There are thousands of great cookbooks on the market these days, on all types of cooking. Not to mention all of the blogs, Pinterest, and celebrity chef recipes available. There are plenty of books to choose from, but our cooking challenge is unique in today’s world as a homesteader. Today you can go to the grocery store and get a tomato, pineapple, orange, cucumber, etc. at any time! As a homesteader, I cannot walk out to my garden and get an orange, pineapple, tomato, or cucumber on the same day if at all. I have looked for cookbooks that help me cook with seasonal fresh ingredients. Below is my list of the best cookbooks for farm fresh foods, some are written by other homesteaders, but some are not. I believe having a diverse culinary experience keeps our meals exciting and keeps us wanting to grow more and more. Sitting down to a meal that is completely from our garden and pastures is the real payday.
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I love Korean cooking because they use fresh ingredients in new and exciting ways. When I get tired of potatoes, pork chops, steak, pasta, etc. I pull out this cookbook and let inspiration lead me. This is also where I get my favorite kimchi recipe. It comes out perfect every time and tastes delicious for months!
I think most people with an interest in cooking have heard of Julia Child. The price tag on this book can make it intimidating but it is an absolute staple. Since this cookbook was originally published in 1961 it uses whole fresh ingredients in all of its recipes. The idea of fancy “French” cooking can seem intimidating but this book really is a base of most recipes we are used to. It just takes you back to the simple basics. The other great part about this book is the use of butcher cuts which closely resemble what you get back from the butcher when you have a whole animal processed. This helps use up those cuts in your freezer you aren’t sure about, as I know we all have that issue.
This book was written by Jill Winger who is the writer of the Prairie Homestead Blog. It has everything from how to process your home dairy products to the perfect Sunday roast. I appreciate this book for its acknowledgment of homesteaders’ needs. Sometimes we need the long slow cooking roast, but sometimes we need to whip up biscuits to serve with leftover gravy for dinner.
Bress ‘n’ Nyam is a new cookbook out this year, and it made my list of best cookbooks for farm fresh foods because of its use of farm-fresh ingredients. The author is a chef who moved back to his family farm and has turned seasonal farm-fresh produce into amazing food. This book provides amped-up “fancy” recipes that anyone can do. The book provides a deep insight into Gullah Geechee’s history and culture. I love a good cookbook that provides a good story as well as amazing recipes, this book does not disappoint.
Lacto-fermentation used to be the only way to preserve harvests until modern-day canning came along. What wasn’t considered when modern-day canning began was the loss of good bacteria and nutrients. Sandor Katz has written this book and The Art of Fermentation as the ultimate guide to Lacto-fermentation. Wild Fermentation was my first book on Lacto-fermentation and I have since branched out into many new flavors and techniques. This book is a great beginner guide to understanding the principles behind fermentation as well as safety and feeling comfortable eating what you have created.
I have always loved fresh-baked bread; who doesn’t? This book changed my bread baking abilities! Reinhart teaches how to bake bread without spending an hour kneading every time. Most of the recipes require an overnight fermentation which might seem daunting but also makes baking so much more attainable when you are busy and can’t spend all day watching dough rise. This book also provides detailed instructions on shaping the dough, creating a hearth in your home oven, and basic dough techniques. After recommending this book to all of my family, I can tell you they all threw out their bread machines. This book simplifies bread-making!
Charcuterie, as in curing meat, is our new obsession. We have barely dipped our toes in but its book is a great starter book. Feeling comfortable that you are processing meat safely and correctly is the most important part. This book lays out each step and provides amazing recipes along the way.
The Elliott Homestead was one of the first bloggers/YouTubers I followed when we began this journey. She does a great job of inspiring homesteaders to find the beauty in this life despite it being messy and dirty so much of the time. Her cookbooks are full of recipes using fresh seasonal ingredients. Even if you aren’t a homesteader but you enjoy farm-fresh ingredients you will enjoy this book.
9. Joy of Cooking by: Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, John Becker, Megan Scott
The Joy of Cooking is another one of those staples. I use this book when I need inspiration for roasts, bland winter vegetables, and endless amounts of stews. This book will help you become a better cook by teaching you the basic skills every home chef should know.
The Silver Spoon was a book I stumbled upon one year after Christmas on the clearance table at Barnes and Noble. I was still very new to cooking and it was a HUGE book that covered just about everything, so I thought it would be great. In my opinion, it is an absolute staple in a cook’s library. While researching for this article, I found out that this book was originally in Italian and is considered a staple in Italian homes. The linked edition is not the same as mine, but I believe my edition was the first translation to English. You definitely need this book if you do not have it.
Each of these books I have carefully chosen as my top favorites. I have countless numbers of cookbooks and while writing this article ordered three more haha. I hope that these books can help you on your journey of eating and enjoying seasonal farm-fresh food.