I’ve always loved reading – as a child I voraciously read through summer reading lists, checked out full book-bags every library visit, and was never happier than when I had something to read. To this day, I still have a decent sized home library, which I do my best to maintain and keep full of books we actually enjoy and use, versus hoarding them as I used to do.
Homesteading, farming, and gardening books are of course, my favorite. I suppose some people would want to read about a life opposite their own, but to me, there is no greater tale than that of someone’s farming adventures. I’ve also found that, despite the vast level of information available on the internet, there is something so nice about picking up a trusted book as your canning or gardening resource.
For today’s post, I’ve compiled my top favorite homesteading books that I’ve been using or have read in the last year.
Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in anyway for these reviews. The opinions are 100% my own, and have not been influenced by anyone else for any purpose. These are just a few books I love!
- Canning for a New Generation – Liana Krissoff – I’ve had this book for a couple of years now, actually. I love this book because she has some truly unique canning recipes, in addition to those old favorites. I’m always excited to venture outside our normal canning circle to try something new, and Krissoff’s book never disappoints. One other thing I love about this book is that she includes meal recipes to use some of the more unusual canning recipes, that you might otherwise wonder what to do with. Definitely a book worth including in your own collection!
- Root Cellaring – Mike & Nancy Bubel – Another book that has been in my collection and gets reused every year is the Bubel’s Root Cellaring. While my own root cellaring adventures are confined to a corner of my basement, this book has been getting more use in the last year, and will be in my hands often for this harvest season. They give truly detailed information on every part of root cellaring – from building your own, to which varieties store better than others. After brilliant success cellaring our own carrots last year (we had a case full from October-February, and only stopped because we ate them alal), I am looking forward to using this book more as we expand on our root cellar.
- The Home Winemaker’s Companion – Gene Spazianai & Ed Halloran –
I confess this book is probably the least referred to out of the three I am sharing today, only because our winemaking takes a back seat to the rest of our activities. We’re still working/waiting on our 2016 Old Vine Zinfandel to mellow and age, and so for now there isn’t much we can do with it. However, this book is really great for beginners, and as a resource for those expanding their knowledge. It breaks down all aspects of the winemaking process, including making wine from kits, juice, or grapes. It’s very versatile and worth picking up if you are interested in making your own wine.
- The Dirty Life – Kristen Kimball – I absolutely loved this book. Kimball’s writing style roped me in right away as she talks about her transition from NY City living to farming. She is refreshing, honesty and funny, and I felt like I was able to relate so much to her, and her husband, that it was often like reading pages from my own mind. I read this book in under a week, unable to put it down once I had picked it up.
- Heirloom – Tim Stark – Another wonderful, hard-to-put-down read, Stark’s adventures mimic Kimball’s in that he jumps into tomato growing without much experience. I loved Stark’s storytelling, and the adventures and mishaps he shares as he gets is own business and farm up and running.
- Growing a Farmer – Kurt Timmermeister – This book chronicle’s Timmermeister’s impulsive, sudden jump from restaurateur to farmer. A laughable, honest and intriguing story, Growing a Farmer jumps around to Timmermeister’s various farming adventures and exploits, from vegetable gardening, raising sheep, beekeeping and cheese making.
- Better Off – Eric Brende
- – Slightly different from the first three books I’ve shared, Better Off is the story of the newlywed Brende couple as they embark on a year-long project to leave modern technology and electricity behind. Brende and his wife move in to an Amish-like community where they dive head first into the way of life, hoping to prove that a sustainable, and enjoyable, lifestyle can come from a simpler way of life. I really enjoyed this book, and was deeply intrigued by the lifestyle of the community the Brendes chose to live among.
- Founding Gardeners – Andrea Wulf
- – Another different type of story, but nonetheless a great read for this summer, Founding Gardeners is the story of the first four presidents of the United States. Wulf shares the views of these men as they began to shape the U.S., and how they envisioned the country as an agricultural nation. Wulf shares their personal gardening exploits, the nature of their estates, plans for the White House, seed smuggling and more. I found this a really engaging book, giving a fresh take on the “founding fathers” that it not often shared.