Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Running Press; 4/22/12 edition (May 22, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.8 x 8.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #32,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #55 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Canning & Preserving
I have recently become interested and canning and I took this book out of the library, along with the Ball Complete Book of Preserving and Put 'Em Up!. I liked the idea of the recipes being for small batches of of 3-4 pints, or 3-8 half pints, since my kitchen is small, and my pantry is non-existent. I started by reading through the information on the canning process from the Ball Book, before moving on to the tasty sounding recipes in this one. I skimmed the recipe titles and the chatty little paragraphs that introduced each one, and carefully marked recipes that I wanted to try. Once I had tried a few simple recipes in the Ball Book (considered such a classic and trusted source, full of time-tested information), I came back to this one and tried a few recipes. Specifically I did the Basic Tomato Salsa, Pickled Brussels Sprouts, Pickled Zucchini, Caramelized Red Onion Relish, and Cranberry Syrup. This is when I started to notice the exceptional number of typos, and instances of missing necessary information. In most recipes it seems that the author has cut and pasted text from previous recipes. (Understandable when it is the same phrase "Prepare a water bath...") In some instances, an ingredient is listed twice in a row. In others it does not list the amount of headspace needed, which is vitally important in successful canning. I can only assume that the writer and publisher were in such a rush to get the book out and capitalize on the author's successful blog, that no one stopped to edit the text, or more importantly to TEST the recipes.I noticed that while I followed each and every recipe exactly as written on the page, weighing or measuring the ingredients carefully, I had wildly different results with the recipes.
The flavors in this book are just wonderful. I made the rhubarb jam with strawberries and oranges a couple days ago, and it is hands-down the best jam I've ever tasted. The perfect balance of sweet, tart, and spice. So far this is the only recipe I have tried from the book, but I'm eager to try many others.While I trust that the author knows a heck of a lot more about canning than I do, and I trust that she tested the recipes, and I trust that an unsafe book wouldn't have been published (well, maybe I'm naive on that one, but I'd like to think it's true)...maybe I'm just too new at canning to be relaxed about the process. I've only been canning for a year (the rhubarb jam was my tenth project), but I've read a lot of canning recipes and these are the first I've come across that don't ALWAYS use bottled lemon juice, that don't specify the headspace in EACH recipe, and that don't direct you to skim the foam from your jam before you fill the jars (I don't know what that last thing has to do with safety, but surely the other sources tell you to do it for a reason?). Also, this is the first time I've seen curd recipes that can be processed in a waterbath canner--I'm grateful for it, because I love curd and am eager to can it, but I can't help but be a little apprehensive about canning something that has eggs and butter in it. I also dislike that most of the recipes are written for pint jars...is it ok to can them in half-pint jars? Does that affect processing times? I mention this because the author discusses using different jar sizes, but only mentions how this affects the processing time if you can tomato sauce in quart jars instead of pints.
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