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Book Reviews

How to Store Your Garden Produce: The Key to Self-SufficiencyHow to Store Your Garden Produce: The Key to Self-Sufficiency
by Piers Warren (Green Books Ltd , UK, 2009).
Amazon review adapted by Leslie Roberts

Learning to store your garden produce is the key to self-sufficiency. This current-day handbook to storing and preserving your harvest assists you in eating home-grown goodness all year round. The easy-to-use reference section provides storage and preservation techniques for the majority of produce commonly grown in gardens. Growing food on less than an acre, you can harvest enough produce to feed a family of four for a year. Much of the produce will ripen simultaneously in the summer; requiring proper storage so nothing will go to waste.

Simple and enjoyable techniques for storing your food are provided so you can experience the satisfaction of self-sufficiency. In the A-to-Z list of produce, each item includes recommended varieties, suggested methods of storage, and a number of recipes. Many of the recipes may prove to be unfamiliar to some but provide enticing eating experiences for gardeners in the US. This will allow you to know where your food comes from, save money, eliminate packaging, and eat tasty local food while feeling good about it. This book could be an ideal gift for yourself or a gardening friend.


Hand Made: The Modern Guide to Made-from-Scratch LivingHand Made: The Modern Guide to Made-from-Scratch Living
by Melissa K. Norris
Summary by Melissa K. Norris

Homemade shouldn't be hectic.

Do you wish you could slow down and create a home you and your family love and enjoy spending time in? Author Melissa K. Norris ( offers down-to-earth guidance and tips to help you learn to:

  • bake old-fashioned recipes (everything from biscuits to shepherd's pie) with quick, easy-to-follow steps
  • grow, harvest, and preserve culinary and medicinal herbs; with DIY tutorials for soaps, salves, and balms
  • make your own cultured and fermented foods following simple instructions for buttermilk, sour cream, sourdough, and more
  • simplify your routine and declutter your home with room-by-room guides and Depression-era wisdom.

"Open your heart to God-given rest and discover practical and tangible ways you can craft your home into a refuge for yourself and the ones you love."

Melissa offers "bonuses" in the form of special recipes and videos for people who purchase her book. You can find out more here.

IMAGE CREDIT: Melissa Norris

DrawdownDrawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
Edited by Paul Hawken. Foreword by Tom Steyer. (Penguin Books, 2017).
Review by Penguin Books

This book contains the 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world.

In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists has come together as Project Drawdown, to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here—some are well known; some you may have never heard of. They range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land-use practices that pull carbon out of the air. The solutions exist, are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are currently enacting them with skill and determination. If deployed collectively on a global scale over the next thirty years, they represent a credible path forward, not just to slow the earth's warming but to reach drawdown, that point in time when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline. These measures promise cascading benefits to human health, security, prosperity, and well-being—giving us every reason to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world.

You can find out more about Project Drawdown (and buy a copy of the book) at

Drawdown Suggestion 101

Justin Bartolini, former Assistant Mini-Farm Manager at Ecology Action's Golden Rule Mini-Farm site, noted that while powerful and necessary, this book doesn't speak to the change that could come if humanity adjusted its thinking. "The most powerful thing to draw down carbon … is the human mind. We have become addicted to convenience and our way of life… Our problems arise from our craving more, but through mindfulness practice we can alleviate the constant desire for more and subdue our hungry ghosts."

IMAGE CREDIT: Project Drawdown

Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round
by Marisa McClellan (Running Press Adult, 2012).
Amazon review adapted by Leslie Roberts

Food in JarsPopular food blogger and leader in the area of home canning, Marisa McClellan, is using small batches and innovative flavors to make preserving easy enough for the novice. Whether you're familiar with home-preserved jams and pickles, or you're new to putting up, you'll find recipes to enjoy.

Preserving food is not just for late summer or fall harvest. There are recipes for every season. Try some of these favorites:

              • Spring: Apricot Jam and Rhubarb Syrup
              • Summer: Blueberry Butter and Peach Salsa
              • Fall: Dilly Beans and Spicy Pickled Cauliflower
              • Winter: Three-Citrus Marmalade and Cranberry Ketchup

Marisa's knowledgeable, down-to-earth approach guides you through the process as it calms possible fears of making mistakes along the way, and the book is written for cooks of all levels of experience. Stories of wild blackberry jam and California Meyer lemon marmalade from the author's childhood render this a pleasurable and delicious read. Her way of preserving at home, learned from generations of canners and cooks, nourishes the heart as well as the body.


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