Cookbooks: Saving the Season

July 21, 2013(updated on October 3, 2018)

Saving the Season

I discovered Kevin West’s beautiful blog, Saving the Season, soon after he started writing it in 2009. I was only a handful of months into this canning blogging gig myself and appreciated knowing that there was someone else out there with similar tendencies towards large scale fruit purchases (Local Kitchen and Hungry Tigress also appeared around the same time and gave me equal comfort).

Saving the Season

Now Kevin’s book is available and I couldn’t be more pleased to add it to my shelf of canning volumes. Also called Saving the Season, it is gorgeous, hefty and impressively comprehensive.

Saving the Season

The recipes are written in a tone that is clear, cool, and welcoming. There are more steps and stages than in the recipes I tend to write, but that is to their benefit. I have a nasty habit of streamlining things for results that are perfectly fine. Kevin’s recipes shoot for preserve perfection.

Saving the Season

This is a text heavy book and it’s as much as joy to read as it is to cook from. Recipes come with stories and heritage. It is not something you want to scan quickly, but instead should be taken slowly and with great pleasure. It’s one that I predict will yield fresh inspiration for many seasons to come.

Saving the Season

There are tales of his produce road trips and the canning he’s done in borrowed kitchens, along with photos of his quiet adventures. Makes me think that I’ve not done nearly enough traveling and canning.

Saving the Season

The photography is both spare and incredibly appealing. Just look at that cauliflower. I also appreciate the sentiment in the first line of the headnote for his curried cauliflower pickle. He says, ” There should be more cauliflower pickles.” Kevin, I couldn’t agree more.

Saving the Season

My only complaint about this book is that is has just a hint of text book. The cover reminds me ever so slightly of my 8th grade biology book and the interior photos are disappointingly small. I can’t help but find myself wishing that its design was as lush and generous as the stories and recipe it contains.

That said, I still recommend it entirely without reservation. It should be on the reference shelf of all home canners.

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7 thoughts on "Cookbooks: Saving the Season"

  • Funny, I love the textbook-ness of it – appeals to the inner student in me I guess. I’m reading it now after buying it earlier in the week. I didn’t start with reading it though; I bought blackberries that day as well so instantly made the blackberry jam before doing anything else. Nothing like just making something to give the book a spin, yes? I’m really liking it so far. Especially all the literary references. (That student just won’t go away.)

    Also – have to say, Marisa – I ADORE your book. Have made many things from it in the past month (the garden is going a little nutty) and I actually had to go out an buy those tape flag thingies so I could mark all the things I still want to make. (VERY curious about the Cantaloupe Jam – and have about 20 melons ripening in the garden – bonus!) The Peach Butter and Tomato Jam are divine and I’m diving into Lemon Curd (a family favorite – we’ve just moved back to CA after 10 years in England so we’re pretty au fait with the curd) and various blueberry things tomorrow.

    One of these days I guess I should write about this stuff on my sadly out of date blog! But for now, I’ll just read yours and cook out of your divine book. Thanks for writing it!

  • I too love the text bookness of this book. I am trying to slow down on my book buying so I “tried” to avoid the purchase, I waited patiently – months in fact for the book to arrive in our local library. I was one of the first people in the hold line. I was so excited when I got the email saying it had arrived and would be held for one week. Bah, who were they kidding I raced over there that afternoon and then sat in the parking lot looking it over. I was not home 25 minutes before I sat down and ordered a copy. It had to be mine and now it is. I just love the stories and the intimate look at many things I have never heard of or seen preserved as well as all my favorites. Yes indeed it deserves a place on every canners bookshelf!

  • It is a little textbook-y. But I actually like that about it. It’s so solid. It’s also the first cookbook in a long time that I sat down and actually read cover to cover. I think that part of the reason that I find is so appealing is all of the extra information in it. A lot of the recipes I would make are close enough to recipes I already use that I don’t really need another source for them, but all of the other added info makes it invaluable-like the fact that fermenting foods tend to go murky. I would have dumped an entire gallon of pickles had I not read this book. it’s definitely got a place in my kitchen as a reference piece as well as just a gorgeous book.

  • My recipe source – my great grandmother’s recipe box and late 1800’s early 1900’s cookbooks – pricessless!!

  • Hello, I love this cookbook and the stories he shares along the way. I also had beloved grandparents who lived on a farm and grew a big garden. I have made several of Kevin’s recipes with success but have a question about the bread and butter pickles recipe on page 145. There appears to be an error where the ingredients list indicates 1 cup of water where the text says to dissolve the salt in 1 gallon of water. Big difference! Do you have any suggestions? I compared the recipe with others from Betty Crocker and Southern Living but hoped that someone had already asked my question.
    Thanks for your review. As a former college biology person, I especially like the text book feel, and thorough explanations, ha ha!

  • Thank you
    Although I certainly love your book I just happen to come across Saving the Season oddly from reading a decorating book!
    I’m truly enjoying his book.
    Kevins style is similar to a dear favorite of mine Laurie Colwin .. Home Cooking.
    Just made strawberry jam
    Looking forward to some peach preserves soon.

    1. I love Laurie Colwin’s work! Kevin’s book is wonderful. There’s plenty of space in the world for different cookbooks!