News & Opinion > Reviews >

Home Preserving Made Easy

Cookbook Review

The first headline in this book heralds, “Preserving the Good Things of Life Because You Can!” It’s a call to action (not to mention a great double entendre) that appeals to today’s cooks. We experiment, taste, preserve and bring more value to our kitchens . . . because we can. And this cookbook – BALL Complete Book of Home Preserving – is a great tool to give you the skills and tips needed to follow through on that promise.

While it will be tempting to simply flip right to the recipes – particularly the nice photography of Blackberries in Framboise, Cranberry Ketchup and Ginger Pear Marmalade – try starting at the back. That’s where you’ll find a section devoted to “The Art and Science of Home Food Preservation.” It talks to you about equipment in a way that takes the fear out of doing this at home. For example, it says, “The majority of the most popular home-canned foods can be prepared and preserved using utensils you are likely to already have in your kitchen.” It gives you an altitude adjustment chart, and a “Problem Solver” with solutions. Even better – since this is what I always have trouble judging – there is a purchase guide that tells you about how much to buy in order to get the prepared yield you want.

While there are plenty of ideas in the book, it’s sectioned off to give you the easy jams first – so you can make “outstanding preserves without studying the science of preserving.” It includes comforting statements such as, “After reading through one or two of these simple recipes, we’re certain you’ll feel confident enough to try your hand at any of the more than 400 recipes included in this book.”

So, what are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose. Except the fun of making Carrot Cake Jam. Or Sweet Apple Cider Butter. Or Zesty Salsa.

Gotta go. There’s a biscuit with raspberry jam calling my name.