If you buy only one preserving cookbook this year, or perhaps even in your lifetime, promise me you'll make it this one. Kevin West's Saving the Season is a practical and friendly guide to home canning, pickling, and preserving, yet it's also much more. Beyond how to preserve, Saving the Season reminds us why we preserve, its pages rich with the cuisine and culture we are connected to any time we stir a pot of jam or put up a jar of pickles.
• Who wrote it: Kevin West
• Who published it: Alfred A. Knopf
• Number of recipes: 220
• Recipes for right now: Cherry Preserves with Pinot Noir, Pickled Beets with Star Anise, Apricot Jam with Honey and Lemon Verbena, Plum Liqueur, Wild Blackberry Molasses, Spicy Sweet Squash Pickle
• Other highlights: Full disclosure: I have known the author for about a year and a half, having learned how to make marmalade from him in my Master Food Preserver course, and getting to test the kumquat marmalade recipe in this book — it's a true winner, as are all the other recipes I've tried. But I was unprepared for just how much I would love Saving the Season, which transcends what you might normally think of when you imagine a preserving cookbook. Both academic and soulful, it's the sort of book that you can carry into the kitchen, curl up with on the couch, and rely on for reference.
West is a gifted preserver, teacher, and storyteller with the ability to weave cooking, art, history, science, and literature into his work. In Saving the Season novice food preservers will find a clear and safe guide to basic concepts and practices, while those with more experience are sure to be inspired by the various stories, techniques, and ingredient pairings.
• Who would enjoy this book? anyone who likes cooking and seasonal eating, including both new and experienced food preservers; appreciators of history, art, literature, science, and culture
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Saving the Season: A Cook's Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving by Kevin West
• Visit the author's website: Saving the Season
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(Images: Emily Ho)