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Learn to eat chemical-free at library

According to the American Cancer Society's Minnesota Cancer Facts and Figures 2009, cancer is the leading cause of death in Minnesota. Cancer overtook heart disease for the number one slot in 2000 and has remained number one since.

Many of us have become aware that organic food is healthier for us to eat. This development has sparked a revival of processing fresh meat and/or produce for use throughout the year. Some grow their own, while some purchase at farmer's markets. No matter how you get the meat and/or produce, it all has to be processed. There are choices as to how you process the organic food (can, freeze, dehydrate, etc.).

Your library can help you gain the knowledge necessary to make the choice and complete the process.

Homemade Living: Canning & Preserving with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Make Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Chutney & More, by Ashley English. Learn about the necessary tools of the trade, crucial safety tips, and hot water bath processing and pressure canning. Discover the all-important science of salt and sugar and how to select the best possible ingredients favoring seasonal, organic and local options. Three topic-specific primers cover pickles, relishes and chutneys; jams, jellies, butters and curds; and whole fruits and veggies--and each offers at least two "Canning Classic" recipes with variation ideas.

Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today, Judi Kingry. As nutrition and food quality has become more important, home canning and preserving has increased in popularity for the benefits it offers:

• Cooks gain control of the ingredients, including organic fruits and vegetables;

• Preserving foods at their freshest point locks in nutrition;

• The final product is free of chemical additives and preservatives;

• Store-bought brands cannot match the wonderful flavor of homemade;

• Only a few hours are needed to put up a batch of jam or relish;

• Home preserves make a great personal gift any time of year.

The book includes comprehensive directions on safe canning and preserving methods plus lists of required equipment and utensils. Specific instructions for first-timers and handy tips for the experienced make this book a valuable addition to any kitchen library.

The New Preserves: Pickles, Jams and Jellies, by Anne V. Nelson. As fresh foods and farmers' markets gain influence, edging out the overprocessed and supersized from our diets, everything old-and bursting with flavor-is new again, and Americans are turning to time-honored skills like pickling and preserving to wake up their palates. Anne V. Nelson walks readers through every step of the process.

The Detroit Lakes Library is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed on Sundays.