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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
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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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.
One of the big challenges of canning is that, barring tomatoes, dill pickles, and jams, a lot of recipes for preserves ended up less appealing that whatever you could buy shipped in from the grocery store. So, a lot of work goes to waste. This book, the perfect follow-up to Food in Jars, starts to change that. It's preserves that you're actually going to want to dive into, mid-winter.
So far, given it is just the beginning of the growing season, the only thing I have tried is the rhubarb chutney. This has been such a huge hit that I am going to have to make another batch. My pickiest friend devoured it at dinner last night! If I never made another recipe out this book, this chutney is worth the price of the book. Next, pickled asparagus!
Complete directions at the front are informative without drowning the reader in details. Using
typical kitchen tools, not huge vats of boiling water and bubbling too, you enjoy saving some
nice additions to family fare. I always hated
canning. Recipes were too big and mostly jelly or jam we did not need. I love this book, as well as the author's " food in jar".
I'm not going to use it much and find it a disappointment, as the site I found it recommended on made it sound like a good source for recipes for those small batches of fruits that are too small for the usual recipes. I didn't expect that they would have done this by combining them with pretty much anything else that is in season at the same time.