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"

  • My recipe source for inspiration is my best friend who runs a small hobby farm and has been fermenting and pickling for years. I never get tired of picking her brain for ideas!

  • I’ve been on an Asian Pickles journey with Karen Solomon for a while. I never win anything and I have no self control when it comes to cookbooks, so I am sure I will end up with this one. I have had the same concerns about some of my other UK books, like River Cottage. Is the main difference process? What I am getting at is if acid is still considered the main factor in safety. I don’t have the same breadth of knowledge as you, so I get nervous when adapting recipes, but the three you have highlighted look very appealing, especially saffron-lime jelly!

  • My blog thread is my source for recipes at this point. After a small house fire all my cookbooks that usually inspire me are all packed away. The internet is my savior!

  • Every thing Sandor Katz talks about in The Art of Fermentation. We have a row of airlocked jars on the kitchen counter thanks to him 🙂

  • I got the most recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated, and I think I need to make all the recipes. Everything sounds good!

  • I get inspiration from so many places. I read Food Magazine and Bon Appetit which really helps me and of course, Pinterest and the good old www.

  • Right now, inspiration is coming from the farmer’s market with tried and true techniques. If I find something new I ask the farmer for suggestions.

  • Don’t know if you would call it inspiration exactly, but I’ve been thinking about your strawberry fig jam recipe from a few years ago. Almost fresh fig time again and I have a some still in the freezer, strawberries too. Think it is time to do a clean out and make something really yummy. Would be interesting to see a canning book from another country. We all have our differences in cuisine that make for some fun things to try.

  • On the couch right now are Put ’em Up, Preserving with Pamona’s, Well Preserved and both of your books. I pick strawberries and Dad’s out of home canned jam! This book sounds stuffed full of inspiration!

  • My friend’s copy of Company’s Coming Preserve cookbook is a huge inspiration especially now that I have my own garden to preserve from.

  • Since its strawberry season I have been jamming and freezing and making everything I can think of.

  • Ohhh! I want this!

    Vegetarian cooking for everyone, is the cookbook most inspiring me lately. I love how simple the recipes pretend to be and then the results just shine! Makes me love cooking again. Having hungry toddler and baby crying for food while cooking certainly removed the joy of it for a long while.

  • Thanks for your honest review! My source lately has been America’s Test Kitchen. I am awaiting the berries to come in to start canning jam….

  • I am reading the Art of Fermentation as well and I have to say I am finding it quite inspiring. I wasn’t even that interested in fermentation before but now I can’t wait for the cabbage and the veggies to come in at the farmer’s market so I can give it a whirl. And every recipe you mentioned in this review sounds enticing…I’m definitely going to check this book out. Thanks.

  • I’ve been leafing through Nigel Slater’s kitchen diaries a lot lately, and looking at the Food52 (not)recipes app. It’s casual, just a few sentences and loose measurements recipes that are inspiring me right now.

  • My source right now is garden. I’m starting to harvest more and more and that is what is inspiring meals around here! I need to pull out Simply in Season again as it is so great for the different seasons!

  • I’m inspired by using herbs in every possible thing right now. The newest addition to my cookbook collection is “Wild Drinks and Cocktails” by Emily Han and it’s so wonderful.

  • I’m most likely to look thru my own collection of cookbooks for inspiration. A favorite is Notes from a Country Kitchen by Jocasta Innes. It dates back to 1979 but has chapters on brewing, baking, preserving, cheesemaking and all those other back-to-the-land skills that are coming back into vogue yet again.

  • My all-time favorite recipes have always been from Southern Living. I’ve made (& remade) more of their recipes than from any other source.

  • Right now it’s Food in Jars, specifically the cherry butter recipe as I have loads of cherries to put up! This looks like an amazing book for more inspiration.

    Her plant based recipes and flavor profiles are a good fit with my CSA at the moment.

  • Mes Confitures, by Christine Ferber, when I’m up for a multi-day project; Preserving by the Pint when I want to get something put up quickly, and NW Edible Life’s chart of flavor combinations when I’m feeling creative. Right at the moment I’m trying to remember the proportions of a cherry-blueberry jam I made last summer.

  • My garden and all of its herbs and veggies are inspiring me, I can’t wait for the season ahead! This cookbook looks lovely, thank you for highlighting it!k

  • Now that the summer vegetables are starting to roll in, I’ve been returning to the book from which I first learned to cook 20 years ago: Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Love the vegetable recipes in this book.

  • It’s quite common in books from other countries to not have as many how-to directions. I’ve found that in knitting and crocheting books as well; they expect the readers to already be familiar with the basics.

    I get a lot of inspiration from I love J. Kenji López-Alt’s nerdy and enthusiastic science approach with results that taste fabulous.

  • Since berries are ripe and ready I have been making jams and jellies. I have been using some different ideas and cookbooks from the local library, including your food in jars that I am reading right now.

  • Blogs and Pinterest are my main sources of inspiration. The photos are always so enticing and inspire me to try new things.

  • As others have said, the Art of Fermentation (again), I can open to any page and find something. Oh, and Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, just picked up a copy!

  • This time of year, I like to turn to Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy for her light but creative touch with summer produce.

  • It’s actually been this website! I just made the zucchini fridge pickles (with some modifications), mint simple syrup, rhubarb orange butter and rhubarb rosemary jam.

  • Aside from you, it’s been the mexicoinmykitchen blog. You both have the feature, that you can search for recipes by ingredient. It helps so much this time of year when the garden starts and the rest of the year when you’re using up your canned and frozen items. She also inspired me to start making my own fresh cheese!

  • This book sounds like great inspiration. And who needs direction? We just go to your blog if we need help!

  • I get A lot of inspiration from blog sites along with cookbooks by my favorite authors
    Thank you for this giveaway opportunity

  • My go to book is the ball blue book. It isn’t modern in that new canning combinations are featured but it is all business. I also have your book that I picked up in maine

  • My current favorite is vanilla strawberry low sugar book And pickled strawberries from one of your book.

  • Now that the strawberries are here, I’m flipping through all my canning books. Yours are my general staples, and then I flip through others to supplement. I really love Batch because of their many uses for all parts of the fruits and vegetables, and the many methods they offer for each.

  • I haven’t tried to can very many things yet: tomatoes, peaches, applesauce and a flop of an attempt at strawberry jam … BUT … Friday I am taking a class from Fairfax county, Virginia on jams. Yay!

  • I’m a big Punk Domestics fan. So many great ideas are well organized and easily accessible on their site!

  • My inspiration comes from this blog or one of the three books I have authored by Marisa. I have made many many of her jams and chutneys. I was lucky and landed on this web site over a year ago.

  • All of your books inspire me. I recently bought the America’s Test Kitchen, “Foolproof preserving” .
    I love this blog, too.

  • I have been on a baking kick lately. My go to place for new recipies has been Sally’s baking addiction or I am baker. I love those two blogs.

  • Looks lovely! A recipe that is on heavy rotation here is FLUFFERNUTTER! I know it’s very basic but, it’s nostalgic and with the kids being done school, it just brings me (and them) a simple joy. 🙂

  • I really love the River Cottage cookbooks, particularly their Preserves Handbook. Since they’re from the UK, they recipes often have a different flavor profile than i’m used to and so far, I haven’t made one that the family hasn’t liked.

  • I have gotten a lot of ideas from a wonderful New Zealand magazine called Dish. I first picked it up on a trip and have returned to the web site as well. A friend subscribed…it is pricey to deliver in U. S., but I may subscribe as well.

  • I have been using Katie Workman’s two cookbooks for some new ideas lately. And yesterday I received Naturally Sweet Food in Jars si want to try several recipes from that as produce comes available.

  • Your blog is my inspiration for creative canning. Thank you for keeping it fresh and always interesting.

  • My x mother in law had a huge garden and was forever canning something. She was a fabulous cook. Most of my recipes for canning come from her and an old book called Pickles and Preserves by Marion Brown, I think from 1960 { I’ve forgotten how to read roman numerals ]. It also has recipes for relishes, chutneys, fruit butters, pickled meats, mincemeats, ketchup, sauces and candied fruit. I inherited my husbands aunt Mildreds wonderful recipe for green tomato/raisin mincemeat [ I can 4 jars a year] it is so good. I’m stuck in a rut canning the same old things. I need this book for inspiration.

  • I really love the NYT Cooking app. I get emails during the week from Sam Sifton with curated recipes and I have yet to not love one of them! Of course, any time I want to can something, the Food in Jars recipe index is my first go-to!

  • I don’t think I have a specific recipe inspiration right now… I’m inspired by all the lovely fresh fruit down at my local market. After realizing just how much jam my daughter eats via PB&J, I want to make sure she has the best jam available.

  • I have a quinoa salad recipe that I’ve used as inspiration – it’s morphed into couscous salad, chickpea salad, rice salad…

  • Your blog is where I find most of my canning inspiration, although sometimes I’ll see an interesting recipe In a magazine.

  • There have been some good cooking programs about canning and preserving on my local PBS channels lately.
    Americas test kitchen and The Victory Garden to name two. Also my Taste of Home magazines are a great source.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Lately, I’ve been loving “The Kitchen” on food network. Particularly, Geoffrey Zacharian’s recipes.

  • I love your new book but I also love Alice Waters “My Pantry” and “The Art of Simple Food”

  • I have been inspired by recipes in Vegan under Pressure by Jill Nussinow. And of course for this seasons canning your books and Mrs Wheeelbarrow’s.

  • I pick one ingredient or type of jam process, marmalade this year, for jam making and thoroughly investigate recipes on the internet from which to make jam. Because of this, I really appreciate your comments about “canning best practices”.

    The book you are giving looks very creative and interesting because of it’s foreign influence. I hope whoever wins it thoroughly enjoys it !

  • I’ve been digging through some of my oldies-but-goodies, like various editions of Joy of Cooking and The Vegetarian Epicure. Not preserving recipes, but good for fresh-from-the-garden dinners!

  • Right at the moment, I’ve been reading the Hunter/Angler/Gardener/Cook blog, as a ton of stuff in the Pacific Northwest is ready for foraging. This weekend I’m picking green walnuts at a friend’s place for making Shaw’s walnut ketchup (and some nocino!).

  • I moved to a new city several months ago that has an amazing public library system. My inspiration lately have come from their huge selection of cookbooks.

  • I get my canning inspiration from a variety of sources – cookbooks, websites, etc. I find myself referring to Food in Jars very often. I’m always interested in new cookbooks.

  • I am an “apartment canner” so I’ve been loving Preserving by the Pint. I cna make preserves in a manner that doesn’t overfill my small space!

  • The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is my go-to for so many things. But I’m always on the look out for new ideas.

  • You have been my inspiration for jams, but for other baking fun, I’ve been onto the group, Vegan Meringue Hits & Misses!

  • David Lebowitz’s apricot jam recipe has gotten a lot of play in my kitchen this past 2 weeks of apricot season here in California!!

  • I follow a few food or beer related blogs, and usually find something I have to save to pinterest to pull up later (or occasionally make right away!). I also love paging through cookbooks to see what I find. The Flavor Bible has been great too, when I have some produce I haven’t used much before.

  • I’ve been making scones lately, accompanied by summer fruit.
    Cravings inspire me along with old cookbooks

  • Actually, a lot of inspiration has come from the links you’ve been posting. The ones I’ve tried have really hit the spot. I’m planning to make the rhubarb raspberry spread this weekend!

  • Your books are the best – I turn to your website every time I need a reference, but this book looks terrific!

  • My GARDEN! And the local organic farm down the road. It’s strawberry time and I’ve been looking at the ball canning book, jam on, and of course Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint for my inspiration for this year’s strawberry haul. Thinking about doing whole strawberries in vanilla syrup! Yum! Worth the time and effort I’m thinking.

  •! Also, The Moosewood (by Mollie Katzen) and Cabbage Town Cafe (by Julie Jordan) still make for a regular “go to” even thirty plus years later!

  • I just ate my first arugula salad of the year out of my own garden this morning, and I have cucumbers and beans coming in soon! During the growing season, I love In Season by Sarah Raven, which has really helped me attack the garden and farmer’s market, as well as the CSA basket the years I’ve been a member. I also frequent Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, which I reference when I want to mostly improvise the ingredients but bring in some element of classic technique or sauce.

  • I just purchased your latest book ( I now have all three) and the Cook’s Illustrated Foolproof preserving. Those plus Simple Bites blog and Brown Eggs and Jam Jars will do just fine for me…along with a few recipes that are 30-60 years old that I cannot imagine not in my pantry!

  • I like your classic Food in Jars, Canning For A New Generation, and of course always refer to . From a blog based here, Frugal Living NorthWest, I always make the no knead bread, perfect accompaniment for any jam I made

  • Old Amish recipe books! It’s easy to stumble upon them where I live (Maryland), and it’s fun adapting old comfort food with modern flavors.

  • Cookery books from
    Diana Henry and Yo-
    tam Ottolenghi

    (after I typed my answer with normal line breaks, I noticed that it’s kind of a haiku — that must be extra-lucky).

  • my recent recipe inspiration has stemmed from a craving for Indian food (and a seeming lack of good sources for Indian recipes, although I recently listened to a Local Mouthful episode where you mentioned an Indian cookbook you and Joy examined — I have yet to look it up), my husband’s recent diet restrictions, and what’s growing at the moment. this book looks gorgeous. xo

  • My own collection of cookbooks! I moved recently and made some tough decisions about what to keep on my shelf. I kept cookbooks I’ve never used, so I’m going through them to see if they deserve space on the shelf. I just made a variation on tagliatelle with walnuts and lemon from “Plenty More” by Yotam Ottolenghi, and I have seven more recipes bookmarked. I’m also making decisions based on what’s growing in my garden. I don’t really know how to garden, but I have dumb-lucked my way into an embarrassment of riches in the form of rainbow chard, lettuces, and herbs.

  • Since I love entering preserved food at the State Fair, I am taking inspiration from books written by Linda J. Amendt as she is one of the judges at our fair. Only a few weeks to go until my blue ribbons….hopefully….!