With its single color printing and chunky plastic binding, So Easy To Preserve may not be a trendy or glamorous book, but I'd argue it's an essential one. I reach for it constantly, trusting it as my go-to reference for canning, pickling, freezing, and drying food.
• Who wrote it: Fifth edition revised by Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D., and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D.
• Who published it: The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension
• Number of recipes: 185+
• Recipes for right now: Lemon Curd, Sauerkraut, Citrus Marmalade, Frozen Greens, Frozen Winter Squash, Pumpkin Leather, Meat Jerky
• Other highlights: Whether you're a novice food preserver or someone who's been at it for years, So Easy To Preserve is one of the most useful books you can own. More than just a cookbook, it covers basic food preservation principles and the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture safety recommendations.
Need a recipe for botulism-free canned tomatoes? Wondering whether you can sub honey for sugar in jam? What about freezing eggs? The answers are all here. In addition to step-by-step procedures and tested recipes, the book has lots of useful tables with information like processing times and altitude adjustments for canning, suitability of different foods for freezing and drying, recommended containers and packaging, and remedies for potential problems.
There is one drawback: many of the recipes are on the boring side. They are, after all, aimed at a wide audience and USDA approval doesn't necessarily mean culinary excitement. Yet with this foundation of safety principles, more adventurous food preservers can discern when and how it's okay to change things up, and when it isn't. For me, the book is invaluable when developing my own recipes or double-checking the safety of interesting ones I find online or in other cookbooks.
• Who would enjoy this book? anyone interested in food preservation, beginners and experts alike
Order the book from the University of Georgia: So Easy To Preserve
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(Images: Emily Han)