Cookbooks: The Modern Preserver

June 15, 2016(updated on April 24, 2023)
The Modern Preserver Cover

These days, it takes a lot for a canning book to delight me. After all, I’ve spent the better part of the last decade totally immersed in jamming, pickling, and preserving. I sometimes even begin to think that perhaps I’ve seen every trick and flavor combination there is. And then a book like The Modern Preserver drops out of the sky and into my mailbox, and I am charmed.

The Modern Preserver Spine

Written by Kylee Newton, an artisan jam maker from New Zealand and now based in London, The Modern Preserver offers up a familiar and fresh array of jams, pickles, compotes, jellies, cordials, and more. The design is clean, the photography is gorgeous, and the voice of the book is reliable and welcoming.

The Modern Preserver Green Bean and Coconut Relish

It opens with a short introduction that details Kylee’s background, and then offers a bit of information about her ethos as a preserver. From there, she talks about the rules of preserving. Do know that this section is far briefer than it would be in an American book. I’ll dig a little more into that in a moment.

The Modern Preserver Fennel and Orange Pickle

Following the intro, we get into the recipes. The first section contains Relishes, Chutneys, and Sauces. Next up is Pickles, Fermentations, and Vinegars; followed by Jams, Jellies, and Compotes; and Curds, Candies, and Fruit Cheeses. Bringing up the rear of the book are the Syrups, Cordials, and Alcohol.

I have bookmarked a goodly number of recipes in this book, and every time I open it, I find something else that I’d like to make, or at the very least, use as inspiration for a related preserve (Blackberry Relish! How had I never thought to make that?!)

The Modern Preserver Lime and Saffron Jelly

My only quibble with this book is that there’s no acknowledgement that best practices for preserving vary depending on where you are in the world. Here in the US, it’s standard practice that we use jars designed for canning (not recycled jars from store-bought preserves). We use two piece lids and we make sure that the flat lids are new each time we can. And finally, we run everything we make through a boiling water bath. None of this is in the book (I’m a little bit surprised that the US publisher didn’t make them at least add an appendix referencing the different standards).

All that said, I will still be preserving from this book. I’m just going to make sure that I bring along my food science knowledge and general understanding of canning. Everything will be packed into appropriate jars and will get a trip through the canning pot (to determine timing, I’ll reference recipes with similar ingredients and densities).

The Modern Preserver Back

Disclosure: The Countryman Press sent me the copy you see pictured above for photography and review purposes at no cost to me. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

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188 thoughts on "Cookbooks: The Modern Preserver"

  • Lots of places – from old cookbooks and family recipes to modern websites (punk domestics is great).

  • For canning recipes, Food in Jars is my go-to source! (perfect flavours, trustworthy recipes, and concise instructions). Lately, I’ve been on the hunt for dessert recipes that incorporate herbs, I find the combination lively and fresh in the warmer months! That search has taken me to all kinds of interesting blogs and a pile of library books which provide much inspiration!

  • For everyday cooking (and looking for inspiration to do something for dinner) I always turn to Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. But I also just received Naturally Sweet Food in Jars from Amazon and I am excited about using that for “fun” stuff. Right now I have rhubarb coming out of my ears so this weekend I am trying out all of the different rhubarb recipes in Food in Jars and Naturally Sweet Food in Jars.

  • Smitten Kitchen is my go to blog for figuring out what to make for dinner – love her one pot dishes especially in the summer when I also have canning plans!

  • Recently dug out my Nigella Lawson cookbooks and Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster and another goodie – At Blanchards Table – thanks for the giveaway

  • I love to look at the old cookbooks my Grandmom gave me. But I love looking threw new cookbooks borrowed from the library.

  • While I haven’t made any of the recipes yet due to my own lack of time, recently Renee Erickson’s gorgeous cookbook, A Boat, A Whale, and a Walrus has been serious culinary inspiration to me. The photographs and her sense about food inspire me to really invest myself in the kitchen, and just seeing the cloth cover somehow makes me get up and try something new in the kitchen with whatever short amount of time I have.

  • I love to search All recipes, Food in Jar line of books and the Put em up books too. This one looks wonderful!

  • Hello, Marissa. I attended your jam demonstration in Chicago last week. I am totally new to canning. Your recommendations from your book Preserving by the Pint were wonderful! The blueberry maple, strawberry honey, and raspberry habanero were all amazing! Your recipes are foolproof (even for a newbie like me)! Thank you!

  • Lately I’ve been using my Practical Paleo cookbook by Diane Sanfilippo. Looking forward to checking your newest canning book using alternatives to sugar.

  • It’;s strawberry season in Michigan so I’ve made Food in Jars strawberry rhubarb butter and Mountain Mamas strawberry rhubarb jam. Both so good. Love the strawberry rhubarb combo. But the strawberry apricot jam you just posted looks enticing!

  • Lately, I’ve been using All Recipes for inspiration. I like the review section where people comment on how they have tweaked the recipe to make it even better.

  • Just a comment about using recycled jars.

    I have been using both commercial canning jars and recycled jars for decades and have had no particular problem with hot water bath canning using either type of jars. I probably won’t use recycled jars for pressure canning, if and when I ever get into that, which hasn’t happened yet.

    Lately, I’ve been collecting the 12 oz jars that Marie’s salad dressings come in. These are great jars, very thick glass, and of a style that is not available in commercial canning jars.

    If anyone feels hesitant about using recycled jars, I invite you to peruse the jars available at Fillmore Container. Sure, they have the common commercial canning jars. They also sell the exact same kinds of jars that I get for free, having recycled them from grocery store purchases.

  • I’m not trying to be a suck-up here but I bought Food in Jars the summer before last and I just love your recipes. Other than that I use Food 52 a lot and surf for recipes…

  • Your website and books inspire me! I also received “Salt Sugar Smoke” by Diana Henry as a gift That has some interesting recipes.

  • I have been using my Grandmother’s collection of recipe cards and hand written books that was just given to me by my mother. It is amazing!

  • Although the summer heat index is going to put my sourdough bread making on hold for a couple months, of late I’ve been having a lot of fun on The Fresh Loaf. So many talented and inventive bakers! I’ve learned so much from them and been inspired to learn from my own creative trials. I’m turning now to channel my need to tinker with preserving fruits and vegetables through fermentation and water bath canning.

  • I have been using Pinterest a lot lately but sometimes find that the recipes don’t end up as pictured. This book looks great and I bet all of the recipes have been tested.

  • I have been using Food 52 and both “Food in Jars “book. I also go to bloggers post and get inspiration from there. This looks like a cool book to have.

  • My favorite recipe inspiration source used to be Tastespotting, but lately very few posts have been made, so I’ve been relying on Smitten Kitchen.

  • Foolproof Preserving by America’s Test Kitchen – had a lovely strawberry-rhubarb small batch recipe. YUM! can’t have too many jam/jelly/preserving resources!

  • Punk Domestics, Food in Jars and a variety of Web sites. Always looking for new and interesting combinations

  • Sometimes a book is grand enough just for the pictures it contains. 😉
    The Ball Blue Book is still my go-to for just about everything. Over the years, yes, I’ve learned a lot about how to vary things from “standard,” but most often I go to the BBB to get started.

  • Dinner tonight was courtesy of Smitten Kitchen (chicken gyro salad). I’m also a Simple Bites fan (Amy’s granola gets made pretty much every week), and like The Kitchn now and then. I find new places in your weekly round-up from around the web, and of course, Food in Jars is always inspiring.

  • Would love to have this book as I love preserving and I am always looking for blackberry recipes,also she is a fellow New Zealander,would love to support her

  • My favorite preserving recipes lately have been the tomato jam and spiced pear jam recipes that I found via you! I love these two, they always have a great reaction when I serve them to friends.

    For dinner lately I’ve been making a lot of variations on Buddha bowls – I guess I was inspired by Pinch of Yum!

  • Hi – I’m enjoying Anna Thomas’ new book: Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore. Great recipes that are well-written and adaptable. Thanks for introducing us to this new resource for canning & jamming.

  • My inspiration this year has come from your blog, Food in Jars. I love being able to make small batches so I can have a lot of different flavor with out committing a lot of time on any given day. I made oven roasted apricot butter last weekend and am in love with the technique. I plan on trying it this weekend using figs from our tree.

  • I love food in jars for inspiration in canning. Unfortunately I do t have the time and energy to experiment a lot with recipes for daily dinner. Hope that will change soon! At least I make time for canning though!

  • Definitely Food in Jars. The spicy tomato jam and all the rhubarb recipes get rave reviews from all who try them!

  • I get some good ideas from Heidi Swanson and her blog and her books, Super Natural Cooking. Also, we have an amazing farmer’s market in Takoma Park Maryland on Sundays – wide array of farmers selling all kinds of fruits in season, breads, cheeses, eggs, meat and even pickles and sauerkraut. I try to cook and can with whatever is freshest that week. I also have a small organic garden and that inspires me too. Right now, the peas are ready. Nothing like fresh peas in a salad. Or a recent recipe I saw for a fresh pea and ricotta breakfast tart. Yummm.

    This book looks fascinating – I agree – recipes I have never seen before. Lovely.

  • For canning recipes, Food in Jars for sure. For cooking, I like Mel Joulwan’s site for Well Fed.

  • Gotta say Food In Jars is my go-to, but I’ve branched out to others such as The Home Preservation Bible, Put ‘Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton and of course the Ball Book of Canning and the Ball Blue Book! All great volumes that I turn to. And some great internet sources as well!

  • I just bought Naturally Sweet Food in Jars because my granddaughter really doesn’t tolerate sugar. I’ve also used my well worn copies of Putting Food By and Stocking Up for 40+ years.

  • “The Complete Book of Pickles and Relishes” has been quite the inspiration for preserving lately. For dinner, it’s all the greens I’ve got in the fridge and garden that keep inspiring me to try new things with them.

  • Both online sources BuzzFeed and Dinner At The Zoo!!! Lots of quick, healthy and one-pot dinners :)))

  • Food in Jars Naturally Sweet – really like the recipes!; Ellie Kreiger for healthy cooking; Nancie McDermott for Asian recipes

  • Youtube Cooking Channels have given me a lot of inspiration for new recipes and then a favorite cooking show, Farmhouse Rules. Thank you!

  • I’ve been looking at both “Food in Jars” and “Canning Granny” websites, in addition to searching the web when I have a lot of some kind of ingredient

  • I used to depend on the Ball canning book but once I purchased “Food in Jars”, my favorite has changed. Thank you

  • Appreciate the tip that the canning method is not as thorough as in an American book…good to know. I’ve been finding all sorts of recipe from Aimee Bourque’s Brown Eggs and Jam Jars cookbook. Just fantastic. I’m making strawberry jam this weekend as my first canning project!

  • Your wonderful “Preserving by the Pint”, Marisa, and of course the “Food in Jars” blog. That apricot/strawberry jam looks amazing! I must try it!

  • I am just loving your Food in Jars blog; I also read “the kitchn” for inspiration, and America’s Test Kitchen is always good for learning why recipes work when they do.

  • I love your Food in Jars books, I have several favorites that I make year after year ever since getting “Food in Jars” as a gift back in 2013! This books sounds amazing, I would be thrilled to win, I am always seek new and unique things to bring the harvest into the colder months! thanks so much for all your work!


  • I like the idea of the “modern preserver” in this day and age! How exciting for new takes and inspirations. I’m currently obsessively preserving from your natural sweeteners book but could definitely make time for some lime/saffron jelly!

  • honestly, your blog is my go to, especially as canning season is starting to ramp up! I’ve got another case of fruit coming from my co-op this weekend!

  • Growing up a grandmother and mother who loved to can everything from fruit to vegetables – even meat (my grandma canned a mean hunk o’beef…they were beef farmers) I swore I’d never do any canning…having spent many hours scrubbing cucumbers!! BUT now I’m an avid gardener and with the help of my darling hubby we took the plunge and started doing some canning – starting with strawberry jam…now on to many different types of pepper jams and last year – our apricot trees from our yard (yes, you can grow apricots in Minnesota) – we made some awesome apricot jam and apricot jalapeno jam (my adult sons are always raiding the pantry for it). Can’t wait for retirement to I can do more canning and preserving for my family!!

  • I’ve been inspired by the NY Times cooking newsletter. Especially Sam Sifton’s encouragement to make Wednesdays no-recipe nights. I’m a recipe junkie, but I want to get better at cooking with what I have on hand.

  • I’ve just started to use Pomona’s Pectin so I’ve been inspired by their canning cookbook. Would love to try out this book!

  • Right now I am loving the food documentaries that are airing on Netflix. Mainly “Mind of a Chef” and “Chef’s Table”. I find chef Magnus Nilsson incredibly inspiring in his ultra local attitude towards food. He tries to make each guest to his restaurant experience the place they are in by the food they are eating. This attitude leads him to preserve food and think of unique flavours for the long winter months.

    Modern Preserver looks amazing! I feel the same as you – I’ve been preserving food for a while now so when someone comes up with something fresh it is very exciting!

  • For canning projects, I have several recipes marked in each of your 3 books. Our grocery store has stopped carrying the relish he likes, so I have marked a few to try. For general cooking, I’ve also been impressed with the New York Times “Cooking” blog.

  • Marisa, your pickling adventures lead me to the pickled garlic scapes recipe. I’m waiting the week to try them. We are pretty excited.

  • Tart and Sweet has been a recent source, though I’ve yet o page through your latest, Marisa, so I’m sure I’ll be making something from that soon enough!

  • I have food in jars and preserving by the pint. I also have two ball blue books that I use for recipes and canning times. The fresh preserving web site can also be useful

  • You have been my main inspiration…
    However, I have been very interested in making jams,jellies and such with less sugar!
    So I turned to pomona pectin cook book!
    I also have started to pickle! Ferment your vegetables has taken the fear out of pickling!

  • I’ve been using your books “preserving by the pint” and “food in jars”, I’ve checked them out from the library so many times and have now added them to my wedding registry. Thank you for the wonderful books, they are very much appreciated!

  • My inspiration lately is not a specific recipe. I just moved into a new house, so instead my inspiration is figuring out how to still preserve with an electric stove!!!!

  • Hi Marissa,

    I recognize that I am referencing an old post but my question is specific to this book. I am stumped at the lack or rather the absence of processing instructions.. its basically fill the jars and seal.Now I am an absolute beginner when it comes to canning (your book, blog and the Ball book are my go tos for now) and am not sure how to proceed. I am wondering if you used some of these recipes and/or could provide some guidance please?
    Is there a reference that you can point me toward where I can cross check against for processing times? For e.g. – should all jams and jellies be processed for 10 mins in at sea level (1/2 and 1 pint jars)? what about chutneys ? I understand that this may be a rather vague and open ended question and my apologies for the same but am pretty stuck. I love the idea of the two toned jam, but want to make sure I am preserving them correctly.

    thanks so much and congratulations on your beautiful babies.

    1. This a British book and they have different standards when it comes to preserving food. Typically jams and jellies are processed for 10 minutes, and chutneys typically need 15-20 minutes. The best thing to do is go to,, or come here and search for similar recipes from which you can get an understanding of the necessary processing time. I hope that helps!

  • Marissa

    Thanks so much for your response. I recognize that this is a busy time for you so you taking the time to respond is so much appreciated. I’ll look for similar recipes on your recommended sites and process accordingly.

    So there should not be concerns about the actual proportions of the ingredients for food safety – right? It’s just the processing methodology that is different?

    Also (last question – I promise ????) I am really really excited to try the two tone jam in the book (just seems like a different presentation) . In that case is it ok to layer and can 2 high acid jams in the same canning jar as presented in the book?

    Thanks again for being so gracious with your time. I’ve just caught the canning bug but the excitement to can everything is certainly being tempered with not wanting to make anyone sick.

    1. Whether high or low in sugar, jams are typically processed for ten minute. And as long as it’s a high acid recipe, it should be okay to process. And the two-toned jam should be safe to process, but the colors might bleed in the process.