Preserving | Pat Crocker

 

A great way to sample today’s harvest tomorrow.

Preserving: The Canning and Freezing Guide for All Seasons

TITLE: Preserving: The Canning and Freezing Guide for All Seasons
AUTHOR: Pat Crocker
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
CUISINE: Canning/Preserving

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Featured Ingredient: Mason Jar
A Mason jar is a molded glass jar used in canning to preserve food. The mouth of the jarA friend in the kitchen; or, What to cook and how to cook it .. (1899) by CircaSassy has screw threads on its outer perimeter to accept a metal ring (or “band”). The band, when screwed down, presses a separate stamped steel disc-shaped lid against the rim of the jar. An integral rubber ring on the underside of the lid creates a hermetic seal to the jar. The bands and lids usually come with new jars, and bands and lids are also sold separately; while the bands are reusable, the lids are intended for single use when canning. [Wikipedia]

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First Impressions
If you’re into canning or preserving food in any way shape or form, this cookbook will make your eyes bulge (in a good way). It is really something to see. 541 pages of pure preserving pleasure. The cover says 140 recipes, but, there it seems there is WAY more going on here than just recipes. The author, Pat Crocker, is also the photographer. And, she did a wonderful job. Big, bright, colorful images are used throughout. It doesn’t appear to be a canning handbook. It’s more than that. It’s a guide to making the freshness and flavor of each season last.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Introduction
Preserving Basics
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter

Each of the seasons is broken down by the fruit or vegetable that is available at that time. There are a lot! Too numerous to breakout. Sixty different sub-categories.

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FLASHBACK: 1978

I realize that canning people are happy people, but, this is over the top! I’m not sure who told this guy that wearing that apron was a good idea. Obviously, he had no clue that YouTube would come thirty almost years later.

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The Best Of The Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Spring Herb Aioli Blueberry Grunt
Currant Catsup Grilled Salmon with Asian Plum Sauce
Dilled Beans Curry Pickling Spice Blend
Thai Turkey Garlic Scrape Pesto Potatoes
Country Style Chicken Vanilla Pears and Gingerbread
Honeyed Beets Frozen Coleslaw
Chile Corn Bread Gremolata
Lemon Curd Pineapple Mustard
Grilled Scallops with Roasted Tomato, Fennel and Basil Relish Roasted Onion and Garlic Marmalade

 

Under the artichokes sub section is a great recipe for Roasted Chicken Thighs, Artichokes and New Potatoes (p. 78). If this tastes half as good as it looks it should be a family favorite for years to come. I love nectarines. So, the Curried Summer Salad (p. 172) is a no brainer. Those spices blend great with that fruit. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at dill pickles. I’ve had the chance, but, never took the leap. I’m marking this recipe for Classic Dill Spears (p. 222) for when I take my maiden voyage into the world of pickle making. And, I can only think of ten thousand uses for this Mediterranean Herb Paste (p. 440). It might even taste great on your corn flakes.

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Special Features
OK, here’s the best way to sum this up: The entire cookbook is one big special feature. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Each fruit or Preserving: The Canning and Freezing Guide for All Seasonsvegetable has unique handling tips and uses. There is a lot of storage advice and super useful timing charts. The basics section up front gives you a pretty good look at the canning process. A nice list of the required equipment follows. Since canning and preserving is a specialized thing, it’s helpful to see the list of things you’ll need. A glossary of terms helps you answers some of the questions that you will inevitably have. In the back of the book is an online resource list. Fantastic. There is one thing missing. With a book this size, it would have been great to have a bookmark ribbon. I can imagine this book will be littered with Post-It notes. You’ve got to keep your place one way or another. What no metric conversion chart? You just scored a few extra point with me!

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Conclusions
If you want to learn how to can like a pro you’ll only need one book. This one. You could probably toss the others out and not miss them much. I thought the process was tough. Pat breaks things down in easily understandable pieces. I’ve never canned a thing in my life. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to. I just haven’t. After reading Preserving: The Canning and Freezing Guide for All Seasons I can’t wait to pick my cucumbers and get at it!

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Culinary Expertise Required: 6.5
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Preserving: The Canning and Freezing Guide for All Seasons

Resources, Links and Press
Pat Crocker’s Website
National Center for Home Food Preservation
Ball Corporation
Preserving at Harper Collins

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