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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 24, 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I love eating berries and cooking with them so I was pleased to add another berry-centric cookbook to my collection. Unfortunately, the book is not the encyclopedic reference that it is portrayed to be. Many of us who grew up with a prized set of encyclopedias enjoyed (and learned from) the illustrated maps and photos.

There is not a single photo in the entire book. The chapter entitled, "The A- To - Z Berry Encyclopedia" describes more than 30 types of berries and would have really benefited from a photo of each one to help readers identify them in the store and in the field.*

The format is not user friendly. Recipes are listed one after another so that many, if not most, are on two pages (rather than beginning each recipe on a new page). I find it much easier to use recipes when the ingredients and instructions are on one page so I don't have to flip back and forth (especially when I have flour or berry juice on my hands). The author bolded the ingredients and yield rather than the title for each recipe so it is more difficult than it should be to find a specific recipe (especially since there is no index). At least one recipe (Summer Water) is presented in an essay format (rather than with a list of ingredients followed by the instructions).

If you are mainly interested in facts on berries, this book could be a good choice. The information on berries in the Berry Encyclopedia chapter is very thorough. For each of the 30+ types of berries, the author provides the common name, scientific classification, habitat and distribution, history, where it is grown commercially, how to pick it, how to store it, and notes for the cook.

If you are primarily interested in berry recipes, I have a few alternate suggestions from my cookbook collection. My favorite is Luscious Berry Desserts by Lori Longbotham which has a wonderful collection of recipes, many of which are accompanied by a photo of the finished dish. If you're interested in recipes for more than just desserts, you may want to check out Berries: A Country Garden Cookbook as it has recipes for appetizers, main courses, jams and jellies, beverages and desserts. It provides a brief overview of various types of berries and includes photos of 16 of them. I also recommend Very Blueberry which is a small book focused on blueberry which contains more than 40 recipes for breakfast and snacks; salads, sides and starters; entrees; spreads, sauces and jams; and desserts.

Initial chapters in the Berry Bible include:
*The Introduction provides a brief overview of the history of berries in the U.S.
*Good Health and Berries provides a page and a half of background on the healthful qualities of berries
*A- To -Z Berry Encyclopedia provides detailed information for each of 30+ types of berries including the common name, scientific classification, habitat and distribution, history, where it is grown commercially, how to pick it, how to store it, and cooking notes.
*Berry Basics covers fresh versus frozen berries, dried berries, and berry purees as well as useful tips on substitutions, toasting nuts, and how to remove berry stains.

I usually list all the recipes but since this book has more than 150, I chose a representative sample for each chapter to give you an idea of what to expect. I noticed that my recipe count is slightly lower than the 175 claimed on the book cover. That may because I did not count multiple recipes for one dish separately. For instance, I did not count the pie crust recipes in the chapter on pies.

The chapter on Coolers, Cocktails, Smoothies, and Other Drinks includes 30 recipes for lemonades, smoothies, ice cream sodas and alcoholic beverages. Examples include Staghorn Sumac Lemonade, Raspberry-Nectarine Smoothie, Loganberry-Cantaloupe Smoothie, Marionberry Antioxidant Elixir, Chocolate-Espresso Soda with Raspberries, Blackberry Martini, Kaspar's Cranberry-Apple Holiday Cheer, and Spicy Blackberry Brandy.

The chapter on Breads includes 14 recipes for muffins, tea breads and French toast. Examples include Blackberry-Blueberry Cardamom Muffins, French Toast with Oatmeal Crust, Ginger Scones with Lemon-Blueberry Filling, Marionberry Biscuits, and Raspberry-Marcona Almond Coffee Cake.

The Soups and Salad chapter includes 16 recipes including Chilled Blueberry-Lime Soup, Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup, Mache and Blueberry Salad, Himalayan Red Rice Salad with Blueberries, Fresh Beet and Raspberry Salad, Pimenton Chicken Salad with Summer Berries, and Summer Berries and Flowers in White Wine Jelly.

The chapter on Main Courses includes 16 recipes for fish, poultry, lamb, pork and other meats. Examples include Curried Halibut with Strawberry-Papaya Relish, Panfried Quail with Sage in Huckleberry Sauce, White Pekin Duckling with Loganberry-Hoisin Glaze, Pork Tenderloin Salad with Warm Strawberry Dressing, and Venison Tenderloin with Horseradish-Sour Cream Sauce.

The Sauces chapter includes 15 recipes such as Asian Blackberry Barbecue Sauce, Berry Coulis, Boysenberry Applesauce, Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, Savory Boysenberry-Juniper Vinegar, and Tomatillo Salsa.

The next chapter entitled, "Putting Berries By" includes instructions for processing preserves as well as 21 recipes for jams, jellies, and other condiments as well as one candy. Examples include Blueberry-Loganberry Ginger Jam, Savannah Pyracantha Jelly, Black Currant Conserve, Blackberry-Chile-Mint Preserves, Strawberry-Rose Geranium Syrup, Spicy Horseradish-Cranberry Relish, and Strawberry-Balsamic Mustard.

The chapter on Ice Creams, Sorbets, and Other Frozen Treats includes 12 recipes such as Loganberry-Buttermilk Ice Cream, Blood Orange Vodka Berry Sorbet, Blueberry-Peach Tequila Pops, Creamy Lemon Sherbet and Frozen Cranberries with Hot Caramel Sauce.

The chapter on Pies, Tarts, Cobblers and Such includes 18 recipes for baked goods such as Almond Gooseberry Cream Pie, Juneberry-Raspberry Pie, Loganberry Chiffon Pie with Lemon Cookie Crust, Marionberry Streusel Tart, Black Currant and Apple Crumble, and Apple-Huckleberry Crisp. There are also two recipes for pie crusts and two recipes for tart and cobbler pastry.

The chapter on Cakes includes 10 recipes including Blue-Ribbon Sponge Cake with Boysenberry Curd, Chocolate-Espresso Hazelnut Cake with Raspberry Glaze, Maine Wild Blueberry Gateau, Upside-Down Cranberry-Pumpkin Polenta Cake, and Pavlova with Four Variations.

The final chapter contains 15 recipes for Pastries, Puddings, and Other Sweet Treats such as Lemon Shortbread Turnovers, Mocha Mousse with Fresh Strawberries, Key Lime Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sorbet, Blueberry-Raspberry Coconut Custard, Gooseberry Fool, and White Chocolate, Cranberry and Pistachio Bark.

The author also provides an impressive bibliography with three pages of cookbooks and berry guides as well as two pages of online resources. While there was no index in the advance proof, there is a thorough one in the book as published for sale. You can look up ingredients (such as blueberries, loganberries and lemons) as well as finished dish (such as sauces, cakes and jam).

*Since I reviewed an advance proof, I checked out a published copy as sold in bookstores. A recipe index was added (as noted above). However, the reference to the "photographic berry collection" to "supplement the encyclopedia" in the introduction was removed and the published book has zero photos (as did the advance proof). This was a big disappointment to me as photos of the many berry varieties covered in the encyclopedia would have really added to the value of the information.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2014
This is specifically about the Kindle version of this book. I have never been so disappointed in any book, and I was really looking forward to this - I love berries!

There aren't ANY photos other than the cover! Not a single one. The "A-to-Z Encyclopedia" without photos is barely helpful. Sure, there is good information, yet I was expecting to be able to identify berries, especially since the description says it is "vibrantly illustrated"... not a one. None.

There isn't an index. To find a berry through the "A-to-Z Berry Encyclopedia" you must go page by page. To find a recipe, you must go to the contents and then the section, and go page by page. Useless in an encyclopedia, useless in a cookbook. I haven't bothered checking to see if the recipes are interesting, they would be too much of an annoyance to find.

For the first time, ever, I am returning a Kindle book. I have an embarrassing number of ebooks, including numerous ebook cookbooks, and love them for the photos and ease of use. Had this been the first ebook I purchased, I'm not sure I would have risked a second one. Perhaps the print version of this book is worthwhile, but I'm not taking the chance.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
NOTE - This review applies specifically to the Kindle version of The Berry Bible: With 175 Recipes Using Cultivated and Wild, Fresh and Frozen Berries. I have not seen the print version.

The Berry Bible: With 175 Recipes Using Cultivated and Wild, Fresh and Frozen Berries is one of those books that has sat on my Wish List for months. Then one day recently Amazon had the Kindle version of the book on offer for an extremely reasonable price at the same time that I had a bit of spare change in the "buying books on Amazon" fund. I find myself deeply disappointed.

Author Janie Hibler seems to have picked, put up and cooked with every kind of berry in existence in the Northern Hemisphere. She devotes a large section of the book to a listing of each of them in a chapter called "The A-TO-Z Berry Encyclopedia." For each of the berries she gives common names, information about the scientific classification, its habitat and distribution, a bit of history, details about where the berry is commercially grown, how to pick them, where to buy them, how to store them and even provides cook's notes. What she did NOT do is provide an illustration for each of these berries, something that would render the book far more useful to the cook and forager.

There are, according to the book description on the product page, 175 recipes included in The Berry Bible: With 175 Recipes Using Cultivated and Wild, Fresh and Frozen Berries, but no pictures of any of those recipes are included either - something that makes recipes that are often quite similar both hard to envision and hard to distinguish from one another.

The book is broken down into 14 major section, plus a listing of websites and a bibliography and they are listed in an interactive Table of Contents of sorts. However Hibler comes within a hair's breadth of Grandma's Cardinal Sin of Kindle Cookbook Writing with this Table of Contents. Each of those chapter listings is interactive in that it goes to the beginning of the specified section, the utility ends there. Where a more user friendly Kindle cookbook would then provide a separate interactive listing for the individual recipes, the formatting that Hibler employs forces the user to then page repeatedly through sometimes lengthy chapters hunting high and low for a particular recipe. I had to page 32 times to get through the "Pies, Tarts, Cobblers and Such" chapter alone. (My iPad displays more "page" than a Kindle does. You will have to page even more if you're using a Kindle.) Normally with a book of this length one can turn to the index to at least find a list of all of the recipes that use "blackberry" or "boysenberry" or "salmon berry" but sadly, you'll find no index here. Let me repeat GRANDMA'S NUMBER ONE RULE - if you cannot find the recipe that you want quickly and easily without paging your way through the book, then the book simply is not useful for its intended purpose - cooking.

I would love to tell you that the recipes all look scrumptious. However, while many of them have been gathered from a variety of sources, the typeface used for the title (bold italic, but the same size as regular type) makes it hard to pick out where one recipe ends and another begins (they are all strung together with no page breaks between recipes) and after a bit Peak-of-the-Season Blueberry Pie becomes indistinguishable in the mind's eye from the Juneberry-Raspberry Pie that follows or the Mount Adams Huckleberry Pie that comes after that. (This is why pictures would not be amiss.)

Grandma's $0.02 - the lack of pictures makes The Berry Bible: With 175 Recipes Using Cultivated and Wild, Fresh and Frozen Berries of little value as a field manual and the poor formatting makes the book less than useful as a cookbook. Grandma recommends that you leave this one on the shelf.

Not a "Bible" by a long shot!
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Thirty-five years ago `The Berry Bible' by Janie Hibler may have attracted a place in a relatively small market of hippies, vegetarians, and Pacific Northwest berry boosters. Today, I suspect the book will and should attract a lot more attention with the discovery and publicizing of the health benefits of all berries, specifically cranberries and blueberries.
Even though I easily qualify as a `cookbook collector', I have never given much thought to what constitutes a good book for a cookbook collection, as my primary objective in acquiring cookbooks is to review them. But, this book easily qualifies as a paradigm for an excellent member of a cookbook collection. The two most interesting types of volumes in cookbook collections, I think, would be books on specific regions such as Provence, Tuscany, Mexico, and The Philippines and books on specific ingredients such as potatoes, duck, salmon, and eggs.
So, once we start collecting books on ingredients, what should they include? The most obvious answer is recipes. For these, a book on berries has much more to offer than a book on eggs or potatoes since, aside from the relatively small variations between starchy and waxy potatoes, there is not much to tell about how to make the best use of different varieties. There is also not much room to capitalize on recipes that can serve many purposes by being a stage for a wide variety of color, species, and cultivar of product. A good berry recipe can give you recipes for muffin, scone, tart, coulis, or smoothie for blackberries, raspberries, and mulberries in one fell swoop. To this end, the book contains recipes for:
Coolers, Cocktails, Smoothies, and other Drinks
Breads
Soups and Salads
Main Courses
Sauces
Putting Berries By (jams, jellies, and preserves)
Ice Creams, Sorbets, and Other Frozen Treats
Pies, Tarts, Cobblers, and Such
Cakes
Pastries, Puddings, and Other Sweet Treats
If the book did no more than this, it would be worth its reasonable $30 list price, but it does do much more.
The intellectually most attractive feature of the book is `The A-to-Z Berry Encyclopedia'. It is a revelation to see how widely dispersed in the plant kingdom the main types of berries are, and yet, how closely related other berries with distinct names actually are. I was really surprised to discover that the boysenberry is not only related to the blackberry, it IS a blackberry, simply a specially named humanly developed cultivar of naturally occurring blackberries. Another interesting aspect is distinction between two or three different species with the same common name. Both blueberries and cranberries have lowbush and highbush varieties with markedly different geographic ranges and different commercial importance. The blueberry in your local megamart will almost invariably be the highbush species, unless you happen to live in northern New England, where you may have access to Maine lowbush blueberries. Those little blue beauties you see being gathered in Maine on the Food Network are not the same as what you see in your `Super Fresh' produce department.
All this babble about species and cultivars has an important message for you, the consumer. If you want your local market to carry good stuff, the author recommends you find out from what cultivar a good batch of berries was picked, and ask for those berries in preference to inferior berries laid out on other occasions.
The berry encyclopedia has much other useful and interesting information. The common name is useful if you happen to be reading foreign cookbooks, even those written in English, and run across an unusual name. The scientific classification shows who is related to whom. It turns out that many berries, especially the blackberry and raspberry clans are closely related to roses. Figure they had to get those thorns from someone in their family. The habitat and distribution section will give you a really good idea of which species and cultivars you may find in a true `local sources' farmers market. The history is interesting, if for nothing else than to show that berry fruits, barks, and leaves have been used as medicines since the time the Greeks started writing about their tummy aches. `Where They Are Grown Commercially' will give you a good idea of how fresh your megamart produce may be, if it is in season locally. `How to Pick' is essential if you are playing hunter-gatherer. The most common advice is to pick berries in the early morning, before the sun has warmed them up. `How To Buy' is for the us urbanites who do our gathering at SuperFresh. The more important types of berries such as blackberries and raspberries have a sidebar describing the various commercially available varieties.
The book ends with a list of web sites I truly believe you would not find by yourself. Most are of commercial booster groups and academic or state organizations dedicated to studying berry culture.
The very last section is an excellent little bibliography. You have to love a book that cites both Elizabeth David and the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada, with a stop at `Leaves in Myth, Magic, and Medicine' along the way.
This is my kind of book. Even if you never want to but blackberries in your barbecue sauce or abandon your Bernard Clayton book on breadmaking, this book will reward you. If it does not, you should find a way to make berries a more important part of your life. They are that important nutroceutically. There, the book will even expand your vocabulary.
Highly recommended for understanding, buying, and using berries for enjoyment and health.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This beautiful book has everything going for it and tells you everything you ever wanted or needed to know about berries. Ms. Hibler discusses in great detail 35 or 40 berries-- many of which I was not familiar with-- along with color photographs of twice that many. About each berry she discusses their common names, scientific classification, habitat, history, where they are grown commercially, how to pick them, how to buy them, how to store them, along with notes for the cook. On cranberries she tells the cook: "Think of them as the lemons of the berry world. Their tartness acts as a flavor enhancer when they are mixed with other fruits or berries, bringing out the best in both." On blueberries: "They are good mixed with other fruits and nuts, especially almonds."
In the author's introduction she discusses the current problems consumers face in the market. Although berries are now available the year round, we have sacrificed quality for quantity. (Do you ever wonder how growers get those tasteless strawberries bigger than a baby's fist?) She points out that many berries are picked while green and will never taste right when they do ripen. She further states that if we are willing to pay more for good berries for a shorter length of time in the market, that the sellers will do what is necessary to sell berries. But it is left up to the consumer to alleviate the problem.
Ms. Hibler covers utensils, cream, dried berries, washing berries, etc., in a chapter she calls "Berry Basics." Then the recipes follow. The author says she has been collecting berry recipes for years; there are 175 here, according to the book cover: drinks, breads, soups and salads, main courses, sauces, preserving berries, ice cream and other frozen treats, pies, tarts, cobblers, cakes, pastries and puddings. What is so amazing about these recipes is that with the exception of strawberry shortcake, we don't see the ones often repeated in previously published cookbooks: blueberry muffins, berry cheesecakes, cranberry bread, etc. (The strawberry shortcake is from the 1963 MCCALL'S COOKBOOK. Ms. Hibler says it is the best ever and recommends adding blueberries for a patriotic recipe for July 4.) While I'm a basic blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and strawberry person, if your tastes go to the exotic, both in berry and recipe, you won't be disappointed. Try Mahaw Jelly or Marionberry Streusel Tart, for example. Some of the recipes that jumped out at me that I want to try are Madame Rose Blanc's Creme de Cassis, (so we can make wonderful kirs) Fozen Srawberry Yourt, Fresh Raspberry Tart, and Lemon Curd Cake.
Two final notes: Ms. Hibler reminds us that eating berries is good for our health and gives us a great quote about cookbooks from Joseph Conrad: "Its object [a cookbook] can conceivably be no other than to increase the happiness of mankind." Certainly that can be said of THE BERRY BIBLE, destined to become the book on berries by which others will be judged.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2004
I have always been a devotee of berries out of hand, but because I love them so much they rarely survive long enough to make it into my cooking. The Berry Bible may change that. If you want erudition on the berry world, look no further. The health benefits of berries take center stage, and then, straight on, "The A-To-Z Berry Encyclopedia" covers this planet's offerings, from scientific nomenclature to where each berry variety is grown commercially, to picking and storage notes. The color insert of photos of berry varieties is meticulous. The recipe sections--the bulk of the book--are well organized and clearly written. There's an excellent section on "Putting Berries By" for those of you with extra berries you don't want to gobble up just yet; preserves and jellies are covered as you'd expect, but you can also try your hand at "Raspberry Pastilles" if candy-making inspires you. The book has something for everyone, but above all, it treats berries with reverence. It is as complete as any book that claims to be a "Bible" should be.
Food writer Elliot Essman's other reviews and food articles are available at [...]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2004
Plenty of cookbooks cover recipes for the well-known blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry - but how many discuss and provide recipes for the Jostaberry, Salmonberry, or Buffaloberry? Janie Hibler's The Berry Bible does, covering all these and more with almost two hundred recipes for using both cultivated and wild berries, fresh or frozen. The Berry Bible comes from a contributing writer to Gourmet, Food & Wine and other well-known professional food magazines, and includes a centerfold of color photos and an all-important bibliography of web sites as well as the usual index. Berry fans who until now have relied on domestic varietal coverages will appreciate having more in-depth coverage in The Berry Bible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I consider myself an avid cookbook lover with a growing collection at home as well as a neverending stack of cookbooks I check out from the library to preview. Because of this I've come across a lot of cookbooks, amazing, okay, and awful. This one is solidly in the amazing camp.

What I love about The Berry Bible is that it's part reference, part recipes. The book starts off with a thorough A-Z berry encyclopedia including both common and less common berries. For each berry she tells us its common names (including names it goes by in other parts of the world which can be very helpful if you have foreign cookbooks calling for berries or commonly shop in ethnic markets), scientific classification, habitat, history, where they are commerically grown, how to pick, how to buy, and how to store. If you are someone who is only looking for recipes you might find this overkill. I, however, personally like to learn as much about my food as possible so I appreciated how thorough this section is. I can see it being especially helpful as farmers' markets and farm stands kick into high gear as it will be a great resource for when I see lesser known berries. The only thing I am unsure of is whether each description is accompanied by a picture, as I recieved an advanced reader's copy which does not include any pictures. If this is included in the final version it will be even more helpful as Hibler does mention some berries which grow primarily wild and I would love a picture to ensure I am picking the right thing.

The rest of the book is dedicated to recipes, including instructions for putting berries by. I think the latter will be especially helpful once I go berry picking. As far as the recipes go, I really enjoyed the range. Hibler provides not just sweet recipes, but a large collection of savory recipes too. They are also a good blend of more traditional, classic recipes with unusual recipes. I also appreciated that the berries seemed to have a place in each recipe, they weren't just recipes with berries tacked on for the sake of being included in a berry-focused book. I am especially excited by recipes for homemade Creme de Cassis, Sicilian Strawberry Liqueur, White Pekin Duckling with Loganberry-Hoisin Glaze, and Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. I love that this is a book I could go to when I need a solid recipe for something classic like a blueberry pie as well as inspiration for something more unique. The only thing worth mentioning is that most of the recipes in this book do require a bit of effort so if you would prefer only quick and easy recipes you might find the ones in this book to be too labor intensive.

Overall this is a fantastic book. I think would be appreciated by any berry lover or anyone who is looking for a book that teaches them more about berries or helps them use them in new and unique ways.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm lucky enough to live in the Pacific NW, where berries are a huge part of the agricultural landscape during the summer. Right now, raspberries are in season, and blueberries are coming on, too. In a few weeks, huckleberries will be ready for picking up in the mountains, in hidden patches off the fire roads. I'm a berry lover and proud of that fact.

I mention this only to set context for my endorsement of this wonderful volume. The introductory material alone is worth the price of the book, especially the A-to-Z encyclopedia of berries.

The recipes are very good -- some "standards," and some unusual combinations. Prosciutto prawns with huckleberry balsamic glaze are wonderful, as is grilled paprika chicken with blackberry sauce.

When fresh local berries aren't available (during the winter), I go for local frozen berries, and use them to make a mixed berry cobbler or crisp, using one of the recipes from this book. (Yes, I've had a copy since it was first released, and I also have Hibler's Dungeness Crabs and Blackberry Cobblers: The North )

As others have noted, there are no pictures in this book -- I don't mind that, but others might.

Bottom line for me, though -- this is a wonderful addition to my cookbook collection, one that I'll actually use more than once.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My mother had a great love for berries, including wild berries. I remember as a kid going up to the mountains every year and picking chokecherries to make into jelly. She also had a large strawberry and raspberry patch. We were always eating great things made from those berries.

The first thing I did when I got the book was to look up chokecherries. There were many other berries that I had never heard of. It will be nice to have a resource like this. The recipes looked good. I just finished a berry smoothie that I made from the recipe portion. It was very refreshing. My next recipe will be to make a frozen berry yogurt with a simple recipe that uses just a blender.

One thing I wish this book had was pictures of the different berries, there are no pictures in this book. Other than that I can highly recommend this book, I plan on using it a lot.
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