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The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux Hardcover – April 3, 2012
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—New York Times Book Review
“Virant is a fine coach for cooks accustomed to packing strawberry freezer jam into upping their game and inspiring those interested in keeping local flavors on their table year-round.”
—The Chicago Tribune, 4/11/12
“With clear instructions and a full seasonal spectrum of inspiration, this has already made its way to the top of my stack of spring cookbooks.”
—KQED Bay Area Bites, 4/9/12
"The Preservation Kitchen makes us want to can everything."
"If any book could inspire me to can, it's this one...To flip through this book is to await every turn of the season and every visit to the farmer's market to come."
—Time Out Chicago: Cookbook of the Week 4/5/12
“Virant's suggestions for cooking with preserved foods are helpful for both beginning and experienced cooks, and provided menu plans focus on making the preserves shine. A unique guide to elevating pickling and preserves, recommended for adventurous cooks and eaters.”
—Library Journal, 2/1/12
“Paul Virant takes us on a delicious journey in The Preservation Kitchen, to unexpected spots that ring of traditions long forgotten, to exciting places that our palates want to savor for hours. Paul’s Fried Chicken with Cherry Bomb Pepper Sausage Gravy and Drop Biscuits is soul food for a new millennium and his Beer Jam and Ramp Sauerkraut may just show up on my restaurant menus.”
—Rick Bayless, Chef/Owner of Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and XOCO, Chicago
“Along with being a great technical guide to preserving fruits and vegetables, The Preservation Kitchen gives the reader a first-hand look at Paul’s exceptional talent and culinary philosophy. By sharing his immense knowledge and passion, he leads the way as a great craftsman and mentor for future generations of food professionals and enthusiasts. Paul’s zest for life and great food is contagious!”
—Jacquy Pfeiffer, Founder of The French Pastry School
“Paul Virant’s approach to the modern kitchen extends seasonal boundaries far beyond nature’s reach. By suspending local treasures in time, and incorporating them creatively, he has redefined American cooking as we know it. Truly a jar star!”
—Paul Kahan, Executive Chef/Partner of Blackbird, avec, The Publican, and Big Star
Virant offers seasonally inspired menus—beef chili with pickled candy onions, chased by his wife’s chocolate chip cookies, for a wintry warmer; grilled and pickled summer squash salad and summer berry soda floats for a breezy supper—that make use of the fruits (and veggies) of their labors. Geared toward ambitious home cooks and professional chefs, these recipes could inspire the rest of us to fit into one of those categories.
—Carly Boers, chicagomag.com
About the Author
Kate Leahy co-authored A16 Food + Wine (Ten Speed Press, 2008), the IACP 2009 Cookbook of the Year. Her work has been recognized by the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. A professional cook turned food writer, she has written for Chicago Magazine, Time Out Chicago, and shares recipes and insights on her blog Modernmealmaker.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
For example, when it comes to getting jams, jellies, mostarda, etc to set up, he relies exclusively on a pectin stock that he urges you to make yourself from green apples. Since commercial pectin has been available for more than a century now, is made in the same way (by cooking pectin-rich fruits and vegetables), is tested for strength and thus produces reliable results, it's more than a little bizarre and atavistic that he won't even consider it in his recipes. If you want to substitute it, you're on your own. Granted, anyone interested in food preservation takes a certain pleasure and pride in making things themselves, but before I buy 5 pounds of apples and spend an hour in front of a hot stove cooking them down, I want to know that it's going to be better than what's commercially available. Just because you make it yourself doesn't necessarily make it better or more virtuous.
And I found his apple pectin recipe wildly unreliable. After following it, I had to reduce it by two thirds before even this "pectin" stock would set up. Even then, it took almost three times as much as his mostarda recipe called for before it achieved a soft set. So, all in all, the pectin seemed to be off by a factor of about 9. Such inaccuracy is aggravating enough, but it also seriously affects every recipe you use it in. Since he calls for more than 5 cups of sugar in his pectin recipe, if you need to reduce it by two thirds and then use tree times as much, you are adding 9 times more sugar and thus throwing off the balance of every recipe you use it in. All that added sugar transformed his mostarda into more of an insipid jelly.Read more ›
1). Over half of the books recipes are how to use the preserves/pickles/jams/aigre-doux from the first part of the book. At first I thought this would be equally as inspiring, sadly, I follow a vegan diet, and most of the recipes are heavy on the meats and cheeses. I would almost rather just have a cook book about canning/preserving with maybe a few recommendations about how to use them, rather than over half of the book being taken up by these other recipes.
2). More concerning than the first critique is the fact that what I have found with these recipes is that you often end up not having enough liquid to fill the jars when canning. Putting you in the strange spot of either having to make more liquid on the fly, or not having the right yield. Also, not all the steps are clearly laid out in the directions. An example, the cippolini aigre-doux, in the box with volume/weight/etc (this graph I found totally helpful!) it says to blanch and peel the onions, but it never outlines how. Now I work in the culinary field and was able to figure this part out because of my experience, but if I didn't work in that field, not sure I would have figured it out. Also, the tomato jam, which was awesome, says to cook it down for 45 minutes to an hour, we let it go for almost 4, because in the time listed it never reached that jam like consistency. I feel as though most of the recipes are written straight from the authors restaurants recipe book, and don't necessarily take the home cook into consideration.
The pictures are beautiful and the writing is top-notch, too. It's a good read and one of those books you'll definitely want to own.
Some of the recipes are time-consuming but preserving was never about saving time, but about saving food. If you're looking for 5-minute jam them buy some smuckers. If you're looking for recipes you can't buy, this is your book.
1. Format: The pictures are nicely done as is the art. The tables are a bit misplaced and awkward with respect to the content, and they don't seem to flow with the layout as well as they could. The graphics could use some captions. There were times when I saw a picture and was wondering what it was, the recipe before the graphic or the recipe after the graphic. A little guesswork and I was able to identify each one, but readers hate guessing.
Even though the layout was a bit weird, I REALLY loved the font and font spacing. VERY readable, and this is something sourly lacking in many books, so high praise for the fonts.
2. Content: The content is new and refreshing and treats the concept of 'preserves' with respect. These are not your grandmas pickles so if you are hoping for a more traditional approach to 'pickling' and 'preserves' you will be disappointed. This is a new spin with tons of interesting flavor combinations pulling together many new ideas.
3. Reference: The table of contents were well done, no complaints, index seemed to be kinda jammed in there. The acknowledgements seemed a bit rushed and non-inspiring. The lack of a bibliography and a resources sections were the most disappointing parts of the book by far. So, for resources I understand the author is emphasizing local, local, local, and I'm cool with that, but not having to find my own resources for pink salt (curing salt) would be nice as would a compendium of other resources I could turn to.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'll definitely admit that this is a pretty book, and it has some good recipes, but I was expecting more. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael King
Some very cool recipes in here, along with recipes for the table using your canned goods. I made the cherry moustarda - wonderful :)Published 5 months ago by gena
I just made the pickled asparagus, it turned out pretty good. Some of the recipes are pretty fancy so I have to bring a few of the ingredients down home a bit. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kate Johnson
Very beautiful book!! Probably one of the best books on preserving. Great information!Published 10 months ago by Seth Castro
I had a hard time reading the faint print, and didn't find enough interesting recipes to merit keeping the book. Read morePublished 11 months ago by earthymama
I was expecting more recipes in the area of natural fermentation, but this book deals mainly with heat-processing and vinegar. Read morePublished 12 months ago by akitachow