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Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round Hardcover – May 22, 2012
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"Everything about this book, from the attractive design chock-full of enticing pictures to the ingredients, demystifies the canning process and alleviates associated fears....VERDICT: This is an excellent introduction to preserving. The author keeps things simple by using accessible ingredients and small batches."―Library Journal
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I initially browsed the book then started to read it and it's like having an experienced friend guiding at the beginning. Followed by some intriguing recipes - I never thought of canning brussel sprouts.
I can truthfully say that I am enjoying this book as instructive and interesting.
Still think it’s for old people or your parents’ generation? Think again. Impress guests of your next party by serving cocktails made with Marisa’s delicious syrups. Meyer Lemon Drop anyone? Or my favorite, a Rhubarb Martini made with the Rhubarb Syrup. To.Die.For. Having a kids’ (or work) party? Make Italian sodas with those syrups. Looking for a quick and easy hors’d’oeuvre to serve? Add some Amy’s Tomato Jam to your cheese board - or, gently heat into a glaze for meatballs (Coleman Organic Hearty Italian chicken meatballs are a perfect flavor combination! Sold at Costco). Or, pour a jar of Roasted Corn Salsa over some nachos – doesn’t get much easier than that. For dessert just fill some tiny tart cups with the Meyer Lemon Curd. I really love having these little homemade jars of heaven stored in my small cabinet that I can rely on anytime I need to pull something together in a hurry – and they are fresh flavors that you just cannot buy - anywhere.
I like this book so much, I bought some extra copies to give as gifts and just had to buy her two subsequent books – all look to be just as good as the first. Marisa has given my cooking repertoire a fresh and enjoyable update, and given me some creative inspiration.
Note: If you are new to preserving, please be prepared for a little bit of trial and error because there is going to be a learning curve. Be patient, make some mistakes, learn from them, and you will be better prepared to deal with the inevitable variations that occur in cooking times and yields. Fresh fruits and vegetables vary in their moisture content due to differences in the weather during their growing season but you will soon learn how to effectively deal with these variations. One of the benefits of creating small batches is the reduction in risk should a batch not turn out perfect in the beginning. Also, Marisa's recipes are good places to start and after you've tried them as written, it is easy to tweak the spices to your taste - just as you would any recipe.
First your definition and my definition for "small batch" may be off by a quart or more. Author Marisa McClellan likes to use one pint jars. I like to use 1/2 pint jars, so already I have double the amount she is canning in her written recipe. Marisa's small batch isn't super small as I was assuming. Also I have to give a huge shout out to the texture, color and weight of this book. I love the overall size. The actual size of the hard bound cover is 9 X 6 3/4", which makes the reading page about 8 1/2 X 6 1/2 inches which fits in your hand so comfortable. The pages are heavy in weight and feel like heavy duty journal pages. The page color background changes with each recipe, which I love. Not blaring loud colors, but soothing light greens when key limes are used. Or light orange and browns used when Oranges and cinnamon come to play on a recipe. So fun to read. The pages have good heavy texture to take notes on. And lets talk about the three empty pages at the end of the book she has titled for you and I as, "Perserving Notes" because who doesn't love to have notes to refer back to, or ideas you get later.
I own pickling cookbooks, jelly and Jam making cookbooks and I own "mixes for gifts" books. I have the "blue book" for canning and I think every jelly/Jam person needs to own several books. This particular book gives great ideas to old recipes. Which is what I was looking for. This spring, summer and fall I plan on trying The strawberry with vanilla bean and Earl Grey tea Jam, Spiced Plum Jam, cantaloupe Jam, Mimosa Jelly, Mulled Cider Jelly, Pickled Brussel Sprouts, Sweet and sour pickled red onions, Lemony pickled cauliflower, spiced pickled pear halves and Shay's Chocolate Cake in a Jar.
There are a few recipes that I probably won't try, like the granola recipes, but that is my personal prefrence.
I should tell you that I finally submitting to buying her book only after trying out a recipe from her blog, "food in jars blog". I needed a recipe for lemon and strawberries. I found Strawberry Lemon Marmalade and printed it off and tried it out. It was a huge success. If you still unsure you want this book, check out her blog and several of her recipes there. Really awesome site.
Marisa McClellan I am sorry I doubted you. I get it now. When I try a brand new canning recipe I want to try a small batch relatively speaking, because it might be that I want to make it again and again, or maybe not so much. And I do hope you write another book, I will be first in line next time.