- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Pelican Publishing (April 3, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1589804899
- ISBN-13: 978-1589804890
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.9 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,398,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pickles to Relish Hardcover – April 3, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
From the Inside Flap
"This cookbook puts a dazzling array of foods often thought of as mere condiments front and center, within reach of even those home cooks with basic skills, limited time, and access to simple ingredients."
--McHenry County Woman Newspaper
Specifically designed for ease of use, this informative manual presents a variety of delectibly homemade pickles, chutneys, sauces, and relishes. Recipes such as the mouth-watering Hot Indian Apple Chutney and Honey Sweet Eggplant Nuggets are amongst need-to-know instructions.
Valuable tips and tricks every preserver should know are also found throughout the book. Learning to use the pickling processes documented, the reader learns that food preservation has greatly impacted human survival by extending the shelf life of the foods we eat. This idea is explored through a wide array of subjects, such as chemistry, history, and horticulture.
Each chapter contains discussions of various methods of processing, including the popular rolling-water bath and low-temperature pasteurization. Also offered are easy-to-follow definitions and comparisons of various preservative techniques such as pickling, fermenting, and agro-processing. Information covering the all-important aspects of pH levels in foods and how to measure them is also incorporated into this well-written and researched encyclopedic guide.
Beverly Ellen Schoonmaker Alfeld is a scientist, chef, artist, and ethnobotanist who has completed the school of instruction in food processing prescribed by the Food and Drug Administration. She writes a regular column for Fruit and Gardener Magazine. Alfeld has more than two decades of experience in elementary, high-school, university, and junior-college classrooms. She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the founder of the Donald L. Schoonmaker Scholarship Fund. She also works as an advocate for special-needs children. Alfeld is the author of The Jamlady Cookbook, also published by Pelican.
From the Back Cover
"I have been a lifelong connoisseur of fruits and vegetables that have become condiments, food that has evolved into another form of itself over time. Bev Alfeld shows her reader how to add pizazz to food, as pickling enhances the essence of an ingredient. This book offers a myriad of exciting concepts--food preservation, the history of self-survival through fermentation, the field of culinology, and of course, healthy food education. Bev Alfeld, also known as the "Jamlady," offers essential information for the gardener, professional chef, nutritionist, food historian, farmer, food scientist, and "pickler" in all of us. This book reveals an ancient culinary art and contemporary techniques. Everyone needs a copy of Pickles to Relish."
--Charlie Trotter, owner, Charlie Trotter's Restaurant
Top customer reviews
Most odd is the fact that often, facts about one recipe are included in the text written for the recipe before it - there is typically no break to indicate we are now talking about a completely difference recipe. Why include information about, say, brussels sprouts in a recipe for Sweet Crab Apple Relish, as this author does on p. 80? Who would organize a book this way?
The index was particularly frustrating - in fact, its practically useless. Typically you need to know the exact name for a recipe used by the author to find it in the index. I wanted to do something with a bunch of sweet onions I was given, but found no mention of "onions" or "sweet onions" in the recipe. Later, flipping pages, I came across a recipe for "Vidalia Onion Relish," and sure enough, that's where it's listed in the index, in the "V" section. Again, who would organize an index this way? Why not have an "onion" section that lists all the recipes that feature onions as a main ingredient? I gave up using the index entirely.
There are many interesting recipes in this book, which stopped me from giving it 1 star ("I hate it"), but unfortunately it is such a bother to find them and a chore to decipher due to poor layout decision, I have to say, don't bother with this one - there are less frustrating, better books out there on pickles and relish.
For instance, the author recommends using a pH meter when testing recipes. I think that's a good idea; I use a pH meter to make sure things that might go south haven't. That said, the author does things like recommend the use of a pH meter to test recipes that she herself has come up with and put in the book. I think if you are selling a book of pickle recipes, the recipes should be safe, period. No one should be expected to have a pH meter to make some pickles. Or the author says things like "when in doubt [about the pH], refrigerate." There is no point in making pints of pickles if you are going to store it all in the fridge. The whole reason for pickling in batches is so you can store it in the pantry and use it later, no?
But most of all, I found more fear-mongering in this book than in all the other pickling books I've read combined, including the wonderful Putting Things By, which refers to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report re botulism poisoning. Pickles to Relish made me feel like I was handling plutonium instead of pickles. And I am not one of those idiots who goes around harrumphing "I have canned string beans in a boiling water bath for 100 years and no one has died from my canning yet!" But there is such a thing as going too far in the opposite direction. This book will seriously undermine any confidence you might have about preserving.
The author uses a lot of quirky nomenclature that makes for confusion, such as RWB instead of BWB. Why not just stick with what is used? This quirkiness doesn't work well with the highly problematic layout, such that the little intro to a recipe is formatted to occur at the end of the previous recipe and is separated off from that recipe by a decorative doodad. Whoever thought of doing it this way does not have a clue about making information easy to use.
I held off quite a while on reviewing this book, hoping it would grow on me. Instead, I have just become more irritated with it. I have gotten a lot more wear and tear out of another book that I got at the same time, Canning for a New Generation. Even though I am not of the new generation (ahem), I have found that the New Generation book has good recipes and encourages you to stretch a bit, like by utilizing apples for pectin--which got me to put up a bunch of homemade pectin for future use. And if you want to make pickles in small batches to store in the fridge, check out Quick Pickles. The turnips pickled in gin is delish.
If you are an adult or a kid or ever eaten a pickle or wanted a relish, chutney, etc. to add zest to your food and enhance your life, don't waste any time in reading this multi-faceted book. As the author Beverly Ellen Schoonmaker Alfeld notes, "not all the recipes are canning recipes." You can also refrigerate and freeze the many tasty delights. What could be better than a "pickled green walnut on a filet mignon", to "Hot Crocodile Chutney" or "Hot Beekeepr's Relish to zip up your life, health and make you feel good! You'll get insight to a better way of life if you read this book and adopt some of the "Jam Lady's sage advice on everything from one's lifestyle to instructing your kids to give them a more meaningful existence on how and where our food comes from! You will be instructed on how to make a simple pickle, relish, chutney, sauce and a whole lot more. You will be given the history of many foods. There is valuable data included throughout the book. There is verything from the pH of foods, instructions on proper labeling, listings of stores, pickle events, proper canning techniques, safeguards, and how you can modify a recipe like corn relish and make it "extra hot to "not so hot". Information is given about the myriad of sweetners that can be selected for the recipes. There are recipes that don't need any sweetener for people that are intolerant. There is extensive information throughout the book in the form of pictures,charts and appendixes. I highly recommend the "Jam Lady's PICKLES To RELISH book. You will be enriched.