I have been meaning to do one of these for awhile. Though the internet is all well and good, there is nothing like having a book on hand. What if I need to can and the electricity is out and the www is not accessible? Or what if I am just too damn lazy and sick of staring at a screen, so I would rather just rifle through a book for awhile. (I know this all sounds so silly coming from a blog and all, but hey, I love books and tangible hand held items so whatev). Anyways, check out my reviews, support some authors, and try out some of their tasty recipes:
Perfect Preserves by Hilaire Walden
This book is a lot more than just putting things in jars; there are sections on smoking, salting, crystallizing, canning, pickling, almost all possible preservation methods under the sun. This 160ish page book is full of beautiful photos (a must for me, I gotta know what it looks like before I try it out) and some pretty great recipes. The instructions are easy to follow; with step by step guides that include pictures of every step. I think this cookbook is a great place to start, but might not be beneficial to someone who is already an avid preservationist. Most of the books is well written instructions, with a few pretty ordinary recipes. A great beginners books.
Food In Jars by Marisa McClellan
Since I began reading Marisa McClellan’s blog almost a year ago, I have waited anxiously for this book to hit the shelves. I bought it the first week it came out on Amazon because (1) her recipes are original and fun and (2) Marisa is the least pretentious sounding food writer I have heard in a long time and I wanted the chance to support what I assume to be a good wholesome person.
Anyways, Food In Jars is 240ish page book “jam” packed (haha see that, I made a funny) with recipes. All of Marisa’s recipes are boiling water canning method, making them easy and accessible to pretty much anyone. She also has a variety of small and large batch canning recipes. This is great because people like me prefer the large batches, while many of my friends enjoy doing small batches to put in the fridge every once in awhile. The bulk of Food in Jars includes jams, jellies, and pickled things, but the end of the book contains other fun “jar” recipes like nut butters, granolas, and baking mixes.
I have already made tons of recipes from this book and have about 30 more dog eared for future canning. Soon to come: Oven Roasted Peach Butter and Mimosa Jelly. Yumm… thanks Marisa!
Tart and Sweet by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler
This books is very appealing to me in a way the others are not. The colors are cool and calm, the photos and lay out feel rustic and simple to me, and the way the author writes makes the process of preservation feel all very natural (as it should). The aspect I enjoy most about this cookbook is the way the recipes are divided by seasons. First of all, this makes them easier to find, and secondly, this just makes more sense! Canning is all about eating seasonally and preserving what’s juicy, sweet, and poppin’!
Tart and Sweet, like Food in Jars, only does Water Bath Canning as well and has a very accessible and understanding introduction into canning. I also like that they add a “tweaking a recipe to your liking” section, because I constantly change recipes and with canning it is important to keep adequate amounts of acid and salt for safety reasons. I also constantly exchange sugar for honey and find it helpful to have a guide so that I do not add too much.
The authors also included a “difficulty scale” to their recipes: one little red jar equals ‘easy’ while three little red jars equals ‘more involved.’ This is good for not only beginners but also seasoned canners who are on a time crunch.
Some recipes I am looking forward to trying: Peach Lavender Jam, Blackberry Syrup, and Horseradish Beer Mustard.
Put Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton
So, even though I have two friends that currently own this books, I had to get one for myself (is that wasteful? I’m sorry…). But I am constantly flipping through the pages of this high energy, eclectic, and overall original recipe book.
The books is broken down alphabetically by each fruit or vegetable and usually includes a few canning, some drying, and some other interesting technique for preserving that item. For example, the Chilies section includes: Red Hot Vodka, Pickled Chili Peppers, Ristras, Charred Chilies BBQ sauce, Chili Tomato Jam, and more!
The first 100 pages include information on drying, infusing, canning, pickling, freezing, fermenting, bottling, etc. The next almost 200 pages are all recipes. This cookbook is my go to place for interesting and fun recipes that always turn out well and are sure to impress.
These cookbooks should get you going on your canning adventures! Happy canning!