Yes, You Can! By Daniel Gastieger
Let me start with a disclaimer. Daniel Gasteiger, author of Yes, You Can! is a friend of mine. We met over Twitter (he is known as @Cityslipper) and his great blog, Small Kitchen Garden. However, after reading his book, I consider him more than a friend, from now on he is my canning therapist.
I have always been a little intimidated by the whole process of canning. The specter, no matter how remote in reality, of doing in my entire family by feeding them tainted food always seems to loom large when I'm thinking about canning as a method of food preservation. More often than not, if I make large quantities of food, I contemplate canning it, chicken out, and throw it in our extra freezer.
Enter Daniel Gatsteiger and his book, Yes, You Can! which is a comprehensive, decidedly not-scary book about canning and preserving food. His approach is blessedly straightforward and his writing is friendly, enthusiastic and personal. The information he presents is clear and comprehensive. His laid back, attitude is engaging and his measured approach to food preservation is refreshing.
At the beginning of the section on dehydrating food, he says, "Before you dry every berry, bean, pineapple, or potato in sight, think about how you'll use the dried produce later on." In a press release he goes on to say, "Canning is amazingly easy to 'get right.' Preserving food requires some commitment, and if you don't enjoy it, you may be better off playing with the kids, going for a walk, or pursuing other leisure time activities."
And if you do like it, this book will give you lots of options to choose from--dehydrating, canning, freezing and cold storage--all described in detail, but with a sense of humor and enthusiasm. In each section there are tips and tricks as well as recipes galore.
There is a great step-by-step section on water bath canning of high acid foods, which is illustrated by photographs that are clear and easy to follow. Daniel gives the specifics for canning many different fruits and vegetables and a whole section is (thankfully) devoted to canning tomatoes.
Yes, You Can! is not a food porn book--no frou-frou design or soft-focus glamour shots. It is a wonderful gift, particularly, a man who is interested in food preservation, beginners and anyone who is looking for information, that is well written, friendly, smart but without condescension. And, if you, like me, have a slight canning phobia, Yes, You Can! may be all the therapy you need to overcome it.