In The Complete Book of Year-Round Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Delicious Recipes, Ellie Topp (Feasts for Families) and Margaret Howard (coauthor, All Fired Up!), both home economists, explain the canning process for jellies, jams, marmalades, conserves, relishes, salsas, chutneys, pickles, dessert sauces, fruit butter, vinegars, mincemeats and curds and then reel off uses for them. Many of the delicacies this book proposes are surprisingly sophisticated (Jalapeno Mint Jelly, Pink Peppercorn Vinegar) while others are more tongue-in-cheek: Hellfire Chutney and Mixed Japanese Pickle Sticks. So the publisher’s summary from the 2001 edition reads.
I picked up my copy, the 2nd edition (seventh printing) last year at Costco and within days was in love with it. This is the perfect canning and pickling book for today’s woman who wants to preserve the tradition but who hasn’t time to stock an entire cellar with quart after quart of canned, preserved and pickled items. This is the perfect book for small batches of jams and jellies—most recipes yield about 5 cups to 5 pints and don’t take all day. I’ve made the Pear, Apple Ginger Marmalade on page 87 and the Old-Fashioned Tomato Marmalade on page 89. Both are quick, easy and outstanding. I’ve also made the Cranberry Pear Lemon Jam on page 41, Bread and Butter Pickles, Catsup, Seasoned Tomato Sauce, Salsa and much, much more. Every recipe has been outstanding and the perfect source for what to do with my Santa Cruz garden’s bounty..
Most instructions are for using a simple water bath canner, but there is much more than just jams, preserves, marmalades and pickles. An entire section is devoted to Condiments, another to flavored oils and vinegars. I read with interest the beginning section where authors Topp and Howard explain essentials such as pectin, head space, processing and equipment preparation; things the novice canner needs to know. While some of the recipes are simple, others are more complex or sophisticated (such as Sweet Onion and Fennel Relish, page 173), yet easy to do.
I’m a bit of a cookbook junkie, but while most cookbooks offer only two or three recipes I can’t wait to try, fully three-quarters of the recipes in Small Batch Preserving are calling to me. After you see the full page color photos, you’ll be trying the recipes yourself. Warning: home canning can be addictive, especially if you’re perusing The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving.
The book is available at Amazon. Highly recommended.