Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Grow it, Preserve it, Enjoy it

Zionsville residents are many things: they are friendly, take pride in their community, support their library, and are avid gardeners who make good use of our collection of gardening books and gardening programs. Not only do gardens make outdoor spaces beautiful, they can be rich sources for sustainable living. Growing your own fruits and vegetables is rewarding in many ways, not the least of which is enjoying the often brighter and tastier flavor of a freshly-picked strawberry or tomato. How to enjoy the fruits of your labors throughout the year? Many people learn the art of canning and preserving in order to enjoy their home-grown food well past its harvest. The Library has many books about canning and preserving, such as the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: 300 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today” and “Jam it, Pickle it, Cure It.” Also, check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation for tips on home food preservation, including curing, smoking and pickling foods.

For a beginner’s primer on home canning, come to the “Canning Your Own Produce” program taught by master food preserver Suzanne Krowiak of Indy Food Swappers on Tuesday, April 23rd at 6PM. She’ll teach the basics of water bath canning, go over important safety guidelines and discuss the best foods for water bath canning. You’ll watch her conduct a complete preserves recipe from start to finish, and she’ll answer your home canning questions. Indy Food Swappers is an Indianapolis-based, free community food swap whose collective goal is to “inspire creativity, build community and spread good cheer.” Their Frequently Asked Questions page explains the food swap process and states, “If it’s edible and you made it from scratch, grew it in your garden, or foraged it, you can bring it. You’ll see it all at food swaps: jams; jellies; bread; jars of soup; pies; fudge; spice mixes; homemade yogurt;  homebrewed soda, lemonade, or kombucha;  homegrown veggies, fruits, or herbs; salad dressing; cookies; homemade potato chips; foraged mushrooms, greens, or berries.”

Lately, there is a lot of buzz about preserved lemons, including this NPR article I stumbled upon a few days ago. Indy Food Swappers has a preserved lemons recipe, too, and you can use those lemons in “Hummus with Preserved Lemons.” Sounds delicious. Come to the Library today and learn how to make the edibles in your garden last.

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