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Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces from the author of Food in Jars Hardcover – March 25, 2014
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Being safe does not have to be complicated and this book is a perfect example of clear, straightforward instructions that incorporate proper safety methods. I would add that before use jars first be washed, either in the dishwasher or by hand, as an initial step although sitting in hot water would probably take care of most issues.
Instructions on how to properly preserve food are a necessity and, in this book, done as painlessly as possible, but the fun part are the recipes, and this is where the book truly shines. The author has taken some usual canning recipes and re-invented them. If you look at enough canning books you see many of the same recipes presented almost in identical form over and over again. Corn relish recipe, dilly beans and peach jam are just a few and granted are a good starting point, but now I want more complex flavors than those I was satisfied with when I began canning.
This book is the perfect example of why I keep searching out new recipes -- the author has created interesting combinations like Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam, Pear Jam with Chocolate and even Pickled Nectarine slices. These are recipes not found in every book on preserving, and they create special canned goods not found sitting on every shop shelf.
More examples -- I have a go-to recipe for a tomato based Mango Salsa that I like very much but tried and liked the one in this book which does not use any tomatoes. The pickled garlic recipe I prepare year around does not use red wine vinegar like the one in this book, so I tested it and found another winner.
And since the batches are small, so is the risk just in case something is not to the user's taste. Oh, I did notice the recipe for Blender Salsa did not mention the required head space but the author's general directions found at the front of the book permit the user to handle any minor problem - and according to those instructions, since this is a thicker product, 1/2 inch head space should be used.
Note there are a number of refrigerator canning recipes which are preserved and stored in the fridge, rather than the pantry shelf. I appreciated that there was not any weird pectin required that is only available by mail order, or recipes filled with other difficult to find ingredients. Almost everything in this book is readily available when in season.
About the book -- there are color photos sprinkled through the book which is generous and not nearly as important with canning recipes as with other cookbooks where the final appearance of the dish is sometimes hard to predict . Black ink is used throughout the book which makes reading the recipes from the distance of standing height to the counter top possible, although the font size is a small 9 point but mercifully the font is bolded for the ingredient portion of the recipe. The headings a muted red color ink. Reasonably sturdy paper is used but spills should be wiped up quickly because the paper warps almost on contact. A cookbook holder might be a good idea to protect the pages.
Organized by season the focus is logically on the availability of produce. Canning is not just about the preserving, but also involves the experience of picking your own fruits and vegetables or hand selecting items at farmers markets and farm stands, buying locally when items are in season. So, the user can turn in the book to the appropriate season and search out recipes to try and watch for the items as they appear at market.
Looking ahead and planning what to make for each season is an enjoyable anticipatory activity. Homemade jam and pickles are favorite gifts to give because people always seem happy to receive a jar, and it is such a small gesture that it seems to avoid any need the recipient might feel to reciprocate. For me, this is the best kind of gift - one without strings. I can show my genuine appreciation or affection and not create any obligation.
The book is full of fresh and new ideas. The project is obviously carefully crafted and I am so impressed with the final result. Highly recommend.
Her approach in making small batches so that you try something out , without messing up your whole kitchen and making up something in a short amount of time is great.
The recipes are good, I've made up a number of them. Her blog "Food in Jars" is worth following.
I recommend you buy the small green plastic starter canning basket to use for small batches if you want a easy way to do her amounts.
Only problem for me is that I always end up with more product that the recipe says it will make.
I'm going to be giving this book for Christmas to some members of my family along with the little canning basket.