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Well Preserved: A Jam Making Hymnal Paperback – June 2, 1998
The subtitle for Joan Hassol's Well Preserved reads, "A Jam-making Hymnal." This is aptly so, since the book is much more than a cookbook. Hassol wants to impart more than the simple knowledge of how to make jams; she wants the reader to understand them. Hassol's own jam business, Well Preserved, was an outgrowth of her lifelong passion for the fruits of her native New England, and what she has learned in life and business is collected in this volume. As a result, the approach is personal--full of great opinions, good advice, and, incidentally, wonderful jam recipes. As in anything with nature and fruit, the approach must be seasonal. The book is divided by season and includes the chutneys and marmalades of winter along with the jams of spring and summer, followed naturally by a section on breads and muffins on which to spread your new creations. Flowing throughout the book are Hassol's reflections on the bounties of the land and the people who have made the journey with her. Hassol is reminiscent of another well-known New England food writer, John Thorne, and for her, food represents a path to the soul--cooking is simply the vehicle that gets you there. Well Preserved is as much a personal story as a cookbook, yet the appeal is universal. She understands that to make something as simple as jam requires an understanding of nature and its seasons. It would not be an exaggeration to say the book is disguised as a metaphor for life--with some really great recipes. --Mark O. Howerton
From Library Journal
Hassol, who has a small jam-making business on Cape Cod, writes evocatively about her life there: her friends and family, the guests at her bed-and-breakfast, and the business she started several years ago. She provides 70 recipes for delicious small-batch jams and jellies, along with some breads and muffins to go with them, grouped into chapters with titles like "Nonnie and the Elderberries" and "Chasing the Wild Cranberry." Ziedrich, who might be called a pickle fanatic, offers a detailed and informative guide to pickles of all sorts, including kimchi and others from Asia, chutneys and salsas, and "freezer pickles," along with traditional favorites like Half-Sours by the Quart. She writes readably and knowledgeably about a variety of topics, and her varied and unusual recipes should tempt readers into trying at least a pickle or two, or more. Anyone interested in preserving will welcome both of these books, which are recommended for most collections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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I kept reading it and didn't want to return it. I still like picking it up and reading some of the stories Joan put in here. I don't get many chances to curl up with a book and spend some time with it, since I have a toddler and a preschooler racing around, but when I do....this book is on my short list.
I never did make that elderberry jam, by the way. But I have used other recipes from the book and they have turned out beautifully. Not sure what pectin Joan used. She doesn't say. Maybe it wasn't the usual brands you can find at the grocery store, which is why she usually put 1 1/2 packages in her recipes. Reduce it to 1 and in most cases you will be perfectly fine.
Her prose style invites reading and re-reading of the recipes, to the point where you make the jam with the ingredients in mind but actually *pay attention* to the cooking process. I have learned to watch the consistency change...thick and quiescent, then simmering, then boiling, then the beautiful last metamorphosis where everything gets crystal clear and you know the jam is done.
If you have never made jam before, this is a perfect book to start with. It's a warm intimate manual rather than a sterile cookbook. However, as other reviews have pointed out, I would suggest watching your sugar and pectin amounts. Hassol can be a bit...overzealous with those ingredients. But hey, one batch really isn't all that big and if you goof it up you will learn for the next batch. Try with something simple like grape jam, with such a short cheap list of ingredients that you can afford to lose a batch or two. I've also found that making notes in the margins is a great way to remember what you wanted to change for the next time.
Unfortunately Hassol passed away a few years ago, so this is her only book. I wish there had been more.
Most recent customer reviews
Some of her recipes have worked for me. Others I have had to adjust: they are too thick (too much pectin?Read more
beautifully, maybe it's because I'm an experienced jammer.Read more