Cookbooks: Desserts in Jars, Ripe, Jam On & The Preservation Kitchen

October 20, 2012(updated on October 3, 2018)

favorite books from this summer

It has been FAR too long since I’ve done one of these cookbook round-up posts. Amazing books have been stacking up all around my apartment (quite literally, there are piles nearly everywhere you look) and there are so many I want to share with you. So I’m going to get back into the business of featuring the best of the food-focused books that are crossing my threshold. Today’s post features four such books that came out in the last three or four months and would all make great additions to your culinary library.

Desserts in Jars

This summer was a really good time for jar-focused cookbooks (including mine!). One such book is Shaina Olmanson’s first, called Desserts in Jars. You might know her from her blog, Food For My Family. Shaina did all the writing, recipe development, food styling and photography for this book. My hat is off to her and the beautiful, accessible book that she created.

interior from Desserts in Jars

Desserts in Jars features all manner of cakes, pies, custards, puddings, fruit desserts and frozen desserts. There’s also a section in the very back filled with mixes for giving. There are a number of people on my holiday list who will be receiving jars of her Spiced Hot Chocolate Mix in their gift baskets this year.


Many words of praise have been heaped on Nigel Slater’s Ripe since it was published (it’s been out since 2010 in the UK, but has only been available in the US since late spring). It deserves every ounce of adulation too. It is beautifully written and photographed. The recipes are creative and allow you the space to adapt and explore the featured main ingredients.

interior from Ripe

The recipes in Ripe are named things like “A sharp damson pickle for cold meats” and  “A high-summer jam to serve warm.” How could you not want to make things with such romantic and descriptive handles? One dish that I’m hoping to make in the very near future is his “Apples and quince baked in cream.” Just saying the name makes me feeling like I’ve been transported to a small village in the English countryside.

Jam On

Written by the founder of Brooklyn-based Anarchy in Jam, Laena McCarthy’s Jam On is a really masterful preserving book because it doesn’t just contain a series of recipes. Laena has included the how and why of jams that she has learned throughout her career as a professionals fruit preserver. For instance, there’s a chart that breaks down which fruits are high in pectin, which have moderate amounts and which are quite low in pectin. That’s the kind of knowledge that makes it possible for cookbook users to explore fruit and put together their own jams, butters and marmalades.

interior from Jam On

Jam On has sections devoted to jams and jellies; preserves, marmalades and chutneys; sugar-free jams and fruit butters (I get lots of questions about sugar-free canning, those of you interested in this topic should definitely check out this book!); pickled fruits, syrups and shrubs; and pairings. I’m most enamored of the last two sections, as they have given me so many great ideas.

The Preservation Kitchen

Written by Chef Paul Virant of Chicago’s Vie and co-authored by Kate Leahy, The Preservation Kitchen is an incredible book for canners who want to expand their preservation habit beyond their traditional jams and pickles. One of the best things about this book is that it takes a very scientific approach to the formatting of the recipes, listing the ingredients in volume, ounces, grams and percentages. This makes it easier to scale the recipes up or down, which is so useful when you need to work with the produce you have and not an exact, recipe-prescribed amount.

interior from Preservation Kitchen

Particular gems in this book include chapters on Bittersweet Preserves (this includes aigre-doux and mostardas – both incredible with cheeses) and Pressure Canning. The pressure canning section is only three recipes deep, but all are winners, particularly the garlic conserva (detailed here by Hank Shaw) which allows you to have shelf stable, oil-packed, tender garlic.

I’ve found myself with an extra copy of The Preservation Kitchen and so am doing a super quick weekend-long giveaway. If you’d like a chance to get your hands on it, here’s what to do.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share the source of your favorite preserve recipe.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Sunday, October 21, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway open to everyone, no matter where you live.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post. I do not accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: I received all books featured here at no cost for review purposes. However, my opinions remain my own. Also, links to Amazon used here are affiliate links. I get a few cents if you click over and buy something. 

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

297 thoughts on "Cookbooks: Desserts in Jars, Ripe, Jam On & The Preservation Kitchen"

  • I’m new to preserving so my first and only preserving cookbook is my favorite, “Food in Jars.” I’d love to add some more books to my little collection so pick meeeee.

  • Preservation Kitchen has been on my list for a while now; so many good books, so little time! I don’t think I could possibly pick a favorite preserving recipe – and I don’t think that there is a single one that I haven’t adapted to my own tastes. 🙂 But Curried Apple Chutney in the Ball Book is one of the first preserves I made and remains a favorite to this day.

  • The source of my favourite preserving recipe is usually what is overly abundant and threatening to go mouldy in my fridge or on my cupboard!! 😉

    This fall I have fallen in love with Tart and Sweet by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler. Wonderful, flavourful recipes (the basic tomato ketchup and the lavender peach jam were two instant favourites). I also especially like that she has other recipes that you pair with the preserves (ie. a cake recipe to use the peach lavender jam with). Very novel and super yummy!!

  • While I’d love to get a pressure cooker, I just don’t have the room for it right now. So I am constantly searching for a used Le Creuset dutch oven on craigslist instead.

  • Christine Ferber of course! Her Two Kinds of Apricots with Vanilla
    & Gewurztraminer is the best preserve I have ever made or tasted.

  • This book sounds great! Our favorite jam recipe if the past year has been clementine vanilla marmalade. So tasty, and has been a favorite as gifts!

  • I love the book Tart and Sweet. They have a lot of unique updated recipes in the book. So far I’ve made Carrot Habanero Hot Sauce, Pears in a Honey Vanilla Syrup and I’m making some more Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde today. I bought your book over the summer time and have made Pickled Garlic Scapes. Too many recipes—not enough time!

  • Simple perfection is the recipe for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Raspberry Fridge Jam in Pam Corbin’s The River Cottage Preserves handbook.

  • My favourite jam recipe is Black Raspberry with Creme de Cacao. It’s my own recipe, based on the regular old raspberry jam recipe in the certo package. Black raspberry and chocolate liquor change it into something pretty amazing.
    But I’m also a big fan of the Lemony Pickled Cauliflower from your cookbook and the Pickled Garlic Scapes from Canning for a New Generation.

  • I like the recipes in the Williams-Sonoma preserving cookbook, everything I’ve made has been wonderful. Blue Chair Fruit also has come great ones.

  • Don’t have a favourite preserve recipe ‘cos I have never learned the art. Hoping this book will change that! 🙂

  • Thanks for the great information on some more cookbooks. My favorite canning recipes are from your site (love the cinnamon pear jam) and some family favorite from my grandmothers. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • My favorite recently has come from Canning for a New Generation. I have put up many quarts of peaches in vanilla syrup and we’ve added them to plain yogurt or used them as a base for cobbler. Simply amazing.

  • My favorite recipes tend to be ones that I cobble together from an amalgamation, so I guess the source tends to be myself and whatever fruit/veg I can get my hands on (aka, usually what my CSA gives me too much of to eat before it goes bad otherwise). My favorite thing on my shelves at this moment is likely the pickled peppers I put up this summer. A basic brine and as many different thick-fleshed peppers as possible, some of which I don’t even know the names of.

  • I would have to go with the basic brine in the Ball Blue Book. If I’m in a rush to pickle something (cucumbers, carrots, dilly beans, whatever) I know I can always fall back on that one and whatever I make will turn out well, if not crazy exciting. It’s the most-used page in my most-used book.

  • I would have to say my Great Grandmothers peach and blueberry jam recipe. I recently mixed it in with some homemade cream cheese, and it was sooooo good.

  • Your Food in Jars blog was the singular inspiration that lead me to dust off the canning pot and hunt down the boxes of jars. Although I have canned from a number of sources my favorite this year is the technique of using the crockpot to make butters. The low and slow cooking really makes the whole process so much easier.

  • I’ve only been canning for a year or so now but have to say my favorite preserving recipe so far would be a toss up between your Classic Dill Pickle and Strawberry Vanilla Jam. Love, love, love them!

  • My favorite preserves recipe comes from my grandmother ” Granny Jo”, I will never eat store bought strawberry jelly again thanks to her recipe!

  • My favorite recipe is one I altered. Its a jam with strawberries passion fruit. I think the original version was in a book called Preserving for Life.
    I have been searching for ages for a 12-14″ cast iron tortilla griddle. My mom has one she uses practically everyday. Not for tortilla but other stuff. I love it

  • The only canning I have done up until this year has been an annual batch of Million Dollar Relish I got from an old Kinette Cookbook about 25 years ago. Many of my friends have come to expect jars of this included in their Christmas presents and many will not eat store bought relish at all since trying this. This year I tried an apricot pineapple jam and a strawberry jam and both were wonderful. More additions to Christmas stockings.

  • My favorite recipes come from my family’s back-country Florida kitchen. We still made pickles by brining them first, which no one does any more, and we spent every summer putting up vegetables and making jams and jellies from foraged fruits. These days I’d kill to find a hog plum tree.

    Hard to find kitchen tool? A Scandinavian bread whisk! But the quest gave me one of those uniquely satisfying moments, the reward of gratification deferred. I found it on a bread-making sites at prices from $18 to $12, always with the shipping cost still to be added. It was a lean month, so I decided to wait until I had a little extra gravy for that potato, Then, in LeRoux’s fabulous kitchenware store on Martha’s Vineyard I found one, and contrary to what you would expect in a Vineyard store, the price was lower, much lower, a mere $5.99, and no shipping. That was really big satisfaction for a very small thing.

  • I am on a quest for a full set of cast-iron cookware for open-earth/campfire cooking. So far I have a few skillets and one smallish dutch oven. This stuff is expensive! I keep haunting flea markets for distressed pieces to rescue.

  • Just recently I came across a peach preserves recipe at Manning Canning that I’m going to alter a bit – it calls for almond extract and I’m allergic – come next August it’s going to be utilized!

  • The source of my favorite preserve recipes is Larousse Gastonomique, it taught me all I needed to know to start exploring preserving meats etc. in salt and fat. I an a fan of savory preserves!

  • Thanks for the reviews, imwayd looking to add to my library. This summer I really enjoyed referring to the River Cottage Preserves book. I am also looking forward to reading everyone else’s favourites.

  • Thanks for the reviews, I am always looking to add to my library. This summer I really enjoyed referring to the River Cottage Preserves book. I am also looking forward to reading everyone else’s favourites.

  • My source for my favorite preserves recipe is food in jars. 🙂 I learned how to can with these recipes & I love the fact that they’re simple but unique. I LOVE your recipes. My favorite, so far, is your pear vanilla jam. It’s just lovely.

  • I need this cookbook so badly! I need better recipes that I can use the varying amounts that come out of my teenage daughter’s garden. It is so hard when everything starts “20 pounds of tomatoes”. Plus, I have been experimenting more with pressure canning along with my experimentation of your recipes. Please help me grow in my skills and variety in my pantry!

  • Y forite place to get recipies so far has been your blog and now your book. It has led to much more exploring for me to do in the future.

  • I’m just getting started in canning, so I’ve only got the Ball’s canning cookbook but I’m hoping to get a few more cookbooks for Christmas!

  • I just started canning for the first time this year, so I haven’t had much time to find a favorite recipe, but given how much my husband and I have been enjoying your tomato jam for the last couple of weeks it seems destined to become a regular! Also I just opened a jar of dilly beans put up at the end of September and I have not been able to stop eating them. I’m wishing now that I’d done more than 3 jars!

  • I would love (!!) to have this book! My favorite preserving recipe is whatever uses up whatever is on the peak of ripeness/almost overripe stuff (fruit, veg, whatever) that is currently in the fridge or on my counter! This afternoon, it’s pickled jalapeno peppers…..

  • I mix it up between online (favorite blogs, Punk Domestics and random ingredient searches), plus a range of cookbooks, including Food in Jars! I also quite like The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and use variations from the Ball book, but am always looking for a couple more good preserving books for the shelves!

  • Well, my current favorite is from your site. We just made your slow roasted tomatoes with the last tomatoes before the frost and they were amazing!

  • I’m pretty basic wih jams. My favorite is raspberry peach. I’d love to add this. Ook to my collection! It sounds wonderful

  • I got a pretty good pickle recipe from my CSA this summer but that is about the extent of my delving into preservation. 🙂

  • I’m pretty new to canning, so I’m not sure if I have a favorite preserve recipe yet, but the internet has been a very helpful resource with some great results!

  • The Ball canning book provides lots of help for questions and the basics, but for more adventurous canning, I turn to Food in Jars and The Art of Preserving from Williams Sonoma.

  • I can’t remember where the recipe came from, but earlier this summer I made some pickled cauliflower that I just couldn’t stop snacking on.

    I’m also a fan of the your recipe for sour cherry preserves!

  • One of my favorites is the apple pie filling from Local Kitchen! But I’m always looking for new canning recipes.

  • My favourite source is probably the home centre for food preservation, if only because they clearly state when certain ingredients are included for safety or flavour. I have allergies, notably to citrus, and recipes that include lemon juice for flavour (instead of to insure a safe level of acidity) and don’t specify this can be a bit frustrating, especially when I was a beginner. It’s not a big deal now since I know a ratio conversion for vinegar, so I can still use recipes that look good but contain citrus. Your site has been a huge help, too. Even the things I can’t eat still get me thinking about what I could make instead for the same purpose. 🙂

  • Some of my favorite preserves are from Christine Ferber, her strawberry takes 3 days to make but it is the most divine and deeply strawberry flavored preserve I’ve ever had! I also make your apple butter every year. I’ve never found a better recipe!

  • I am still new to this game, but I must tell you that my favorite preserving recipe is an ancient one from my grandmother – it’s for Aunt Bertha’s Pickles (cucumbers processed in lime and then vinegar/sugar/spices and so crisp that they shatter!). But, I am open to new recipes…

  • My standby source for preserve recipes is Putting it up with Honey. It’s an older book with great guidelines for using honey instead of sugar in preservs.

  • I’d have to say my favorite right now is Ball’s Green Tomato Salsa and a strawberry honey jam that I got from a friend. Not sure where she got that one from but it’s AMAZING! 🙂

  • I haven’t ventured far from the Ball preserving book. I am new to canning and have made several berry jams over the past few summers. I would love to can vegetables and salsas if my garden can start producing enough bounty.

  • I find myself drawn to simple recipes, lots of fruit balanced with sugar and lemon juice. The Blue Ball Canning book recipes for fruit jam serve me well, but itwould be nice to branch out and try new flavor combinations.

  • I would absolutely love to have this preserving book in my collection! My favorite preserved food is ~ Gramma Helen’s Sour Dills ~ they leave you with a pucker!

    : – 0

  • My favorite go to preserve is my Fig Preserves that I do each year & learned from my Mom & grandmother. But love trying new ones such as I did this past Summer, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam! So delicious! I love all canning!

  • I treasure the bread and butter pickle recipe from a very, very special lady named Ruby, who sent my mom a card every single day for the 7 long months my mother suffered with cancer. She treated my dad, my youngest son, age 5, and me to a week of pampering, great food from her garden, and a happy fishing trip after mom passed away, by opening her home to us for a much-needed rest. A jar of Ruby’s pickles is always going to be a reminder of love and kindness and great food.

  • There is a fabulous book by Edon Waycott called Preserving the Taste which has a delicious recipe for Caramelized Apple Marmelade with Thyme. It is my fave! Would love to win this book it looks like it’s right up my alley!

  • The first book on preserves that I bought (after checking it out of the library about 25 times) is “Preserving the Taste” by Edon Waycott. It has many lovely recipes in it, including a pear and ginger jam that makes all tasters swoon. 🙂 We make it every year!

  • My favorite source is really the Ball book – lame I know – but I find I can add twists from other books I have, but I keep going back to Ball for the basics. My favorite preserving recipe is not a preserve per se, but a pickle – I love the “Pickled Watermelon Rind” recipe from Martha Stewart living (available on her website now). It’s from an old issue and I’ve been making it for 12 (?) or more years. It works perfectly every time, it’s delicious, unusual and makes a great gift. It’s always on my Thanksgiving table!

    Thanks for the book reviews – I’m always looking for new preserving books.

  • I’m new to canning but my mother is a pro. She recently sent me some some red plum jam as I’m in southern Cali & apparently no one here likes it because almost no grocers carry it.

  • Several years ago, I was the lucky recipient of my great grandmothers ‘receipt box’
    She left her home in Virginia when she married a railroad man in 1915 and they moved to Montana. Montana is the home of All or Nothing gardening. Short seasons mean either it wont grow, or it explodes out of the garden like a vegetable cataclysm.

    This would why her recipe box had an inch thick section of cards and folded papers containing rhubarb recipes. including my favorite ever. A Rhubarb Carrot Conserve that has exactly 3 ingredients. Rhubarb, Carrots and Sugar.

    It was the first sweet preserve i ever made without pectin, It tastes like heaven on warm buttered bread, and it was the recipe that set me on the path to experiment with preserving any plant that I can safely (ish- I have a thing for cactus fruit) wrestle into my kitchen.

  • My most loved source for preserve recipes was my Hungarian Grandma, Borbola. It was in her home I had my first home preserved pickles, syrups and jams.She didn’t even own a refrigerator until my parents purchased her one when they went to visit her with her new & first grandchild (Me!) In 1968. Before then if it needed to stay cold it went in her well. I really also cherish your book. I have been teaching my daughter in law canning and we made several recipes for Food in Jars, every one more delicious than the last!

  • Well, you’ll think I’m brown-nosing, but one of my fave preserves is your tomato jam. My husband and I don’t even bother with canning whole tomatoes anymore, tomatoes are too precious to waste on anything but jam!

  • I have a ceramic-top stove and a cookware set that doesn’t include a four-quart pot, so my quest is to find a reasonably priced canner that works on my stovetop or the perfect four-quart pot.

  • My favorite is my grandmother’s rhubarb-fig conserve recipe. I have it on a yellowing index card in her spidery handwriting. It’s so yummy!

  • My favorite “recipe” is actually the inspiration of Marisa’s post about not sweating it when it comes to jam. Cook up some fruit with half as much sugar and flavorings until jammy. I’m most pleased with one I made using plums, orange juice and zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

  • My favorite used to be plum blackberry jelly. My mother made it when I was a child and eventually, I began to make it. This summer I tried your nectarine lime jam and I was hooked. I ended up making three batches. I hope I made enough to last until next summer. Delicious.

  • Definitely the classic strawberry preserves in Canning for a New Generation! Think of them now with salty, creamy butter on a warm piece of toast.

  • the pickled Asparagus and dilly beans from Food in Jars and Radish Relish ( I think from Put Em Up) are my favorite pickled preserves… I love a good ginger peach jam, and the balsamic strawberry w/ black pepper and brandied cranberry conserve… i first turn to Food In Jars book, then Put Em Up, then Well Preserved for my canning endeavors.

  • Ah…the quest to find amazing recipes is one of my pleasures. I have a huge collection of cooking books and always adding to it. I love my well used ones, all splattered and with corners bent…

  • My favorite is honey cinnamon peach preserves from It’s simple and delicious and on homemade bread reminds me of peach pie.

  • Anything with blackberries! I put up lots of jams every year — even now that my kids are out of the house. They still ask for jars of them.

  • My mother’s mother’s mother’s Apple Butter recipe is my favorite. Everything is “to taste” and “soon”. The original is somewhere in Kansas, I have a photographed, faxed and scanned-in copy. It calls for honey as a sweetener!

  • This summer I’ve been back and forth between your site (and now book!) and Canning for a New Generation; though my reigning favourite is the Vanilla Rhubarb Jam from your site! With David Lebovitz’s Elderberry Syrup taking a close second.

  • I think my favorite jam recipe is strawberry fig jam from my husband’s grandmother – the one I’m best at making is apple butter from my mother-in-law.

    Then your directions also ask a question about cookware? I’d love to have a cast iron roaster like my husband’s grandmother had.