Home canning, home pickling, and other preservation arts have seen a resurgence of popularity in the last few years. Whether you're an urban homesteader or a dabbler in preserves, you have probably at least thought about making a jar of refrigerator jam or some half-sour pickles.
Well, Williams-Sonoma is getting in on this preserving trend with their new cookbook, The Art of Preserving. This is an all-star book — it brings together an expert in canning and preserving, Rebecca Courchesne of Frog Hollow Farm, and an experienced cook from the world of pickles: Rick Field of Rick's Picks. Together, these two cooks offer a tour through nearly every sort of preserve you can think of. It is great to have this combination of pickles, jams, chutneys, salsas, sauces, and several other sorts of preserves in one colorful volume. If you are brand new to the world of preserving, a book like this is just what you want. There are basic tips and advice on canning — the process, the equipment, the unfamiliar ingredients, like pectin.
There are also loads of gorgeous photographs and recipes. The book is divided into several sections, with the first bunch from Rebecca and the second from Rick:
• Jams & Jellies (including basics like Apricot Jam and more exotic winners such as Kiwi-Lemon Jam and Pomegranate Jelly)
• Preserves, Conserves & Marmalades (which again includes basics like Blackberry Preserves and Nectarine Preserves)
• Sweet Butters & Curds (Classic Apple Butter, Pear-Cardamom Butter, Lime Curd)
• Pickled Fruits & Vegetables (Classic Dill Pickles, Pickled Asparagus, Sauerkraut, Pickled Green Tomatoes)
• Salsas, Relishes & Chutneys (Mango-Lime Salsa, Apple-Onion Chutney)
• Condiments & Sauces (Classic Ketchup, Peach Barbecue Sauce)
Each chapter, however, includes recipes for using the preserves and sauces as well as creating them. The first chapter, for instance, has a recipe for Pear-Ginger Jam, then a Pulled Pork with Spicy Peach-Mustard Sauce. There are recipes for Jelly Doughnuts, Apple Pie Filling, Chicken Thighs with Blood Orange Glaze, and Pavlova with Lime Curd and Berries.
While the book's emphasis is clearly on the preserving, this complement of recipes is very welcome. The point of preserves is to be used and enjoyed after all, and the recipes here are creative and appealing to the palate.
The recipes also feel accessible; our grandmothers may have put up hundreds of jars of tomatoes, but today's preserving aficionados know that it doesn't have to be such an ordeal. One jar of marmalade, two jars of chutney — preserving can be creative and delicious.
Overall, this is a delicious book, full of things that we would love to make and try. Look for a couple of recipes later today that showcase some of the great things about this book.
• Find it: The Art of Preserving, $19.77 at Amazon or at Williams-Sonoma
Related: Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon