Tag Archives | preserving books

The 2017 Class of Canning, Preserving, and Culinary DIY Books

It is time for my annual round-up of all the canning, pickling, and preserving (or preserving-adjacent) books that came out last year (I typically try to get this post up before the holidays, but I could not make it happen this time). Not all of these are traditional canning books, but all have a high enough number of jams, pickles, infusions, decoctions, and condiments that they deserve placement on the list.

Please forgive me if I missed a book! I do my best to keep track of the category, but occasionally a preserving book or two slips by me. If you feel like something was overlooked, please do let me know!

Artisanal Preserves – This is a beautifully packaged reissue of a classic preserving book by storied cooking teacher Madelaine Bullwinkel. It features traditional jams, jams without added sugar, jellies, marmalades, preserves, breads and muffins, and desserts. Amazon | Powell’s

Can It & Ferment It – Written by long-time canner Stephanie Thurow, this book is organized by season and offers recipes for both canned and fermented items. It focuses primarily on pickles, salsa, and relishes, so it’s a good one for folks who prefer the salty and tangy side of things. Amazon | Powell’s

Fermentation on Wheels – Part cookbook and part travelogue, this is the story of Tara Whitsitt’s years spent traveling in a school bus, sharing her love and knowledge of fermentation. It’s a delightful tale and the recipes can’t be beat.   Amazon | Powell’s

The Wildcrafted Cocktail – Written by foraging expert Ellen Zachos, this book offers up a wide array of garnishes, syrups, infusions, juices, and bitters made from ingredients you can often find in your own backyard. There’s a whole lot of inspiration here for anyone looking to take their home bar program from good to great. Amazon | Powell’s

Composing the Cheese Plate – The thing I always love about cheese plate books is that they’re often preserving books in disguise. This one, written by cheese evangelist Brian Keyser and pastry chef and condiment maker Leigh Friend, is bursting with an array of bright, creative, and unusual things to spread, smear, and dollop. Amazon | Powell’s

Preservation – For canners who like a goodly dose of science with their jams and pickles, there is no better book than Christina Ward’s comprehensive volume. She is a master food preserver who digs into the hows and whys of water activity, pectin, and the boiling water bath process. Amazon | Powell’s

Traditionally Fermented Foods – By Shannon Stonger, this book focuses on a wide spectrum of classic fermented foods. Shannon writes the blog Nourishing Days from her family’s small Texas farm and her book feels very much like an extension of her site. It’s friendly, helpful, and comes from a place of deep experience and expertise. Amazon | Powell’s

Fiery Ferments – The second book from seasoned pickle makers Kristen and Christopher Shockey, this one focuses on building pickles, sauces, and condiments that walk on the spicy side. You’ll find an in-depth sections on the ingredients that bring the heat like ginger, galangal, turmeric, peppercorns, and chiles. It’s so good for anyone longing to bring some serious zip to their fermentation. Amazon | Powell’s

Artisan Sourdough Made Simple – I’ve been an on and off sourdough baker for years now and this book by Emilie Raffa (she blogs at The Clever Carrot) is one of the best introductory books on the subject that I’ve seen. It also features a short but mighty section of dips, spreads, and jams towards the back that are good whether you’ve baked your own loaf or you’re picking one up at the market. Amazon | Powell’s

Ball Canning Back to Basics – This book was written by the Ball Canning test kitchen team and offers all the reliability of Ball recipes, with gorgeous step-by-step photography. If someone asked me to recommend an introductory canning book for a visual learner, this would be the very first volume I would suggest. Amazon | Powell’s

Modern Cider – With this book, Emma Christensen claims her crown as undisputed queen of small batch home brewing. It’s the perfect guide for anyone who has been intrigued by boozy fermentation but doesn’t drink beer. Amazon | Powell’s

Toast & Jam – Looking for a book that will get you stirring up tasty preserves AND help you discover a world of naturally leavened breads on which to spread them? Look no further than this gorgeous book by Sarah Owens (she also posts really amazing Instagram stories about her various ferments, preserves, and bakes). Amazon | Powell’s

Savory Sweet – This book, by Beth Dooley and Mette Nielsen, focuses on simple, approachable preserving with a northern sensibility. Organized by ingredient, all the recipes are small batch preserves that are low in sugar, are bright and zippy on the tongue, and can be stashed in the fridge or freezer rather than needing to be processed in a water bath canner. Amazon | Powell’s

The Essential Book of Homesteading – This hefty book gathers up all four of the books that Ashley English wrote for her Homemade Living series and tucks them into a single volume. It contains detailed info on canning, home dairy, keeping chickens, and raising bees. Amazon | Powell’s

The Joys of Jewish Preserving – Written by Food Swap! author Emily Paster, this lovely book celebrates the many aspects of traditional Jewish jams, pickles, fruit butters, and spreads. From your classic fermented deli pickle to lemon curd designed to use up extra egg yolks (common around Passover!), there’s a wealth of goodness here. Amazon | Powell’s

Preservation Pantry – Written by Sarah Marshall, the kitchen genius behind Marshall’s Haute Sauces, this is like an encyclopedia for canners. Organized by ingredient (much like Savory Sweet), this book goes well beyond the sauces that Sarah makes and sells. She digs into 24 different fruits and vegetables, and shows you how to preserve all that goodness without a smidgen of waste. Amazon | Powell’s

Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond -This book, written by Alex Lewin and Raquel Guajardo, offers an array of approaches to fermented drinks. In 13 wide-ranging chapters, they hit on everything from kombucha to fermented cocktails. There are sodas, vegetable drinks, and even traditional Mexican fermented drinks that date back to the pre-Hispanic era. The recipes are relatively simple, intriguing, and entirely approachable. Amazon | Powell’s

Ferment – Written by Australian chef Holly Davis, this book offers up some serious fermentation knowledge (Sandor Katz wrote the introduction). For those who are looking to deepen their fermentation practice, I highly recommend it. Amazon

Homegrown Pantry -So often, people ask me if I grow what I can and if I could give them gardening advice. I always disappoint them when I confess that I’m not a gardener. Happily, this book by Barbara Pleasant, is designed to help you choose the best varieties to plant, determine how much you’ll need to grow, and the best ways to preserve the fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are the result of your hard work. Amazon | Powell’s

The Preservatory -This gorgeous, hard cover book by Lee Murphy contains 80 sophisticated, unusual, and intriguing recipes. They’re broken down so half are preserves and the balance is a collection of dishes, drinks, and baked goods that you can make with the contents of those glowing jars. Amazon | Powell’s

That wraps up this year’s class of preserving books. You can find previous years here: 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Disclosure: Some of the books pictured here were received as review copies. Others I bought. The Amazon links are affiliate (so I make a few pennies if you click over and buy). The Powell’s links are not. 

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Cookbooks: Composing the Cheese Plate

I love cheese plate books, because in many cases, they’re really preserving books in disguise. Because what goes better with all manner of cheese that interesting jams, spreads, chutneys, mostardas, and jellies? Nothing, that’s what!

Published last fall, Composing the Cheese Plate is a perfect example of preserving-centric cheese book. Written by cheese evangelist Brian Keyser and pastry chef and condiment maker Leigh Friend, this book is bursting with an array of bright, creative, and unusual things to spread, smear, and dollop on cheese.

I have markers sticking out of this book in every direction. In addition to the recipes I’ve shared via photography here, I’m hoping to make the Balsamic Rosemary Cherry Mustard (page 63), Cardamom Poached Butternut Squash (page 89), Spiced Carrot Chutney (page 131), and the Pineapple Mostarda (page 198).

There is one downside to working with a book like this and that’s that none of the recipes are designed for boiling water bath canning. However, the batch sizes are small enough that you can easily tuck them into the fridge and use them up. I confess that I will probably borrow flavor elements from this book and will marry them with recipes I know to be safe for the canning pot.

One final note. This book comes to us from the same publisher that produces my books and as a result, this book shares the same size and binding as those in the Food in Jars series. It would fit quite nicely on a shelf next to my trio of books!

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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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Giveaway: Preserving Book Bundle

preserving books

Friends, so many good preserving books came out in the last year. Truly, I feel like we’re in a golden age for jams, pickles, chutneys, ferments, and even low acid home canning. For this week’s giveaway, I have a short stack of recent preserving releases that would be a fantastic addition to any DIY library.

Now, just to be clear, this is not my definitive list of the best preserving books to hit the shelves this year. I just happen to have extra copies of all three of these books (thanks to the publishers who helped bring these works into the world) and thought it would be nice to bundle them up and give them away to one of my readers.

Asian Pickles cover

First up in the giveaway stack is Karen Solomon’s excellent book, Asian Pickles. I wrote a bit about this book last June and the longer I have it in my collection, the more I love it. Truly, anyone who wants to expand their understanding of home picking should pick up a copy post haste.

Fermented Vegetables cover

Next is Fermented Vegetables, which has been out just over a month now. Written by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey, this book is one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly books on fermentation that I’ve seen recently. The pictures are beautiful and lend additional clarity to step-by-step recipes that might otherwise be troublesome.

Last month, I used their recipe for brined dilly beans and I was so pleased by the results that I started entertaining the idea of getting myself a mini-fridge so that I could make more.

Mrs. Wheelbarrow's cover

Last in the stack is Cathy Barrow’s much-anticipated book, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry. This is such an amazing book for home cooks who want to start building up a pantry filled with homemade staples. Sure, it has plenty of boiling water bath recipes, but it also deals with pressure canning, charcuterie, basic home dairy, and smoking. Anyone who likes a food project should have this one on their shelf.

There will be just one winner in this giveaway, who will receive a box with these three books in them. Here’s how to enter the giveaway.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share your favorite food preservation resource. It can be a website, book, online video, or person. Share the love so that we can all expand our knowledge.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, November 29, 2014. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog by Sunday, November 30, 2014.
  3. Giveaway is open to all.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.

The winner of this giveaway is #380/Tina! Congratulations Tina!

Disclosure: All three of these books were received as review copies. No one paid me to say nice things about them. Additionally, Karen and Cathy are both friends of mine. However, they did not ask me to run this giveaway or say these things. I do it because I like to share the good stuff with you guys.  

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