Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon

April 16, 2010(updated on October 11, 2018)

One of the things that I’ve found most delightful about the growing hand-made, do-it-yourself trend has been the number of downright lovely books that have accompanied it. My favorite, which hit stores about this time last year, is Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon.

This is a fantastic book for the folks who really want to begin to break away from the grocery store, but need a little bit of help making the transition. I’m particularly partial to the Rosemary and Olive Oil cracker recipe Karen included (Erin blogged about it here, if you want to see pictures and peek at the recipe).

Karen’s instructions are crystal clear and the book is full of great projects for anyone who wants to expand their kitchen ambitions.

This post was originally a giveaway, but I’ve edited it to remove the giveaway language because I wanted to simply have a page dedicated to Karen’s lovely book.

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380 responses to “Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon”

  1. I have been wanting to get started canning for a long time. With summer just around the corner, I think now’s the time. I’ll probably get this book whether I win it or not!

  2. I really love the first time I canned applesauce… my first canning. So cool to have a day-long outing of farm-picking, apple peeling, cooking, canning, sweating… and at the end to have good friends and delicious appley goodness. I’d love that book!

  3. I am hoping that 2010 will be the year that I jump on the canning bandwagon. I bought jars and pickling seasoning a couple of years ago and a canning book but have yet to get the gumption to do it myself. I love your blog and it helps me see that anything is possible!

  4. I look at your blog all the time, but have yet to can anything. I made butter for the first time in Kindergarten for a Thanksgiving feast we were having. I remember it quite distinctly, sitting in a circle, shaking the jar with a marble in it. This past fall I wanted to create that memory for other kids and we made butter in the afterschool group that I lead. The kids were shocked at how good the butter tasted and keep asking to make more.

  5. I have been making homemade tomato sauce the past few years! can’t wait til my garden gets going this year!

  6. last year I canned for the first the time. Bought a serious load of beets and made some delicious batch of pickled beets. Although the beets could be a little bit sweeter… So definitely I will be canning this year! Now what crops shall I plant in our new veggie garden:-)

  7. My husband and son are into canning. They grow it then can it. This book would be fun.Last year their pickels and applesauce turned out great. Thanks for your site.

  8. Love your blog, Marisa! I’m a longtime reader, but first time commenter.

    Last year I started making my own granola, which I eat every morning with Greek yogurt. I think this year I’ll have to try making my own yogurt!

  9. When I was 11 years old I went to summer camp for a week. We made strawberry jam. Before that, I never knew jam was something you could make yourself!

  10. I was so inspired by the Little House in the Big Woods when I was 9 that I begged my mum to buy some cream which I promptly turned into butter.

  11. When I was in my junior year of college, I had a January term where I only worked about 4 hours a day. I was bored off my rocker, so I tried my hand at making bread. I was surprised at how easy and how fun it was!

  12. The first thing I canned was peaches in syrup, after discovering that a nearby farmer’s market had the most delicious sweet peaches I could ever remember tasting. That was the summer of ’07, and I did apple butter in the fall. I took 2008 off from canning to prepare for a move that never happened, and went all out in 2009 with james, pickles, salsa, butters, and ketchup! Can’t wait to see what 2010 brings.

  13. Last Fall I made my own pumpkin puree. Then I made apple butter for Christmas. Nothing compares to making something with your own hands. Now I just have to wait for the produce to start rolling in to do some more experimenting.

  14. I’ve started making my own salad dressing (Lemony shallot) and I find it so much more refreshing (and inexpensive!). I would love to make more from scratch, I just get nervous. 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. this looks like a fantastic book! not sure why I’ve never heard of it. I love to figure out how to make EVERYTHING! most recently it’s been Lara Bars 🙂

  16. I made pickles once- they turned out alright I guess, not enough crunch for me though. That was years ago… these days I feel I don’t have enough time to make things like bread, pickles, jams, etc regularly though I wish I could! Also, I live with three other girls so space is a bit of an issue in our fridge 🙂

  17. Last summer was the first time I’d ever canned anything on my own. I helped my grandparents when they would can peaches, pears, plums and anything else that wasn’t nailed down, but I’d never done it on my own. Last summer I canned two tiny jars of dill pickles (and they’re might tasty), and made apple butter and blueberry preserves for Christmas presents. And being the good friend I am, I got over my distaste for brussel sprouts and made pickled brussel sprouts for my best friend. I loved hearing about how people loved the gifts and how good they tasted. I just opened my peach preserves last week; they got me in the mood for summer stone fruits. Knowing that I did it myself made them taste all the sweeter.

  18. The first thing I ever made was either apple sauce or marmalade. It’s hard to remember now, even though it was only last Fall (2009). I have made both many times since then. My family especially likes my apple sauce with vanilla bean. And, I eat my marmalade for breakfast most days. I have given a lot away as gifts too, and have gotten great reviews. Yesterday I tried a recipe for pickled asparagus (purchased at the opening day of the local farmer’s market). I’m waiting about a week, for the flavors to meld, before we eat it. I sure hope that it is tasty!

  19. Garlic-dill pickles! I had never even seen canning before, but I took a class on pickling for the fun of it, and I’ve been canning ever since.

  20. The first thing I made/canned was Red/Green Bell pepper relish. It turned out so well that I was shocked. It was a great Christmas present. It’s been several years since the last time I made the recipe. Maybe this summer?

  21. The first time I made anything from scratch, it was a berry pie. At the time I worked for a cold storage facility and one of my accounts was a fruit producer. They ‘gifted’ a gigantic box of frozen boysenberries to me that I had no idea what to do with. I shared some with the other ladies in the office, and the rest I took home. That weekend I made a passable pie crust but was lost when it came to the filling… everything i read on berry pies gave different instructions and measurements. Some said lots of sugar, some only a little, some included flour or corn starch, some not. I finally just sort of averaged out the amounts of berry vs sugar between a few recipes, threw a crumb topping on it and into the oven and hoped for the best. It was, hands down, the most amazing pie I’ve ever had… it was just sweet enough and the berry filling held together like a dream, so when you cut a piece, it didn’t run all over. And of course, since I didn’t follow a particular recipe, I have never to this day been able to reproduce that pie!!! I have, however, developed a love of trying my hand at making things from scratch in hopes of another berry pie success. 🙂

  22. Last summer I made jam for the first time and I was blown away — it’s easy to make and *so* much tastier than the stuff you buy. I can’t eat store bought anymore 😉

  23. I guess I fall into the category of “what’s holding you back”? I am very interested in this topic because I have a son with a gazillion food allergies, so I have to read labels very carefully. But I’m kind of reluctant to start–I don’t know why . . . still I read your blog regularly.

  24. I canned for the first time this past fall (and I was brave enough to give the chutney as gifts!). It was a lot of fun and I’d like to do more…

  25. I started making homemade marmalade last year and it is AMAZING and surprisingly uncomplicated.

    Also, this Easter a friend and I made homemade Peeps – it was hard to get them into the right shape (they were vaguely Peep-shaped blobs), but homemade marshmallows were certainly better tasting than the pre-packaged ones.

  26. Hi Marisa!

    You probably remember the first time I canned because I had to e-mail you and ask you about a million questions about my seals, etc! Well my first foray was in pickles and peaches. For the peaches I took a recipe I had found online for brandied peaches and modified it to use gin, since I have a family friend who makes a delicious fresh version. Recently I wanted to gift a jar of the peaches for a friend’s birthday, but I was reluctant to give out my VERY FIRST canning project without trying it myself. I turned another jar from the batch into a peach cobbler and it was phenomenal. Not only were my freshly canned peaches better in the recipe than the usual grocery store kinds, but the gin gave the cobbler this amazing “what is this?” kick. Such a huge success that I had made it enough times to run right out of peaches!!! Will be canning a HUGE batch this summer.

    Thanks so much,
    Safieh

  27. I learned to make yogurt when my first child was born…..ages (29 years) ago. What a freeing experience!!! I moved onto never purchasing a jar of baby food and making homemade bread. I am now back to canning with a vengeance: pickles, jelly, jam, veggies and fruit butters (pear=YUMMY!). I plan to try even more this summer. Would love a book like this.
    Thanks,
    Becky

  28. I think homemade applesauce was the first thing I tried. And I was so worried about a worm in the apples that I cut them into much smaller pieces than I really needed to (never did find any worms). I’m not sure I’d ever go back to the store-bought kind.

  29. I made my first attempt at jamming a few weeks ago with Strawberry Jam. With tips from sites such as yours, I think I’m ready to step it up a notch. I recently helped my grandmother incorporate fresh herbs, fruits and veggies as part of an extremely low sodium diet and becuase of this we were able to make salad dressings together and really enjoyed ourselves. I would love to be able to share this book with her (minus salt cured items of course)for us to be able to spend more time together creating!

  30. I constantly challenge myself to make things I’ve previously only bought. I made mustard for the first time ever this year. I thought it was insanely hot. Way too hot to ever eat. I was sad and disappointed. Then my husband discovered it and raves about it. I found after a few weeks the flavor had mellowed and was amazing. Also, not food, but I just learned how to sew my own bra and underwear.

    I also like to look at things that are in cans in the store. If they are in cans there, I should be able to can them at home. Granted some things may require the use of a pressure canner. I just like imagining what it’d be like to make some of those things myself.

  31. My first foray into canning was making blueberry preserves. Every summer, I go visit my dad and we spend a day picking wild blueberries. Since they’re only available once a year, I had to try something besides freezing them!

  32. my first canning adventure was crushed tomatoes from the excess of my dad’s garden! they were delicious. i don’t live near enough to him now to take advantage of the excess…i miss it. we do visit our local pick-your-own orchard throughout the summer for fruit for homemade jams. equally as delicious.

  33. I had my first experience with canning last summer. I made my grandma’s recipe for zucchini relish with zucchini from our garden.

  34. I’ve began cooking the meals for my family when I was 11 years old, so the first thing is long lost to memory. I have been making jam for a few years, but your web site inspired me to make my first marmalade and pickles. I’ve been having a blast and I have so much product I’m planning to build storage in my basement. Thanks for this great site!

  35. I don’t remember the first time I made something from scratch in terms of canning. Truth is, I’m more of an “in-the-moment” cook, and canning requires planning…and patience. What I remember most about canning was how much my mom loved it. She canned everything that came out of her garden, and she loved both gardening and canning very much. I can’t look at a home canned good without thinking about her and how much love she packed into every jar.

  36. I don’t remember the first time — we did it a lot in my house growing up. I know I’m always amazed when other folks don’t realize you can make most things from scratch. I haven’t done much canning on my own — I’d love to start.

  37. I’m growing cucumbers (just the everyday variety). But I heard that I won’t be able to pickle them…that I’ll need to grow pickling cucumbers. Does anyone know if that’s true? Thanks and thanks for a great blog!!

  38. I hate store bought salad dressing…so I have been making my own and LOVING it…and it is so easy!!! The cookbook looks amazing!! Thanks!

  39. The first time I ever made anything from scratch was the asparagus pickles you posted about a year ago. I made them and they were sooooo good. It started a fire in me. I am so appreciative of this web site, and your lovely posts. Viva la canning!

  40. Nut butters!! I adore peanut butter, always have. About a year ago, I dawned on me that I could make my own peanut butter to my exact taste after recently purchasing a food processor. Unfortunately my first batch was a disaster as I over-salted it. However, I have been happily making my own nut butters – almond, peanut, cashew, etc. – ever since.

  41. I have done canning and freezing and preserving, but last night for the first time I made homemade granola bars! Hope they pass the taste test with the kids!

  42. Knowing last summer was my last chance to really overacheive at gardening before returning to the workforce and under the influence of a book very similar to Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, I planted whatever I wanted in a huge garden. Starting with a spring Vadalia Onion Relish, through the early summer white wine pickled chinese pea pods, through the beautiful collections of zucchini and cucumber relishes and pickles, and on to the end of season Basil Tomato Jam and pumpkin conserves, I gardened and canned and pickled and jarred through (I’d have to recount for sure) I think 56 batches of jarred goods. I used every jar I’d been collecting for 10 plus years and almost every jar gifted me from the cellar of our old farmhouse. I didn’t leave the yard or the house the entire summer! After gifting everybody I know with quarts of stuff(which I’m sure are still sitting in their pantries!) I still have a refrigerator and a cupboard full of jars! It was a major accoplishment, one I’m very proud of. Maybe I’d be better off not winning–I promised my family a trip to the lake this year!

  43. Well, I’ve never tried to pickle anything, but have been very interested in it for years. Just haven’t because of the fear of botulism 🙁 However, I have a house guest that is pickling eggs (with beets) in my fridge as I type this. So I’ve no idea how they’ll turn out. I am hopeful 🙂 Hoping to try bread and butter pickles this summer!

  44. I made mozzarella for the first time a few years ago and was amazed at how easy and how playing-with-a-chemistry-set FUN it was.

  45. One of the very first items I made from “scratch” was pasta. Even though I used store bought flour, eggs and olive oil, there was no escaping the feeling I got when I worked the dough on my counter. I especially like that my husband is always eager to help me guide the pasta through our hand crank pasta maker. Its so fun and romantic to be so close in the kitchen.

  46. The first thing I ever tried by myself was jam. So simple and good tasting! And it makes such wonderful gifts, especially when you’re a poor college student who can’t afford much. Now I don’t buy anything pre-made anymore. I love how good and easy my partner’s bagels are (he makes them once a week) and we’ve actually found a bread recipe that is fantastic even when we’re lazy and use the bread machine.

  47. I love to make things from scratch! I don’t recall my very first thing but one of my most memerable has been ice cream! It is so decadent and it always seems like such an accomplishment!

  48. The first time I made anything from scratch it was banana nut bread with my mother when I was much younger (5 or 6). She allowed me to complete every step solo- disastrous! I have since learned how to properly measure and guesstimate, and have a much better eye for baking 🙂

  49. Looks lovely. I want! 🙂 I think time is stopping me the most from jumping in. And that the whole process feels a bit overwhelming until you get the hang of it.

  50. The first thing I really remember making by myself was, of all things, bread. Yes, whole wheat honey bread. Kneading Rising and all that jazz. I don’t know why, but I got it into my head that I wanted to cook something. I was in High School and in the middle of a week long snow bread from school. I found a worn Gold Medal Flour paperback book, and skimmed through it. When I came upon the picture of the bread it took up almost a whole page and just looked so good and yummy I decided to try that. We had all the ingredients in the house. I followed all the instructions. The loaves turned out just as pretty as the picture. And when my mom came home and we cut into it, it tasted just as good as it looked. Boy was she surprised. She was also surprised the next day to come home to homemade White bread from the same book. Did I mention that each recipe made two whole loaves? I don’t remember us having much left over though. 🙂

  51. Lately I’ve really been into making easy sauces (like caramel and butterscotch) and jaring them up. And a few months ago I discovered how easy it is to make fresh buttermilk and creme fraiche, both of which I use to buy (almost weekly! for like $10!) and now I just make my own. My husband and I just moved to a new place where we can finally have a garden, so I plan to learn how to can & jam all summer. Would love a copy of this book! Saw it last time I was at Williams & Sonoma and loved it.

  52. When I used to live in Japan, I LOVED a drink they have everyhwere called “Iced Cocoa.” It’s kind of a glorified chocolate milk (or an iced hot chocolate), but much more cocoa-like. I absolutely loved it and one time I found a recipe (just milk sugar and cocoa) and made it for myself. I fell in love and soon I was making entire gallons at a time and storing it in the fridge for daily consumption!!

  53. I planted my first garden two weeks ago and can’t wait to get started canning…the problem is I have no idea where to begin. M

  54. I’ve always wanted to make my own mustard and ketchup, so even if I don’t win the giveaway, I think I’ll have to buy this book to get started!

  55. I made my own jam a year ago. And I’ll never look back. Smuckers? Yuck.

    My next thing to make? Butter. Oh yeah. I. Can’t. Wait.

  56. I have just started to jump start some canning and this book looks divine! I would LOVE to add it to my collection. thanks!

  57. Just recently I made American brown sugar from scratch because it’s a little tricky to find it here in Germany. I just mixed white sugar with molasses – easy peasy!

  58. I’ve been making yogurt, farmer’s cheese, chevre, ricotta, butter (with my new butter churn from lehman’s), jams, chutneys, pickles (just dilly beans successful so far- tricky!), etc. while having access to a milkable goat and a pressure canner (for soups, tomato sauces, and meats) has been a huge motivator, i think almost all of my experiments with making things from scratch are inspired by the enthusiasm of my new boyfriend dan (not so new now- it’s been a year and a half of cheese making bliss!). he’s so psyched to eat everything i make. it helps a lot.
    my new goal (for life) is to become as much like laura ingalls wilder and as little like paula dean as possible.

  59. The day I made my first jar of jam (strawberry) was the day I decided never to buy the store junk again. A couple of months ago, I made my own butter using leftover cream, and I was ridiculously excited to watch it solidify into creamy, buttery deliciousness.

  60. Oh, wow. I couldn’t even tell you the first thing I ever made instead of buying. My mother is a canner and baker and I (and my husband) went to The Culinary Institute of America so we’ve been doing homemade forever.

    My favorite homemade items though are pickles, flavored mayos, breads and the list goes on! I love making things for my family and NOT depending on the grocery store and the limited flavors and copious amounts of salt in everything!

    Great site! This is my first visit – I’ll be back!

  61. The first time I made bread instead of buying it was a revelation. That so little effort produced bread that was sooooo much better than those plastic bags full of squishy, plastic slices was unbelievable! Now I make all our bread. When I have to buy a loaf occassionally due to time constraints, I definitely get complaints from my husband.

  62. Can’t wait to pick up a copy of that book. I’ve been eyeing it for a while, and want it all the more after this post.

    I can’t remember the first from-scratch thing I’ve made, but I’ve got to tell you-

    Inspired by one of your old homemade butter posts, I made some last year in my mixer. Even with saran, there was wild splashing on the counter and floor. Stupidly, I didn’t check in the drawers under the counter. Two weeks later, I discovered that my drawer of misc tools, dishes, and other kitchen paraphernalia was covered in dried, rotted milk.

  63. I made blueberry syrup with blueberries my son and I picked at a local farm. I have my strawberries macerating to make your strawberry jam…can’t wait to taste it!

  64. Bread – and then pickles. It has been amazing to me realizing that there are things that really aren’t that much work to make that everyone buys. I want to do more pickled things, butter.

  65. That is so funny: I just checked this book out of the library today, and my first project from it is going to be the crackers.

    Long ago I started making mayo from scratch, and now I cannot think about buying the stuff in a jar — I’m not even sure what that stuff is. Anyway, it was such a revelation that you can make it, change the flavor (add garlic, or basil, or… use different oils, there is just so much to play with here) and just be in control of it. Potato salad, just plain old potatoes, suddenly becomes a revelation. If there is one , single empowering experience in the kitchen, it is making mayo. But fair warning: it is a gateway drug to Hollandaise!

    Regards,

    Tengrain

  66. I hope I’m not too late – I’d love to win that book! The first time I canned anything was way too long ago to remember, but the first time I made CHEESE was just last year. It was Ricotta and Mozzarella, but the ricotta was best. I’ve been making it ever since, and it is way better than store-bought (unless you buy good, fresh ricotta, that’s not too bad). It is so darned easy, there’s really no reason NOT to make it.

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