Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Author: Amy Bronee
Publisher: Penguin Group
First Published: June 9, 2015
First Line: "The sound of knives clinking in jars was standard dinner music in my childhood."
Book Description from GoodReads: A modern take on a beloved tradition The Canning Kitchen blends the traditions of home preserving with the tastes of the modern home cook with 101 simple, small batch recipes and vivid photography. Fill jars with canning classics such as Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Crunchy Dill Pickles, and discover new classics like Salted Caramel Pear Butter, Bing Cherry Barbecue Sauce, and Sweet Thai Chili Chutney. With fresh ideas for every season, you’ll want to keep your canning pot handy year-round to make delicious jams, jellies, marmalades, pickles, relishes, chutneys, sweet and savory sauces, and jars of homemade pantry favourites.
In addition to year-round recipes, The Canning Kitchen includes all the basics you’ll need to get started. Boost your canning confidence with straight-forward answers to common preserving questions and find out about the canning tools you need, many of which you may already have in your kitchen. Get tips on choosing seasonal ingredients and fresh ideas on how to enjoy your beautiful preserves. Use the step-by-step checklist to safely preserve each delicious batch, leaving you with just enough jars to enjoy at home plus a little extra for sharing.
My Review: When I first received this complimentary book directly from the author my first thought was - "What a thoughtful gift. It's a gorgeous cookbook but I don't do home canning". Why you ask? My hesitation stems from three thoughts: A) canning seemed to me to take a lot of work and many hands, B) I don't need 30 bottles of dill pickles or 40 jars of stewed apples in the foreseeable future and C) the idea that if I don't do it exactly right I'll end up giving my family a lovely bout of botulism. Ain't nobody got time for food poisoning.
But as I started to read the book author Amy Bronee started to put me at ease and I found that my concerns were unfounded. She has a very down-to-earth writing style that made home canning not feel scary and actually doable. Bronee gives her readers all of the information they need to feel confident, inspired and knowledgeable enough to tackle the tradition of canning. From answering some basic canning questions to telling her readers what equipment they must have as well as 'nice to have' items to giving her readers a Processing Checklist (great for Type A's like me) Bronee breaks down the canning process. I also appreciated that the recipes in this book focus on small batch recipes (using 4-10 jars depending on the recipe) which is perfect for our family.
Her descriptions of the process were so clear for me that making a batch of her Red Pepper Jelly over the weekend was a breeze. The jelly was extremely well received by my family as well as my parents and mother-in-law after I served it as an appetizer over cream cheese. Needless to say they each went home with a jar that day.
That first foray into canning was so positive that yesterday I wanted to try my hand at Strawberry Jam before the fresh berries were gone for the season. So I got up at the crack of crazy yesterday morning and hit the farmer's market before the tourists got there. Armed with a tray of 'fresh from the farm' strawberries and some new mason jars I was set and proceeded to make two batches of jam. Now I have 14 jars of strawberry bliss on my pantry shelves which The Bookworm Family can eat and share with friends and extended family. Yay!
This cookbook also comes with loads of pictures which are stunning and mouth watering. As I read through the book I started to bookmark some of the 101 recipes so that by the end I had a gaggle of sticky bookmarks sticking out of the top of the book. Yup, I was intrigued to say the least and who wouldn't be? This book includes sweet items like jams, jellies and applesauce including Salted Caramel Pear Butter, Strawberry Balsamic Jam (Wha?! YUM!) and Vanilla Bean Stewed Rhubarb. But there's also more savory treats like Chipotle Apple Barbeque Sauce, Zesty Pizza Sauce, Beer Hive Grainy Mustard as well as the tried and true favourites of pickles, relishes and chutneys. Yes, this book covers all the delicious bases.
It's official, y'all. I've been bit by the home canning bug! Canning is a great way to stock up your own cellar with culinary treats made with fresh local produce picked at its peak. Plus you have the great option to treat your family and friends with jars of delicious treats made by you. It's an age old custom that I'm happy to say will now become a tradition in our home.
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Amy Bronee for sending me a complimentary copy of her cookbook. My thoughts about the book are purely my own and the fact that I received a free copy of the book has not influenced my honest review of this book.