving is a Year-Round Activity

The first produce I’ll be able to harvest from my small kitchen garden will be rhubarb. Shortly after that, strawberries will be ready. Then, black raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and a host of other mid-summer fruits will ripen. Heck, where sour cherries are available, you’re lucky to have a two-week window in which you can harvest and preserve them!

Retailers, booksellers, publishers—even garden book publishers who ought to know better—seem to think you preserve food in the fall. By fall, I can’t find fresh strawberries or appetizing rhubarb anywhere in central Pennsylvania. I NEED TO PRESERVE THESE in June and July! I like to make pies and freeze them raw and I explain how in my book.

On the vegetable side, greens prefer cool weather, and many types simply won’t be available after mid-June. Peas also suffer in summer heat, and you need to harvest and preserve them in June if you hope to have any to eat in November, December, January, and February.

Apparently, garden book publishers and garden supply retailers don’t understand the seasonality of produce. If it’s not autumn, it’s hard to get anyone excited about promoting and selling a book about preserving. So sad.

Have a Look at Yes, You Can!

Here’s my feeble promotional effort: If you’re new to preserving your garden produce, START NOW! Get your hands on a book that encourages you to think about preserving year-round. Don’t miss out on spring produce: frozen strawberries in the dog days of summer are astonishingly refreshing. Fruit pies taste amazing whenever you bake them… as long as you assemble and freeze them WHILE THE FRUIT IS IN SEASON! You can’t make strawberry jam or cherry jelly from fresh fruit IN SEPTEMBER!

I get one planting of peas per season in my small kitchen garden. With a bigger planting bed, I might harvest in the spring and fall, but to make room for winter squash, I clear out the cool weather crops near the beginning of summer. The peas I freeze in May and June taste nearly like fresh peas when I cook them in winter 7 months later.

Yes, this is a plug: I wrote Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry it, Too to introduce gardeners and foodies to the craft of preserving garden produce. Compared to other books about preserving food, Yes, You Can! is light; it’s kind of fun. I tried to make it feel as though we’re together in the kitchen learning about freezing, cold storage, dehydrating, making jam and jelly, candying fruit, fermenting produce, and even learning ways you might use your preserves later in the year.

I shot most of the photos in the book, and the designer did a spectacular job of making the layout lively and interesting… it’s not the typical, dry canning handbook. Over on Amazon, you can page through a good deal of it, though it looks far better on paper. Please have a look, buy a copy, and let me know how your preservation projects go. I started a page over on Facebook where I’d love to hear from other food-preservers. Please “like” the page, share your stories, and leave questions if you have any.

For about two weeks each year, there are sour cherries available in central Pennsylvania. I process at least eight quarts, but sometimes 16. These go into pies that I freeze, and into cherry jam that I preserve in a boiling water bath canner. My wife also makes cherry jelly. We enjoy the jam and jelly until the next year’s sour cherry harvest. YOU NEED TO LEARN how to make jam and jelly while the fruit’s in season!


Do you wait until October to harvest and preserve herbs from your small kitchen garden? I hope not! I start restocking my herb jars as soon as the plants mature. Preserving cilantro, especially, is a season-long project. But whenever your perennial herbs require a trim, you ought to be ready to dehydrate the extra for long-term storage.


One of my favorite photos for the book didn’t get into the book: This is a commercial “root cellar.” The operator stores several tons of potatoes here from harvest until late spring or early summer… and the facility stays cool using only insulation and cold air pumped in from outside! If you’re cold-storing potatoes you actually do wait until autumn to do that… but it would be useful to know how so you can prepare your root cellar before you harvest.


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