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15 Ways to Preserve Lemons

Lovely lemons bring a ray of sunshine during the cold, dark winter months. If you're lucky enough to have a neighbor with a tree, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the bounty. (If you don't, be sure to order some fragrant meyers from Lemon Ladies here in the Bay Area, trust.) Here's a bushel of ways to put the lemons by. 

Lemon Marmalade
Lemon Marmalade
Harness the bittersweet flavor of lemon rind and turn it into a sunny yellow marmalade, sure to brighten your morning muffin. But first, make sure you know how to slice citrus for marmalade, for the best results. (Image via Life Currents)
Lemon Jam
Lemon Jam
Lemon pairs nicely with plenty of other flavors in homemade jams: kiwi, red peppers and even onions and oregano. (Image via Autumn Makes and Does)

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Orange You Glad We Have So Many Ways to Preserve Oranges?

In the dead of winter, no fruit brings a beam of sunshine better than the bright sweetness of oranges. Whether you're working with bitter Sevilles, sanguine blood oranges or sweet-tart cara caras, we've got a bushel of ideas on putting up everyone's favorite citrus.

Orange Marmalade
Orange Marmalade
Sevilles are great, but orange marmalade can also be made with blood oranges, cara caras and others. But first, make sure you know how to slice citrus for marmalade, for the best results. (Image via Local Kitchen)
Orange Jam
Orange Jam
If you don't like the orange's bitter rind, use the flesh for a sweeter jam. Warming spices or bourbon and vanilla kick it up a notch or two. (Image via Sunchowder)

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Preserving Mushrooms

Winter rains have come to the West Coast, bringing wild mushrooms aplenty. Even if you don't have access to wild, mushrooms are delicious year 'round, and are ripe for putting up.

Foraging mushrooms, found on Punk Domestics
Foraging Mushrooms
Finding wild mushrooms can be fun and delicious. Just be very sure you have an experienced forager with you, since some varieties are downright deadly. (Image via Eat Simply, Eat Well)
Pickled Mushrooms, found on Punk Domestics
Pickled Mushrooms
Mushrooms are naturally porous, making them excellent candidates for pickling. Whether you're fermenting or vinegar-brining, they act like sponges and soak up all the good stuff. (Image via Hank Shaw)
Funghi sott'olio
Funghi Sott'olio
Mushrooms preserved in oil (known as sott'olio) are a classic Italian delicacy. The technique lends them a richer flavor. (Image via Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti)

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Marmalade: Beyond Orange

Citrus is in, and nothing captures the essence of these sunny fruits like marmalade, whether you're making the classic orange or dabbling in other citrus.

How to Cut Citrus for Marmalade
How to Cut Citrus for Marmalade
First things first: How you cut your citrus can make a big difference in the final product when making marmalade. Here's how to make perfectly uniform cuts.
Orange Marmalade
Orange Marmalade
Sevilles are great, but orange marmalade can also be made with blood oranges, cara caras and others. (Image via Local Kitchen)
Lemon Marmalade
Lemon Marmalade
Sweet and fragrant meyer lemons are a great fit here. (If you don't get local meyers, be sure to order some from Lemon Ladies here in the Bay Area.) But all lemons marm up a treat. (Image via Hitchhiking to Heaven)

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Cabbage from Kraut to Kimchi and Beyond

Cabbage is your friend! Whether you're working with the Western globes in green or red, or crisp heads of napa cabbage, a little salt, time and patience can turn it into a traditional condiment with a global footprint. From tangy sauerkraut to spicy kimchi and beyond, here's a few ways to make the most of this ubiqutous veg.

Whether you start with green or red cabbage, you can whip up a batch of tangy kraut using just cabbage, salt and a mason jar, but branch out and try variations like cran-apple, jicama-apple or kicked up with Sichuan spices. (Image via Food in Jars)
Curtido is Central America's answer to sauerkraut: Same tangy taste, but punched up with Mexican oregano and the fiery kick of chili peppers. (Image via rcakewalk)

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Seriously Last-Minute DIY Food Gifts

Wait, Christmas is when? Don't panic. If your canning pantry is paltry, there's still time to bang out a few DIY food gifts that will delight your giftee. Best of all, each of these can be done in mere hours, requiring ingredients that are readily available this time of year.

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Best DIY Food Books of 2016

Year over year, the list of amazing DIY books grows. (See our roundups for 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.) Over time, we've seen a trend toward books that focus not just on the DIY aspects, but how to apply the products into everyday life. In fact, if anything, we're seeing a trend toward general cookbooks that integrate some DIY elements. I've expanded the criteria of the list this year accordingly, including a couple exciting things that aren't even books. (Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for from which I may derive a nominal amount of revenue.)

Cured Magazine, found on PunkDomestics.comCured Magazine
This new magazine explores the global history of food preservation, with a strong focus on fermentation specifically. It's erudite, cerebral, and simply gorgeous. The debut issues delves into such arcana as the Mexican corn brew tejuino, the medieval cheese spread kāmakh rījāl, and the Polish fermented grain soup żur. It's hard to imagine how much deeper down the rabbit hole they can go, but I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, found on PunkDomestics.comBatch by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison
Longtime (as in OG) Punk Domestics contributors and authors of the blog Well Preserved, MacCharles and Harrison have produced a comprehensive and kaleidoscopic tome of recipes for the seven main techniques of preserving: Water bath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, fermenting, cellaring, salting/smoking, and infusing.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, found on PunkDomestics.comNaturally Sweet Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan
In the third in her series of books, McClellan turned her eye to a particular niche in the preserving space, using natural sweeteners, including coconut, agave, maple, honey and more, in the place of the more common granulated sugar. She took some time out to talk to us.

Beyond , found on PunkDomestics.comBeyond Canning by Autumn Giles
Another longtime contributor, Giles serves up her unique sense of flavor combination, like preserved lemons with zesty Korean gochugaru pepper flakes and orange curd with a dash of rosewater.

The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How by Andrea Chesman, found on Not Your Mama's Canning Book by Rebecca Lindamood
Lindamood's book strives to arm the canner with a staple of foods that either turn into easy meals, or turn the humdrum into something special. Read our interview with her.

Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti, found on Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti
When I heard of this book, I squealed with glee. And also envy. In short, this is the book I wish I had written. She boldly leads with an entire chapter on foods preserved in oil (sott'olio).

Wild Feremntation b, found on PunkDomestics.comWild Fermentation, 2nd Edition by Sandor Ellix Katz
The preeminent bacteria farmer returns with an expanded and prettified version of his seminal work on the event of its 15th anniversary.

Can  It!, found on PunkDomestics.comCan It! by Gary Allen
Explore the rich history of food preservation in this scholarly work, peppered with vintage artwork and recipes.

Food Swap by Emily Past, found on PunkDomestics.comFood Swap by Emily Paster
Yet another longtime contributor, Paster outlines all the aspects of a successful food swap event, from scouting locations to getting the word out to the sometimes surprising problem of no-shows. Moreover, she helps you think about what makes your contribution a successful bargaining chip.

Eat It Up by Sherri Brooks Vi, found on PunkDomestics.comEat It Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton
Following up on her triad of Put 'Em Up! books, Vinton tackles food waste with a wealth of ideas on how to use all the bibs and bobs of excess food. Her preserver heart shines through with recipes for chutneys and more.

Forager's Feast by Leda Meredith, found on PunkDomestics.comForager's Feast by Leda Meredith
Intended as much for the cooking enthusiast as for the survivalist, this book includes recipes that will transform even the most common edible backyard weeds into guest-worthy fare.

The New Wildcrafted Cuisine by Pascal Baudar, found on PunkDomestics.comThe New Wildcrafted Cuisine by Pascal Baudar
Baudar explores the flavors of local terroir, combining the research and knowledge of plants and landscape that chefs often lack with the fascinating and innovative techniques of a master food preserver and self-described “culinary alchemist.”

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Not Your Mama's Canning Book by Rebecca Lindamood

Not Your Mama's Canning Book by Rebecca Lindamood, found on

We've all canned a jillion jars of jam and whatnot, but where the rubber really hits the road in preserving is practicality. Once you've empowered yourself with the ability to preserve the things you really use in the everyday, you liberate yourself from the grocery store shelf. That's what I love about the new book Not Your Mama's Canning Book by Rebecca Lindamood. In the vein of Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry and others, this book strives to arm the canner with a staple of foods that either turn into easy meals, or turn the humdrum into something special. See, for example, these zesty marinated mushrooms, delicious straight from the jar or as part of an antipasto plate. The author took time out of her schedule, busy no doubt promoting the book, writing her blog Foodie with Family, and raising her kids, to talk to us. 

PD: This book is wonderfully tailored to building a pantry of sensible, applicable items. Like many of us, you went through a phase of canning too much of some things, and too little of others. What is your advice to novice canners when considering what to can, and how much?

RL: It is great to can all the things, but it's a little disheartening when you put all the work into it and it languishes on the shelf. I think the best advice I have for novice canners is to can something you know you like. Are you crazy for jam? Start there. Are you a mustard nut? Make your own. As you gain confidence in your ability not to kill people with botulism, branch out. As for how much to put up? The first year you make a recipe, stick with a single batch until you know you love it, then calculate how much you think you'll eat. For example, the Smoky Roasted Salsa that is in Not Your Mama's Canning Book is one of the items we seem to have to increase every year to keep up with our ability to consume it.

PD: You live in rural Upstate New York, but your recipes pull from a global palate, including Mexico, Korea, India and more. Where do you derive your inspiration?

RL: I was an exchange student in high school and was bit hard by the travel bug. It seemed to me that my biggest human connection moments in all of my travel came when I shared food with people. Some of the global influence comes from my passion for travel, some of it comes from honouring the roots of my my multi-cultural family, some of it is just because food is good everywhere, man. I want to eat all the best the world has to offer.

PD: What preserved item do you turn to most frequently in the kitchen, either for a quick meal or to take a dish to the next level?

RL: Oooh. That's like asking which kid I like best. If I go by volume alone, I have to say we use the Smoky Roasted Salsa the most. We love it as a dip, but I also use it as the cooking liquid for roasts, and as a flavour boost for soups. Whole grain Dijon mustard comes in a close second. I put that stuff on and in everything.

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Many Ways to Preserve Cranberries

No other fruit embodies the flavor of fall like cranberries. With their bracing acidity, they form the backbone of all manner of preserved foods, and have applications well beyond the Thanksgiving table. Here's a bunch of ways to use these lovely ruby orbs.

Cranberry Sauce, found on
Cranberry Sauce
The homemade stuff is invariably better than what you buy on the shelf. But if you must have the ridges from the can, then make yours in an empty can to complete the effect. (Image via Food in Jars)
Cranberry Conserve, found on
Cranberry Conserve
Leave it chunky, plus maybe add the hearrty crunch of nuts, for a conserve that adds tooth to the classic sauce. (Image via Stephanie the Recipe Renovator)

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Conquering the Quixotic Quince

Knobby, hard and fuzzy, quince won't win any beauty contests, but their intoxicating perfume lures you in. Once you know how to conquer these rugged beasts, their heady flavor -- and substantial pectin structure -- make them a preserver's dream.

Canned Quinces, found on
Cutting a Quince
Quince are tough customers. Before you lop off a finger trying to chop into one, be sure to check out this video from What Julia Ate. Your digits will thank you.
Canned Quince in  Syrup, found on
Canned Quince in Syrup
Canned slices of aromatic quince made all the more exotic with white wine or rose syrup will find their way into your holiday baking regimen.

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