Cookbooks – Smoke & Pickles

June 29, 2013(updated on October 3, 2018)

Smoke & Pickles cover

Back in the late winter and early spring, when I was still in the drafting stage of my new book, I had a hard time reading anyone else’s food writing. I’d occasionally flip through review copies and look at the recipe headings, but I couldn’t make myself focus on the words. For a girl who often reads cookbooks like novels, it was a strange time.

Smoke & Pickles spine

One of the books that arrived during this period of distraction was Edward Lee’s Smoke and Pickles. I knew it was going to be exactly the kind of thing I would love and so didn’t even so much as crack the spine until I had untangled my brain enough to give it the attention it deserved.

Smoke & Pickles table of contents

About a month ago, I finally pulled it off my towering stack of books and spent some time reading through the book. I was so glad I’d waited, because it turned out to be just as good and evocative as I’d hoped.

Pickles & Matrimony

I marked a bunch of recipes to try (focusing heavily on the section devoted to pickles) and moved it to the much smaller pile of books near the kitchen that are actually destined to be cooked from (my cookbook sorting system is the kind that looks like utter disorganization to anyone but me).

Four Seasons of Kimchi

I particularly liked the few pages devoted to the four seasons of kimchi. Though Lee admits that his first instinct is to associate kimchi with cabbage, he also states that over the years, he’s trained himself to think of kimchi as a verb. Just about anything can be kimchi-ed and he proves it with recipes for red cabbage bacon, green tomato, white pear, and spicy napa kimchis.

Smoke & Pickles rosemary pickled cherries

I was also taken by the recipe for pickled rosemary cherries. I’ve pickled cherries many times in the past, but have never thought to pop a stem of rosemary into the jar with the fruit. I thought it was brilliant and so took the recipe out for a spin. It wasn’t written for preserving and so I tweaked a few things to make it shelf stable (because this time of year, my fridge is positively bursting).

rosemary pickled cherries from Smoke & Pickles

The result is a pickled cherry that is herbaceous and tangy. It’s just the sort of thing that goes well with cheese and fatty cured meats. Get my adapted recipe after the jump!


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35 thoughts on "Cookbooks – Smoke & Pickles"

  • Love the new layout. It looks sleek, like a new car.
    And I’ll be back with cherries latter today, they are on sale at the market this week

    1. I clicked the image of the recipe in the book. Then clicked again to go to full screen, and ‘paused’ the flicker slideshow when it was zoomed in a little, to read it. Bit of a cheat but I managed, that way

  • Just so you know, the recipe doesn’t show in my browser. It says “Ingredients” and then a link for the plugin and then the comments.

  • Love this cookbook, one of my favorites of this summer! And a friend just gave me a sample of a nasturtium leaf kim-chi that he’s experimenting with…

  • I had the same issue with the recipe not loading. Although after dealing with 15 pounds of cherries this weekend, I might take a break for a few days. Among the recipes I used were your cherry butter & pickled sweet cherry recipes from your first book! They are big faves here.

  • This book sounds amazing–definitely need to get my hands on it! I am also having the recipe-loading issue everyone else has mentioned. I guess redesigns have their quirks, right? The site looks great!

  • Hey folks! So sorry about the missing recipe! It seems to be the only thing that got lost in the move to the new site last night. I’ve been away from my computer all day today so I haven’t been able to fix it. But I will soon, I promise! Thanks for understanding

  • Hey folks! So sorry about the missing recipe! It seems to be the only thing that got lost in the move to the new site last night. I’ve been away from my computer all day today so I haven’t been able to fix it. But I will soon, I promise! Thanks for understanding

  • Hey folks! So sorry about the missing recipe! It seems to be the only thing that got lost in the move to the new site last night. I’ve been away from my computer all day today so I haven’t been able to fix it. But I will soon, I promise! Thanks for understanding

  • If anyone could help, since Marisa, is busy. What would be the recommended bath bath time for pints of cherry syrup?

  • The cherries look delicious! I actually had a cherry-related question for you…last night I made the Cherries in Red Wine Syrup from your book. Everything went fine until I took them out of the canner…apparently some of the syrup had leaked. (The jars felt sticky and they left a ring of syrup on my kitchen towel). This morning I checked the seals (removing the rings and lifting by the lids) and they seem fine. I’m still worried because of the leakage after the processing though. Are they safe, or should I refrigerate them? Thanks!!

    1. That kind of slightly liquid loss is totally normal. As long as the seals are good, the jars are fine and shelf stable. Just remove the rings and give them a good wash before storing them away.

      1. Thanks so much! The seals still seem fine, I took the rings off and lifted them by the lids. There was some syrup residue inside the rings when I took them off, but I feel much better now. Thanks again!! I looove the book by the way!

  • I have had my eye on this book for ages! Also! I have a bucket of rosemary.. I may need to pickle up some cherries.. this recipe looks to be right up my alley!

  • These look great. What kind of cherries did you use? From the color, I’m guessing Bing, but thought I’d check first.

  • Pickled Rosemary Cherries sounds delicious. I have a question about the rice vinegar. The recipe uses rice vinegar. The rice vinegar that I find in the store has an acidity of 4.2%. USDA recommends vinegar with an acidity of 5%. Is the rice vinegar safe. Can you comment please.

    1. Benita, cherries are high acid fruits. You do want to use 5% vinegars when canning low acid foods, but the need to use a 5% vinegar becomes a non-issue when you’re pickling an already high acid food. They could be canned in water and they’d have the acid levels necessary for safety.

  • I made these over the weekend as my first canning experience. When I put them in my improvised canning pot for cooking, the water reached the level of the fruit but did not cover the entire jar. I used Weck jars and the seals held, the “lip” on the ring is turned down. Are these ok to store or should I eat them right away?

      1. You were absolutely right, Marisa!
        I ate them with a beautiful floral pecorino cheese from DiBrunos. They’re delicious right from the jar, too. Thanks for such a wonderful introduction to canning!

  • I know I’m late to the thread (I recently bought the book with leftover Christmas money!), so sorry in advance.

    I have a question: I see that you doubled the liquid and salt portions of the original recipe and tripled the sugar. How did you determine that the pH would be low enough for the recipe to be shelf stable?

    Lee has several pickle recipes that look pretty interesting (I’m thinking about spring/summer as a way to cope with the Philly snow this year), and I’d like to adapt them for the pantry.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Just curious- might there be a vinegar other than rice vinegar that would work in this recipe? Thanks from a Portland native. 🙂

  • looking forward to trying these this weekend, with the bounty of cherries i hope to bring home from the WF sale today. 🙂

  • Hi Marissa, these cherries look great and cannot wait to try them. Have you tried canning any of his other pickle recipes? Is the general rule, if using white or cider vinegar they will be shelf stable?

    I’m particularly interested in the Pineapple-Pickled Jicama. I would also like to try the Pickled Garlic and Bourbon Pickled Jalapenos, but am not sure if they are safe for water bath canning. What do you think?