For me, summer is at its peak when my Dad and I make jam. Ever since I was a kid, we have spent a few weekends each July and August gathering plums, strawberries, blackberries, and apricots to make gleaming jars of preserves. (I always think of Greg Brown’s song “Canned Goods,” where he says “you can taste a little of the summer/ my grandma’s put it all in jars.”)
I’ve never done much other preserving, however, so I was completely delighted to get a chance to look at The Art of Preserving. Like everything Williams-Sonoma does, it’s beautiful: the photos are gorgeous, the size is just right (it’s big enough to lay flat on the counter for easy reference), and even the graphic design is a pleasing blend of modern and homey old-fashioned. The book is full of helpful tips, techniques, and resources, which really push this into the “must-have reference” category.
Best of all, though, are the recipes. Written by three preserving veterans, The Art of Preserving makes it clear that you really can preserve just about anything, from the classics to pickled fennel and rhubarb chutney. They cover jams, jellies, pickles, salsas, chutneys, flavored butters, honeys and vinegars, and even infused spirits and olive oils. Wow! Better yet, each section has paired recipes that make me drool, like a spicy peach-mustard sauce for a pulled pork sandwich, potato fritters with apple-onion chutney, or pavlova with lime curd and berries. I think I need to invest in a serious preserving setup because now I want to try every recipe in the book.
Book Giveaway Time!
Three lucky CRAFT readers will win a copy of The Art of Preserving. Just tell us why you would like this book in the comments. All comments will be closed by Noon PST on Wednesday, July 28, 2010. The lucky winners will be chosen randomly and announced later on the site. Good luck!
UPDATE: The giveaway is now over! Winners will be announced on the site shortly. Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments and keep experimenting!