Monday, August 20, 2012

Book of the Month: Small-Batch Preserving

When my mom visited in April she brought me a gift in the form of a book called The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. Those of us who are so inclined have been or are certainly up to our elbows in the preserving of the harvest.  Or if you are like I was in past years you are too nervous to give it a try on your own and that is why I think this book is a gem.

After Heidi Joy shared the making of a little batch of Strawberry-Rhubarb jam with me I made a few small investments; a round rack for my stock pot, some lids and jar thongs.  Then I jumped in and made another batch of the same jam.  This time one of my jars didn't seal but that meant that we could enjoy the jam that much sooner.  I've also tried the Old Fashioned Raspberry Jam and that was nice too although I over cooked it a bit.

What is nice about the scale of the recipes in this book is that for a family of four the batches are more manageable.  I think one reason that I didn't preserve alone before was that I was overwhelmed by visions of  hot pots bubbling and counters full of jars while trying to juggle two kids.  But making a small batch of 3 or 4 jars of something is much more doable with kids around for me.  Not to mention that we only eat about 4 jars of jam a year.  So making smaller batches means we have plenty for ourselves and some to give as gifts but not enough to feed us for the next 5 years.  When you live somewhere where storage is at a premium you don't want to take up too much space storing jam or pickles that will take years to consume.

So check out this great book and put something in a jar.  Next up for me is putting up some cherries, apricots and peaches or some sort of creative combo of two of them perhaps.

Happy Canning!

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