I have been a fan of Karen Solomon’s work since the very earliest days of this site. Her Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It was one of the very first books I bought on the topic of canning and culinary DIY and it continues to be one I turn to often I’m looking for a foundational recipe. Her subsequent books, Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It and Asian Pickles are also mainstays on my shelf.
Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Karen in person (including two overnight stays in her amazing San Francisco home during various book tours) and she is just as delightful, knowledgeable, and charming in person as she is in her books.
Several months ago, Karen’s latest was published. Called Cured Meat, Smoked Fish, & Pickled Eggs, this book focuses on the art of preserving proteins. The book covers the full spectrum of preservation possibilities, from water bath canning (really applicable only to the pickled beans in the book) to pressure canning, curing, drying, freezing, smoking, and more.
The table of contents for this book spans two full spreads and I’ve included pictures of both in this post. This is to give you a complete idea of what you’ll get from a copy of this book (so much!). I can’t think of a book currently on the market that brings all these techniques and recipes into a single volume and with such glorious photography, to boot.
You’ll find recipes for things you never thought to make, like the Pork Floss that’s pictured above, or the Czech Pickled Hot Dogs on page 66 (I never imagined that I’d crave pickled hot dogs, but thanks to Karen’s description of how the pickling process gives them flavor and texture, I am insanely hungry for them).
You’ll also classic preserved proteins like Duck Breast Prosciutto, Ham, Corned Beef, Pastrami, and even Canned Tuna. You’ll also find a number of recipes various stripes of jerky, one for Biltong, and even a Meat Energy Bar. If you’re someone who likes to follow a high protein diet and you’re finding that your snack budget is getting out of hand, this book will empower you to make them rather than buy them.
One thing I think it’s important to make clear about this cookbook is that it’s not only for meat eaters. While there is a goodly amount of beef, pork, and poultry in the book, there are also recipes devoted to fish, soy, beans, nuts, dairy, and eggs. You’ll see pickled eggs (several varieties!), canned beans, pickled tofu, and honey-preserved nuts all represented here.
My bottom line on this book is that it’s a necessary library addition for anyone interested in expanding their food preservation practice beyond the canning pot. It is clever, welcoming, well-written, and easy to use. I have a batch of the Cold-Cured Gravlax on page 110 going in my fridge right now and I found the recipe to be so approachable (that project is also why there’s a butter knife holding the pages of the book down. I’d had it splayed out on my counter just before going to take these pictures. After that treatment, it wouldn’t stay neatly closed for a couple of hours).
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.