if there is a preserving book we want it. Like our profound love of French cookbooks, we also covet every preserving book. By now, if you can cook it syrup or douse it in a brine, we have stuffed into canning jars. While most canning books are fine, fun, and full of info, few are comprehensive guides to putting up food. Saving the Season by Kevin West is that comprehensive book.
West grew up in the South and watched his grandmother make jam. Living in California for years, West, was a writer and pretty fine cook. On day he impulsively bought a flat of strawberries and realized that he and his friends could never use them all before they rotted. Holding those strawberries pulled him back to his past, like a powerful sense memory. When he thought of all those years he watched his grandmother make jam, he came to the stark realization that he never really knew how she made the jam. Trying to recreate that flavor, he found recipe after recipe of strawberries covered in sugar, pectin, and boiled. West's reporter side kicked in.
He started studying and cooking and cooking and finally blogging. His blog, Saving the Season turned into an opus of the same name. Yes, Saving the Season will explain how to make jam, jelly and pickles, but it does much more. You will also find:
Recipes for using your canning products
An extensive bibliography
An appendix of fruit varieties
An appendix of peak fruit by months
If you have never touched a Ball jar, there is something in this book for you. Ever walked into the kitchen after your friends offer to make margaritias. The drinks were great but there is a huge pile of squeezed lime halves. (you know some of them were not squeezed that well as the drinks went on, so there is a lime juice pooling up.) This is a great recipe to make use of those limes. you don't have to make it right now. Stuff the lime carcasses in a Ziploc bag and wait till the buzz is over.
1/2 pound of lime rinds
2 1/2 cups of water
3 cups sugar
10 coriander seeds
2 allspice berries
Two 1/4-inch slices fresh ginger root
Optional: 1 Kaffir lime leaf and 2 inches lemongrass stalk, crushed
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Store in a sealed bottle in the refrigerator for up to 6 months
We were thrilled to see that Saving the Season was one of Amazon's Best Cookbooks of 2013. It was clearly one of ours.