Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry Is Required Reading Material for Passionate Home Preservers

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

The book: Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry by Cathy Barrow

The angle: Farmer’s markets are fleeting — make the good stuff last.

Recipes for right now: Rugelach, Figgy Marmalade with Macadamia Nuts, Chicken Breasts with Currant Jelly Sauce, Dilly Beans, Leftover-Turkey Soup, Canned Dried Beans, Duck Confit, Gravlax, Cream Cheese, Cajeta

Who would enjoy this book? Home preservers of any skill or obsession level.

Quick Facts

Who wrote it: Cathy Barrow

Who published it: W.W. Norton & Company

Other highlights: Yes, this book is about preserving your seasonal bounty, but it’s also about building a very literal “practical pantry” and truly using what you preserve. As she explains in her introduction, this means not only having recipes to put your preserved goodies into the weekly meal plan (which she has plenty of in the book), but also making choices about what you’re preserving. Don’t make blueberry jam if you hate blueberries. If half your meals consist of pasta, then you’re going to want to clear shelf space for tomato sauce. As Mrs. Wheelbarrow says, “To make the most of a preserving habit, have a plan for what is preserved.”

This cookbook presents a very patient and thorough explanation of canning and preserving basics, from water-bath canning and pressure-canning to curing fish and making simple cheeses. Lots of step-by-step illustrations walk new canners through unfamiliar steps, while the sheer breadth of recipes covered will have veteran canners clapping with glee. Recipes for soups, relishes, jammy cookies, and other fare give us ideas for using up our preserves once the season has passed.

Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry by Cathy Barrow

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