The 2014 Class of Preserving and DIY Books

stack of 2014 preserving books high res

A couple weeks ago, I gave away a short stack of preserving books and promised that I’d be back soon with a more comprehensive list of this year’s canning, pickling, and DIY books. Today is the day for that post and as I went through my bookshelves to pull the various volumes, I was reminded that this has been an incredible year for books in this category.

This year’s list features 20 books, some of which I’ve written about previously and others that haven’t gotten any blog love as of yet. Some I bought, and some came to me as review copies (and honestly, at this point I really don’t remember which is which). For each book, you’ll see that I link to both Amazon and Powell’s (because my liberal guilt is such that I can’t only offer a corporate behemoth option). The Amazon links are affiliate ones, the Powell’s links are not.

2014 preserving books 1

  • On the top of the stack is Hugh Acheson’s funny little book, Pick a Pickle. The recipes are good and interesting, the instructions for sealing jars are not (Amazon | Powell’s)
  • Next up is Leda Meredith’s book Preserving Everything. Leda is a wild edibles expert and has created an exceptionally comprehensive book that offers instruction on canning, fermenting, pickling, freezing, and more. (Amazon | Powell’s)
  • The Put ’em Up! Preserving Answer Book came out this spring and is final volume in Sherri Brooks Vinton’s excellent canning trilogy. It has a tremendous amount of detail and would make an excellent gift for a nervous new canner.(Amazon | Powell’s)
  • Quench, Ashley English’s seventh book, came out this fall and opened up a new world of homemade beverage possibilities. It runs the spectrum of soft and hard drinks, and includes a guest recipe from me!(Amazon | Powell’s)
  • If you were to judge a book by it’s cover, you might skip Andrea Weigl’s Pickles & Preserves (at first glance, it seems like a quiet little book). However, that would be a mistake. This slim volume contains fifty classic Southern preserves and should be in every canner’s collection. (Amazon | Powell’s)

2014 preserving books 2

2014 preserving books 3

  • I learned to make shrubs thanks to Michael Dietsch’s 2011 Serious Eats piece on the topic. As far as I’m concerned, he was one of the primary instigators of this trend and knows more about the world of delicious vinegar-spiked syrups than anyone out there. I’ve been eagerly awaiting his book, Shrubs, since hearing he was working on it and am so delighted to have it in hand. It does not disappoint! (Amazon | Powell’s)
  • My sister started drinking kombucha a decade ago. She’d offer me sips and I’d decline with a shudder. However, over the years, I’ve gone from a kombucha hater to someone who makes batches of it at home on a weekly basis. Kombucha Revolution by Stephen Lee and Ken Koopman has been a most helpful addition to my brewing flow. (Amazon | Powell’s)
  • Fresh & Fermented by Julie O’Brien and Richard Climenhage is another book that strives to help you go beyond simply making fermented foods to incorporating them into all manner of recipes. (Amazon | Powell’s)
  • Kirsten and Christopher Shockey’s Fermented Vegetables is such a great guide to home fermenting. I love the step-by-step pictures, coupled with stories from their lives. The best pickle I made this summer (brined dilly beans!) came from this book. (Amazon | Powell’s)
  • Asian Pickles is the ideal book for anyone who wants to start expanding their pickle repertory. Written by Karen Solomon, this book wraps its arms around whole continents worth of pickles. (Amazon | Powell’s)

2014 preserving books 4

  • Ivy Manning’s Better from Scratch is a book that hasn’t gotten nearly enough love this year. It contains sweet preserves, savory salsas, a few cured proteins, crackers, and more. It’s a good gift for DIY dabblers who don’t want a single-subject book. (Amazon | Powell’s)
  • Arranged by month, The Farmer’s Kitchen Handbook by Marie W. Lawrence is bursting with recipes that will help you put up and use up the bounty of the season. Just know that if you need your cookbook to have lots of full page photography, this one isn’t a good fit for you. There are lots of images, but they’re thumbnails. (Amazon | Powell’s)
  • The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther isn’t solely devoted to pantry staples, but it has a lovely chapter towards the back called “From the Larder” that includes a terrific selection of pickles, relishes, and preserves that is worth the cost of admission. (Amazon | Powell’s)
  • I can’t say enough good things about Cathy Barrow’s long-anticipated book, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry. It is THE book for people who want to do a deep, thorough dive into building a from-scratch pantry. (Amazon | Powell’s)
  • Finally, Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade by Rachel Saunders. A meticulous preserver and writer, Rachel has written the definitive book for people who stare at their pantry and wonder, “what else can I do with this besides smear it on toast.” A must-own for an avid canner. (Amazon | Powell’s)

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12 Responses to The 2014 Class of Preserving and DIY Books

  1. 1

    I have the Blue Chair Jam cookbook but I DID NOT KNOW she had written another book! I first saw Rachel Saunders when she appeared on a Martha episode and (in my opinion) she really discombobulated TheMartha with her new approach, interesting blends, and even the name of the book!!! I loved her right away.

    This is a FANtastic list!

    • 1.1
      Amanda says:

      I am a lover of canning, freezing,& cooking. Always looking for new stuff new ideas.
      I have over 100 recipe books and about 6 different perserving books. Still always on the hunt for new or just different.

  2. 2
    Monica Cateron says:

    I want them ALL !!!!!! I’m not a kombucha fan at all but I am learning to do some other ferments, such as kimchi, and would LOVE a great resource for learning more

  3. 3
    Elin says:

    Your new book is on my Christmas wish list, but now I want all these other ones too! 🙂

  4. 4
    mlaiuppa says:

    Excellent post.

    I just love it when all of the links are in one spot.

    One stop shopping, as it were.

  5. 5
    Margaret says:

    I was in Powell’s on Sunday and saw two folks looking at your books. I had to tap them on the shoulder and let them know they were good ones. This young couple was just starting to preserve (pickle, etc.) in their tiny kitchen. Glad to see my hometown bookstore there with the behemoth. 🙂

  6. 6
    Sharmila says:

    I love this post… I know what I can get for canning friends…

  7. 7
    Molly O says:

    I love reading your reviews! I totally need Blue Chair Cooks with Jam and Marmalade…now to figure out who still needs a Christmas present for me. =)

  8. 8
    Donna B says:

    I REALLY need to branch out. Other than the Ball Blue Book and the So Easy to Preserve books that I got when I took the master food preserving classes, I don’t have any other books. I think I need to fix that.

  9. 9
    Cyrene says:

    Hello There,
    I am self-taught; few years ago I had no idea but my determination to live off the grid made me learn how to can and preserve all kinds of food. I’ve just posted my latest canning marathon and I hope you have a look.

    I used some good books to learn the art of canning and preserving food, also read some blogs. Now, I try to collect all the traditional and ancient recipes from old people here in Italy. Some of the recipes are easy and give amazing results!
    Cyrene

  10. 10
    Amanda says:

    I need all of those

  11. 11

    […] 1. Bike riding, I never get tired of it. 2. If you’re into canning & fermenting food, you’ll appreciate this cookbook collection too. // Food in Jars […]

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    […] 1. Bike riding, I never get tired of it. 2. If you’re into canning & fermenting food, you’ll appreciate this cookbook collection too. // Food in Jars […]

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