harvest help: canning and freezing book giveaway

RIGHT IN TIME FOR THE IMPENDING FIRST DAY OF SUMMER, the vegetable garden is at that precipitous moment: Suddenly, production rate has gone from little early spring surprises gobbled up in delight, to more but still manageable, to—uh-oh!—an impending onslaught you can’t keep up with, with more, more, more to come. Seems like the best book giveaway right now would offer my favorite references on canning, preserving, freezing—all the ways to put up the harvest for delicious future reference. A roundup of my own tactics, and two chances to win “Stocking Up III,” “Putting Foods By” and the USDA guide to home canning:

You can win one of two, three-book sets that I’ve purchased to share as prizes—no, not my old food-splattered copies, above, but new ones. Promise! All you have to do to have a chance in the truly random drawing (I’ll use the tool at random [dot] org to pick a winner) is comment below, and be a subscriber to my email newsletter. All the details are at the end of this post.

Your comment should simply tell us what you like to put up for later from your garden or the farmer’s market—and it can be as simple as a sentence or include a recipe or a link to one; up to you.

Tips and Tricks:

Immediate ideas and tips on coping with the harvest can be had from these articles:

Elsewhere, sound, free information on food preserving:

How to Enter:

Entries close midnight Thursday, June 24, with winners announced Friday.

For a chance in the truly random drawing (I’ll use the tool at random [dot] org to pick the two winners) you must comment below and be a subscriber to my email newsletter.

It’s easy to sign up for the latter if you haven’t already, and free, and here’s what it’s like in case you are worried I’m a spammer.

After I draw the winner, I’ll verify that he or she is, in fact, a subscriber…if not, I’ll draw again.

I know, that Margaret, she always wants something, right? Well, not really—there are no ads here or anything; I’ve done this for free for more than two years. (Truth be told, I do it for my mental health, and you are all part of the therapy.) But I love seeing our community grow, and the newsletter helps make that happen. Now back to the garden, and the kitchen…

  1. Teresa says:

    I grew a ton of basil from seed this year in hopes of making enough pesto to freeze in cubes and eat for 11 months. The poor seedlings look pathetic, thanks to the Junuary we’ve had in the Pacific Northwest. But they’re hanging on, as am I, hoping for lots of July sun and the smell of warm basil in August.

  2. bonnie kay says:

    I have had a lot of success processing fresh basil, then putting two cups in a small freezer bag topping with virgin olive oil(approx. 1/4 c.) work into a log, remove excess air, seal and freeze.

    1. Margaret says:

      THE ENTRIES ARE NOW CLOSED (SINCE MIDNIGHT 6/24). Thank you all for joining in; so many great tips.

      As those of you know who are regulars, I normally welcome all first-time commenters individually, but if do that during these contests, I’d have so many comments myself I’d probably win the drawing. :) So…a big group “welcome” to:

      Sandra, Becca, Gerrie, Lorna, Jason, Lee, Lisa, Michele, Collette, Janie, Sharon, Mary , Linda, Lynn B., Michelle, Beth, Rubena, Jim, Michele, Aranyazu, MaryAnne, Spring Ivy, Georgia N., Jen, Corinne, Jenny, Blythe, Kerstin, Virginia, Sara, Kari and Andrea. I hope these will be the first of many comments from each of you. Don’t be shy!

      1. Margaret says:


        I use the easy and fun “random number generator” tool on random dot org to pick the winners for my contests, and today’s lucky commenters are: first-time canner/preserver Mary Callahan, and repeat offender (tee hee) AmyD, who does everything from freezing fruits for smoothies to stashing roasted tomatoes and pestos galore.

        Congratulations to both of you; this topic will resurface as the season continues, so stay tuned. There may even be more books to be had! Thanks to all for participating, as ever.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Judy. I have never pickled asparagus (it doesn’t last long enough here to be “put up”!). Nice to see you, and don’t be a stranger.

  3. Gerri Yeager says:

    My favorite is rhubarb jelly I’m addicted to it even in the winter I just grab a container out of the freezer and have a wonderful peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I also like to make sauerkraut and can it for later use.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Gerri. I have never had rhubarb jelly…sounds great. And freezer jam — easy, right? I have to go look up a recipe for this…thank you, and see you soon.

  4. monica blum says:

    too busy edging (as per your earlier article!) and using all that wonderful mulch from Byron Clough you recommended to enter the contest by deadline. Since I have a pinched nerve in my back, my poor husband follows me around with the edger and I show him where to make the edges! I freeze a wonderful rhubarb strawberry gallette filling (can’t master the gallette though) that uses ginger, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. it is great over fage yoghurt or vanilla ice cream. I had hoped to pickle beets but a little critter seemed to get into my vegetable garden and decimated most of my beet greens and lettuce. oh well. thanks for a wonderful newsletter. Looking forward to seeing your gardens when you have your open house this summer. thanks again for the wonderful recommendation Margaret, and of course all your great suggestions. Monica

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Monica. A lot of people locally are having vole problems — plants uprooted and crops being eaten. This seems to be a bumper vole year. Do you see any? My cat hunts and kills them pretty well, but I have also used mouse traps some years under baskets or pots (to keep other animals from getting in the traps).

      Happy to help and glad the mulch worked well for you. Byron is great!

  5. Tricia says:

    One of my passions is recipe books, and canning books. As far as I am concerned, you can’t have too many. I am always referring to my books. One of my first books, bought about 30 years ago, is ‘Stocking Up’. I love it and use it all the time. I didn’t even know there was a ‘Stocking up II’ or a ‘Stocking up III’. They are now on my wish list, and I will be searching for them. God bless

  6. Sandra Grover says:

    My new love is squash and am planting several new, to me, varieties that will store for a good amount of time. I also do a lot of canning and am wishing this weather would straighten up so I can get out there in the dirt.

  7. Sheryl says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to win those great freezer jars. I started canning the year after we married-44 years ago and continue to learn of new recipes and ideas. Nothing goes to waste here-love the feel of looking in the cupboards and seeing what we have grown and preserved. I’m reminded of a “Depression Era” quote-“Use it up, wear it out. Make do or do without”. I try to follow that as much as possible.

  8. Nancy says:

    What an outstandingly thoughtful giveaway!!!
    Love your site, the knowledge I’ve gained, will promulgate to others that NEED to know these things. Happy life!!

  9. Karen says:

    So glad I found this site! I am getting back into the canning scene growing my own small garden this year and so excited about it!

  10. Julie says:

    Love your website! Ive been canning for weeks now! Garlic dills, Hot peppers, triple berry jam, bread and butter pickles with and without jalapenos, pickled beets, hoping for peach jam and tomato sauce soon! Great giveaway for the home gardener!!!

  11. Becca Riley says:

    I’m going to be freezing some green beans later today. I’ll also can some tomatoes, peaches, apples in different ways, and maybe even some other vegetables if they are ready in my Parents garden when I can get up there to help Mom with it. (I don’t have a pressure canner myself, but Mom does, so I only do fruit or pickles at home.)

  12. Jackie Davis says:

    I garden both on the home place and at the community garden I established in Salem, IL two years ago. Produce not given to the needy in my area are preserved or eaten fresh. To date I have blackberry jam, blackberries frozen, bread and butter pickles, bazil and other herbs frozen in water cubes or in oil, dehydrated onions and garlic as well as dehydrated peaches -those that were not pickled or made into peach/jalapeno jam. The hot peppers go into Pepper Jelly or they are frozen for poppers later this fall. Some onions and garlic are braded and hanging in a shaded shed. Tomatoes are made into salsa, frozen and some dehydrated. Green tomatoes will make chow chow later this fall. Retirement has me busier than when I taught in CA. I love your site and will soon be making your refrigerator pickles, cukes willing.

  13. Karen Brown says:

    Since I live in Florida my canning from my spring garden is finished. I am at that point that I am reflecting on how to have a better fall garden. The fall garden and spring garden are all canned and froze in the same year. I use he articles on the website during the summer (when it is too hot down here for much gardening) to make plans for the next year. I love the site. I could use the books for references.

  14. Rucy says:

    I have bottles tied onto the pear tree and I’m now in my 3rd year of making French-style pear brandy (quickly becoming a signature holiday gift!). The Meyer lemons, off a single tree, produce about 2 bushels per month so I put that into everything from marmalade to curd to triple lemon poundcake to Moroccan-style preserved lemons to homemade bath salts to plain household cleaning products (green) – and – every glass of lemonade is a toast to my dear departed parents each of whom grew Meyer lemons in their gardens. The Provence lavender is coming on keenly, as are all the herbs (about 50 last count) which will make lovely herb blends for gifts, and the apples are coming on well so caramel applesauce won’t be too far off in the future. Last month’s peach festival-at-home resulted in four variations on peach jam and using the oven method for sterilizing jars means I’m more comfortable making jam anytime there’s great produce available from my garden or the local farmer’s market. I’ve canned honeyed beets, dilly beans, and next weekend will make some homemade tomato ketchup along with some produce a friend has asked me to take from her garden. I love love love this time of year in the garden…

  15. sally in the mitten says:

    Here in the southwest corner of the “mitten”, we are busy picking blackberries,
    peaches and plums. We sell our fruit at three farm markets: two in the mitten and
    one in Illinois. We love meeting new customers and renewing our friendships with former ones. IT makes us happy to have “City folks” bite into a tree-ripened plum
    and ooo and ah at its sweetness! Anticipating the Saturn peaches reaching harvest-love to see the juice run down soneone’s chin after biting into one of those little “donuts”.
    Have been making jams and enjoying green beans (French filets) from our garden, though we plan to “can” all of the beans as we harvest! I do hope to can/freeze some peaches in those beautiful jars you featured. Have learned much from your weekly e mails (garlic harvest, cucumber abnormalities) and look forward to following you through the balance of the season. Do put me in the drawing for your
    canning book give-away! Warm regards……

  16. Lisa Bambury says:

    This will be our second year of canning, so I am always looking for recipes and assistance from our blue ribbonbook, friends recipes, and the internet. We just finished our first batch of pickled squash as well as the cucumbers…or should I say pickles. When the beets were in full swing, I canned them as well. Our next venture will be figs, which we have 5 gallons in the freezer, and this will be new territory for us! Lastly right around the corner is salsa. I just love not having to go to the store to buy vegetables, its just a short walk to the garden or the pantry!

  17. Charlie says:

    I have had fun this summer putting veggies in my freezer and I have also made preserves for the first time. A house on my street that has no one living in it had a hugh fig tree in the yard and instead of the birds getting all of them I decided to give making preserves a try. They are wonderful I have also put peas, squash and tomatoes in the freezer. I know those peas will be just wonderful this winter.

  18. Rhonda says:

    My favorite way to save my tomatoes is to put them in my freezer. Later on, usually when there are only pale versions available at the grocery store, I pull them out, plop them in a pot of hot water, slip the peels off and cook them down into a wonderfully aromatic thick sauce, bringing back summer memories, smiling the whole time.

  19. Susan says:

    I have been canning all summer. First the abundant Strawberry crop, then fig jam. I have made spagetti sauce, pizza sauce and last night Chili sauce. I used to can in my 20’s. I am now in my 60’s and love getting back to it. I don’t make a lot just what I have extra from my garden. I am not going out and buying bushel baskets and making a huge process out of it.

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