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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
This is a beautifully photographed and laid out book about canning and preserving. It's very thorough, the first half of the book contains detailed information about equipment and the process of canning safely. The second half of the book is filled with delicious sounding recipes, some are the typical canning recipes like: strawberry jam, grape jelly, crushed tomatoes or pickles. The seasonal recipe section is much more interesting and contains recipes like: Clementine Cointreau Curd, Curried Winter Squash Chutney, Peach Lavender Butter, or Cardamom Apple Cider Butter.

If you're already an experienced canner you might find this book to be a little less useful. Since half of the book is taken up with detailed information about the equipment and the process of canning, there are only 31 recipes in this 130 page book. The recipes in the Seasonal section are very interesting for those of us who like canning recipes that are a little unusual. I love recipes that incorporate herbs and spices and a few of them incorporate liqueur or wine.

I always am drawn to book with good layout, great photos and this book is no exception. The colors are fantastic, the layout is great, the recipes are good and the photos are inspiring. You do however have to balance that out with how useful it will be to you. If you don't have a Ball Blue Book of Preserving and don't know much about canning, this would be a great reference for you. If you're already canning you might find it to be a little light on recipes to make it worth the purchase price.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2010
Although I have seen my mother can many times in my youth, I have never tried canning myself, and was nervous about starting. It seemed like alchemy to me! I spotted this book at my local library and checked it out, and, well, I had to have it after reading it! It explains everything quite clearly, has fantastic pictures, lots of profiles of professional canners/gardeners... It took the mystery out of canning and made it fun and easy for me to get started! The recipes included are absolutely wonderful, and I would recommend every aspect of this book very highly! I'm the sort of person who sometimes has trouble with written instructions, being a visual/hands-on learner, but this was written so clearly and with so many pictures that it was crystal clear on the first read-through! If I could give it an extra star, I certainly would!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2010
take it from someone immersed in the world of canning and preserving - and with more canning books than i care to admit: ashley's got it right with clear and easy-to-understand instructions, all the basic preserves that your grandma made, plus a lot of new ones with a worldly flair and exciting flavors! i love the look and feel of the book itself. and the best part imo, is the 'portrait of a canner' spots throughout the book that give insight into the diverse community that makes up today's canning revolution.

this is a book for experienced canners. i've been canning regularly for years and have ear-marked a good number of recipes i can't wait to get in my kitchen and try! and perfect for someone who has not yet put jar to boiling water - there is no guessing here. everything you need to know to can safely & surely.

a preserving handbook that calls to the new generation of canners...one i imagine will become well-worn with use.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2010
I knew nothing about canning until I picked up this book, and I must admit, I was intimidated by the whole prospect of preserving food! Alas, my fears were laid to rest when I started reading. Ashley English has a friendly writing style, the book is easy to read, full of truly helpful photographs for the beginner, and most of all, she takes the fear and mystery out of canning. Providing very practical advice, this book spices up (pun intended!) what might be a difficult/complicated/boring subject to read about, and makes it fun by providing the Profiles of a Canner sidebars and a conversational voice. By the end of the book, I felt encouraged to take a trip to the farmer's market and start boiling some water.

This book is the perfect gift for a beginning canner or someone interested in getting started. Easy to read, helpful pictures makes this a go-to book through your first year of preserving (and beyond!), and includes unique recipes you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere else!

P.S. Love, love, love that it's printed on recycled paper!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Canning to me has always been intimidating. I always thought you either needed a degree in chemistry or you needed to be born in the 1920's. I can remember my Grandmother Tucker canning in her small kitchen in Alpharetta, GA. Canning brings back memories and traditions in my mind. I would love to learn canning so that I could preserve my garden all year around. I believe Ashley English is going to help me learn canning with this book.

Ashley has such an easy way to her writing. I honestly believe that nobody writes about homesteading like Ashley. Of course, this book does not disappoint. The book is divided into the following chapters: Why We Can, Tools of the Trade, Canning Concepts, Ingredients, A Jam/Jellies/Preserves Primer, A Pickle/Relish/Chutney Primer, A Whole Fruit/Vegetables Primer and Seasoned Recipes. Again, Ashley adds human interest stories in her Portrait of a Canner, Canning parties and Trouble Shooting.

I honestly believe that this is the only book you need to learn canning - Yes, it is that good.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2010
Like many of the folks who contributed to the writing of this book, I grew up in a household that spent summers canning peaches, tomatoes, beans and applesauce. I recently decided to take the plunge and start doing it for myself and my own household instead of relying on my aging grandmothers to do the work for me. This book was the first book of canning advice and recipes that I purchased and am thrilled with the practical advice and well detailed instructions inside its covers. I am excited to begin and have page marked the recipes I plan to use already.

A few 'new' ideas that you might not think of when it comes to canning are in the seasonal chapters in the back of the book. It was here that I discovered peach-lavender butter, apple butter, winter squash chutney and several relishes that I am anxious to try. With the local farmer's market brimming with fresh peaches now, and looking ahead to picking apples in September and squashes in the fall, I know I'll be turning to this book again and again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2010
This is the book that changed my relationship to canning. I had cycled through the traditional how-to manuals on the subject but they all had me as scared as though it were nuclear fusion. Ashley's book changed all that. She took me by the hand, led me into her kitchen and we got to work. She actually takes you through step by step in photographs as well as text, which for me was invaluable - as close as you can get to personal tuition. Along the way I learned the difference between jams and jellies, the science of altitude adjustment and how to create a modern twist on simple comfort foods (which make great gifts btw).
The book itself, like all of the Homemade Living series, is so beautifully put together, feeling like a much loved vintage copy even with it's crisp new pages. Destined to become a favorite.
Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2010
Ashley English has done a fabulous job putting this book together. It's well written, easy to comprehend (especially for those who have never canned before), beautifully detailed and the recipes are unique and simply delicious! Thus far,I have canned the following from her book: Strawberry Jam, Grape Jelly; Peach and Lavender butter and the Tomato Basil Sauce. Needless to say, my family raves about all of them! They're so delicious that I'm going to prepare a lot more for gifts!

Since some of her other recipes in the book call for the use of a pressure cooker, I'm going to purchase one from Amazon this evening! Perhaps it's because I'm anxious to prepare her Clementine Cointreau Curd and Meyer Lemon and Lemon Verbena Curd since they too will no doubt be as delicious and great for gifts!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2010
This is exactly what I was looking for. I grew up with my mom, aunt, cousins, sister, etc. canning, but I've never tried it primarily because I'm terrified of botulism (I think my mom may have over-emphasized the importance of sealing properly to prevent botulism). I grew up around cooking, baking, canning, sewing, and all the other home skills all girls used to be taught, and like my sisters I fell into what I love...cooking and baking. But canning is something I've always wanted to do. Every summer when there are fresh peaches I think of my aunt's canned spiced peaches we had with Thanksgiving dinner, bread and butter pickles, and canned green beans. If you are looking for a basic book to get you passed the terror botulism or you just want to know what this is all about this is a great book. Highly recommend. I just wish I had my aunt's recipe...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This book is a primer on canning, offering an overview of the science behind the process, a list of all the essentials you'll need to get started, a handy reference guide to which fruits and vegetable varieties are best suited to canning, trouble-shooting any difficulties that might crop up, in addition to all the how-to's of canning itself, which are thoroughly illustrated step-by-step through instructional diagrams and photographs.

I have not gotten to make any of the recipes just yet--I don't want to waste my effort on store-bought produce--but have pages earmarked that walk you through making strawberry jam, apple butter, and tomato basil sauce (although I'll need a pressure canner for that one). Those are some pretty basic recipes, but there are also more exotic ones like Fig and Thyme Jam, Curried Winter Squash Chutney, or Peach and Lavender Butter.

I think that if you're just starting out with canning and preserving, like I am, this is a great resource. However, it's not an exhaustive guide if you're looking for tons of recipes: In total, there are 28 recipes provided, which cover 8 canning classics and then 20 unique seasonal recipes (like the examples listed above). Personally, I wish there were more of the "canning classics" recipes included, but I guess they figured that you can look those up easily anywhere?
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