I’ve been sitting on this post for a two weeks now. I think its time to publish as Sarah has demonstrated kick-ass canning ability and if you haven’t purchase this book yet, do so now.
Because, like Sarah said below, this book is awesome!
I was very afraid to preserve food due to health and safety issues and the “time suck” that I thought canning would take. In addition, I had this idea that it was very complicated. I did not grow up with a mom or a grandmother who canned, so I have no childhood memories of watching the canning action or sitting around the kitchen table opening a jar of canned tomatoes in winter. So this food preservation thing skipped two generations-therefore I was clueless.
There are two reasons for my desire to preserve. First, its my first year as a CSA member and I have the mindset that every piece of produce in that box needs to be used to its full potential and not wasted especially because of the time and energy it takes to grow, harvest, wash, box, driven to the pick-up spots, and then picked up on my way home from my one-day-a-week-job. Secondly, due to Miles’ food allergies I am always searching for strong flavors to add to my cooking since I can’t use plain yogurt, cheeses, nuts, soy-based sauces, ect.
There is so much to say- this book is so useful on so many levels. Briefly, Brooks Vinton beings by clearing explaining each preservation method, what equipment you will need and how to do it- with beautiful illustrations. Her directions are very easy to understand. She has an entire section on troubleshooting and explaining things that look bad but aren’t dangerous. She also stresses to STRICTLY stick to the recipes for food safety reasons- no substitutions or “less sugar or salt” with these recipes.
Once you’re through the how-to part comes the comprehensive recipes all arranged in alphabetical order based on the names of fruits and veggies. Each fruit or veggie chapter begins with “Fresh Storage Recommendations”, which is helpful even if you don’t plan of preserve that particular item. Then there are 2-5 recipes for BBQ sauces, butters, sauces, ketchups, relishes, confits, pickles, jams, jellies, fruit leathers salsas and chutneys. I really appreciate the modern flavor combos and profiles in her recipes. Yum.
To date, I’ve made:
Fennel Confit, page 191
Bread-And-Butter Chips, page 184
Dill Spears, page 185
Curried Cauliflower, page 151
Spiced Apple Chutney, page 107
I’m not including recipes because they are carefully measured to ensure safety and also you need the first part of the book to understand how to use the “boiling method” or any of the other methods.
* For the record, I purchased this book. I did not receive anything for this positive review*