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Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber Hardcover – September 1, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Ferber is a fourth-generation French patissiere whose specialty is her unusual, delicious jams and jellies, which have gained an international following among chefs (Alain Ducasse, who wrote the foreword, serves them at his renowned restaurants) and other gourmands. This book, a best seller in France, presents dozens of recipes, organized by season, for preserves from Black Cherry with Pinot Noir to Greengage and Mirabelle Plum with Mint; a number of them include chocolate, not a standard addition. Few of the recipes include headnotes, although translator's notes identify the more exotic ingredients; instructions are on the brief side. However, any jam maker will find Ferber's book fascinating. Recommended for all canning and preserving collections.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Christine Ferber lives in Alsace, where she continues to make jams, pastry, and confections by hand, with only the freshest local ingredients. She is the author of several books on French cookery.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Michigan State University Press; 5TH edition (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870136291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870136290
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jadepearl VINE VOICE on July 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The recipes are very simple. Usually requiring a few steps for small batch jams and preserves. However, it is not for the inexperienced unless they have good back-up books like _Blue Ribbon Preserves_ which explains clearly how to sterilize and prepare jars and focus on a more scientific approach to preserves.

Ferber provides flavor inspirations and deceptively simple approach. However, there is no explanation in the book for pectin substitution. She relies on either the natural pectin found in the fruit or uses green apple jelly as a pectin base which means you get to make alot of green apple jelly adding a whole set of steps to the jam/jelly process. The book does not explain which fruits have enough natural pectin to set and what level of set.

If you know what it means to skim the juices already then the simple instructions are enough to work with but if you have no "feel" or previous knowledge of preserves making than the instructions seem skimpy. This is NOT a teaching volume it is an inspirational volume for the experienced preserves person.

The important thing though is that the flavors are fabulous. Just be sure to read the instructions first and research carefully your subsititutions and also your preserve process or else the simple instructions become too simple.

Recommended for the collection.
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Format: Hardcover
`Mes Confitures', subtitled `The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber' is written by Ms. Ferber herself, in French, translated by Virginia Phillips, and introduced with a foreword by Alain Ducasse. In case these circumstances are not enough to clue you in to what is afoot here, let me tell you that this book is not about your grandmother's strawberry jam. It is also not about your mother's Smuckers and certainly not about your Polaner jelly. This book is about artisinal products as carefully done as French wines and cheeses. In fact, the similarity between wines and these preserves are a lot closer than almost any other comparison, as the raw material of both is very similar.

Before going much further, I must give a word or warning that I do not consider this book a complete manual on how to make and preserve jams and jellies. In fact, it is telling that the title and subtitle DO NOT include the word `preserves'. While I am not an expert on preserves and canning, I have enough knowledge, acquired from a typically excellent episode of Alton Brown's `Good Eats' to know that successfully packing a confit in a sterile container is not the same as prepping a PRESERVE which can safely sit on an unrefrigerated shelf for up to a year. So, if you are serious about making confits and preserves, get a very good introductory book on canning, as Ms. Ferber's book is much more of a master class on the subject, which assumes you know a lot about the mechanics of canning and preserving. The book is primarily a collection of primo recipes for producing jams and jellies worthy of smearing on your artisinal breads or filling your handmade Linzer cookies.
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Format: Hardcover
It is true, as a number of people have mentioned, that this is not a how-to-can book, but I didn't expect it to be. Besides, these jams are not processed. They are just poured in the jars, lidded, and tipped over to "seal." That's fine, but people should be aware that since these are not processed jams, there can be no snarky remarks about how this is for advanced canners. There is no canning here, period, not as Americans understand it.

The recipes are interesting, but they call for a huge amount of sugar, far more than is typical nowadays in jam recipes. All that sugar ensures that after you open the jam, it does not have to be refrigerated; there is too much sugar to allow for much mold to grow. For me, though, this amount of sugar overpowers the fruit flavor. Even the apple pectin recipe is full of sugar. I wasted a lot of sugar making a bunch of that when I could have made it it without any sugar at all and it would work just as well. I've used a number of the recipes now and have cut down the sugar enormously (and processed the jars for 5 minutes in a BWB). They taste a lot better to me. I would rather refrigerate a jam after opening and have a more fruity flavor than add so much sugar that the fruit is barely identifiable.

As someone mentioned in comments, some of these recipes won't set (even if you add all the sugar called for). I believe that is because Europeans tend to like more runny jams than Americans do. I have sure seen that with Russian jams. At any rate, I too became frustrated with testing and testing and not getting any set.

The one thing I really like about this book is the technique of adding the sugar to the fruit and letting it cold macerate overnight. The next day the fruit is cooked a bit and then the juice is drained and boiled down.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is one of the most exciting cookbooks that I have used recently. Besides containing standard flavors such as strawberries and peach, it also has the more interesting combinations of Pear with a Balsalmic Vinegar and Spices, Carrot with Cardamom, Strawberry and Balck Pepper, and so forth. Every combination I have tried has been incredibly good, especially the Raspberry with Star Anise. Most of the recipes seem to make about 5-6 half-pint jars, but as it's not stated anywhere in the book, make sure to sterilize a few extra. These jams always come out fresh-tasting and with a slightly soft set, the benefit of using natural pectin in fruit and not adding one. However, since some of the low pectin fruits still require pectin, there is a recipe for green apple pectin stock to provide the needed pectin, great if you have access to underripe apples.

This is a great book, especially for those wanting to take preserve making one step further and try interesting combinations. In fact, trying those interesting combinations certainly got my creative juices flowing and inspired me to make some fun mixes of my own.

However, this is not a book that goes over the particulars involved in preserving foods and canning, and the necessary sanitation and precautions it entails, so any first-time canners need to pick up another book or do some research online for these techniques.

All in all, I would definetly buy this book again if it was ever lost or stolen by the many admiring friends who have borrowed it so far.
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