Cookbook: Edible DIY + Giveaway

January 28, 2013(updated on February 3, 2023)
Edible DIY

One of the joys of being someone who cans and preserves regularly is that I’m nearly always prepared when the need arises for a gift. During December’s gift giving season, I keep a box of summer jams and butters near the front door, ready to be distributed. I build couple-specific baskets for bridal showers and weddings.

Last summer, when I was scurrying around on book tour, I even kept a couple extra jars in my car at all times, for those moments when verbal thank yous just weren’t enough and I wanted to offer a physical representation of my appreciation.

Year of Edible DIY

Sometimes, even I run out of preserves good for giving (there are a number of trial batches in recipe development that, while good enough for home use, aren’t great for bestowing upon others). Other times, I just find myself out of fresh ideas. That’s when I turn to books and blogs authored by other creative folk, hoping that their various perspectives will gyrate me free from my regularly-trod paths.


The latest book to cross my transom that I’m turning to for kitchen inspiration is Lucy Baker’s Edible DIY. Initially based on the work she’s done on Serious Eats, this book is filled with candies, infused spirits, crackers, pickles, and sweet spreads that will send you hopping for the kitchen.

sweet tea vodka

Recipes are arranged by type. You’ll find nibbly bits like crackers, spiced nuts, and popcorn in the Crunchy section. Boozy should be plenty self-explanatory (and goodness, do I want to try the Spiced Pear Gin pictured below). Sweet includes biscotti, marshmallows, truffles, and toffee.

spiced pear gin

The last two sections the most preserve-heavy of the book. On the savory side, there’s a strong assortment of Spicy Condiments, Pickles, and Snacks (flavored salts! pickled fennel! ginger sriracha!). Rounding out the book are the Jams, Jellies, and Other Preserves. Lucy has made tweaks to a series of reliable favorites (blueberry port jam and strawberry balsamic thyme jam, for example) which are all worthy of canning pot consideration. One recipe that I’m planning on making soon is the one for Cranberry-Champagne Jam with Crystallized Ginger (I still have a couple bags of cranberries stashed away).

maple syrup caramels

One of the things I like most about this book is that it’s accessible. Not a single recipe goes on for pages (or days), making it approachable for all levels of canners, candy makers, and cracker bakers. As someone who rarely has the patience for recipes that require multiple days of fussing, I’m appreciative. That said, if you’re an expert baker/canner/sugarcrafter who is looking for a book to push your skillset to a new level, this one is probably not for you.

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743 thoughts on "Cookbook: Edible DIY + Giveaway"

  • First off…thank you for the giveaway! It looks like a terrific book! I’m excited about doing a ton of canning this year, including vegetables! I can’t wait to make pickled cauliflower!

  • I just looked down through your posts, and love the looks of the pear and chocolate jam! Pears are one of my favorite fruits, and of course everything is better with chocolate 😉

  • I’ve been giving handcrafted edibles for the holidays recently and they’re always a big hit – this book would be great for some new ideas for x-mas 2013!

  • What a fun little book! The recipe I’m most excited to try this year is from another great little book previously mentioned right here on this blog, The Kimchi Cookbook. My sweetie loves cucumbers, and the traditional stuffed cucumber kimchi will be a special gift when the warm weather comes with its surplus of cukes. I struggle to make pickles that retain that perfect crunch, so I hope to get around that using the Korean preserving method.

  • Thank you for your wonderful giveaways! This book looks terrific and I always love to try new homemade items for gifts.

  • I want to try canning rhubarb jam, and also cherry jam, or maybe cherry-rhubarb jam! We have a tiny cherry tree that finally yielded enough for a pie last year, so I’m hoping maybe we’ll have enough for some jam, and a pie 🙂

  • What a fun giveaway!

    I am really ready to try some new tomato recipes this year–meals, like the tomato and corn pie over at Smitten Kitchen, and canned goods like marinara sauce.

  • Wonderful ideas, recipes and a chance for a cookbook? Cooking heaven! I look forward to being teased, by this blog, into trying new combinations and taste sensations. My daughter whom is sixteen has already begun to love the canning process because her passion for jam and jelly on toast has no bounds. She gets that commercial versions while adequate for a fast PB & J sandwich cannot compare to a huge spoonful of something homemade on toast with a big mug of hot tea for relaxing comfort. Teenagers have so much more stress then my generation had back in the sixties and anything that can help her relax and just take time to focus on the pleasure of the moment is wonderful. Thank you for giving me new ways to branch out with our canning! P.S. As one of the many, many families whom lived without power, heat or light for two weeks due to hurricane Sandy I can testify how terrific it was to have canned jam and jellies to brighten our sandwiches this year. For anyone hesitating and trying to decide if canning is worth the effort … my family will give a resounding … yes! (My prayers are daily for those still living like Abraham Lincoln in candlelight, shivering and with no ability to do a simple load of wash for clean clothes. Constantly being cold, dirty and without enough light to see demoralizes your ability to cope. Please keep those families still trying to sort through contractors, FEMA, insurance, etc. in your prayers. Hurricane Sandy problems are definitely not over for so many folks!)

  • I really really want to try my hand at the honey sweetened chestnut butter!! Sounds delish & looks like a nice gift as well. 🙂

  • Well now…that’s a tough question…what is on my list to try for 2013? I’m looking forward to a Meyer lemon shipment to make your Lemon Curd, but I’ve been perusing Kaela’s Citrus Page in order to make use of some oranges sitting on my counter and her Lemon Lavender Marmalade caught my eye. So, I’m sure I’ll do some sort of marmalade with the oranges, but now have something else to make with those lemons coming in! Could be fun – and would love this cookbook for some ideas for my wedding celebration favors! Keeping fingers crossed!

  • My canning friend and I have been dying to make blood orange marmalade…I just saw them in the store the other day so this may be the month to try it!

  • I would like to try making a souffle. I’ve never made one and and I would love to give it a try. I live to make food gifts so have to add this to my book list. Thanks!

  • That cookbook looks fantastic! I love giving edible gifts, and it looks like Lucy has some beautiful and tasty ideas.
    This year I want to make really good gluten-free crackers. I don’t have a recipe because I haven’t found one yet, and I may have to invent it myself. I’m looking forward to experimenting!

  • I’ve been dying to try marmalade again – the last batch I made ended up too firm, not easily spreadable..and just a little too bitter. Thanks for the new marmalade tips! I think I’m going to try the orange ginger recipe next.

    Would love to add this book to my (small but growing) collection!

  • Love your blog!! I am a huge fan of marmalades, Meyer Lemon is my favorite. Made a few batches this year for gifts. I am lucky to have a beautiful Meyer lemon tree. I want to learn to make really good caramels this year. That is my goal. Maybe the recipe in this book!! Thank you for sharing.

  • I received your cookbook as a gift this Christmas and I want to make all the flavored salts. This cookbook looks beautiful.

  • I want to try Moroccan anything! I always have preserved lemons in the fridge but have never used them in a formal recipe. Then agai, those maple caramels sound awfully good…

  • looks like there are so many good things to make in this book! i’m planning on making some chutneys for the first time this year with veggies from my allotment 🙂

  • We planted a lot of strawberry plants, so this year I hope to make strawberry jam…and strawberry pie…and strawberry pancakes…and…

  • I want to try the Quince jelly recipe I found on your site. I wish I would have got some when they were in season because I’m anxious to try it.