While it may not officially be summer, a week ahead in the upper eights/low nineties has me thinking summer. And when I think summer, I think of saving the freshness of it in jars via preserving. If you look forward to the months ahead, like I do, with thoughts of jams, jellies, chutneys, and preserves, have I got a book for you!
Preservation Society Home Preserves by ex-indie rocker and passionate foodie, Camilla Wynne, is the most unique book on home canning that I have ever encountered. Exit granny's recipes for plain old jams and preserves, and enter Camilla's magical creations with clever twists like Apple Bourbon Toddy Jelly, Cream Pop Marmalade, Onion Beer Jam, and Plum Raspberry Butter with Vanilla Bean.
Inspired by her two grandmothers who were fantastic preservers, Wynne began experimenting on her own, with such zeal that she ended up forming her own preserves company called Preservation Society. While her techniques aren't complicated or her ingredients obscure, she does “like to mix classic recipes with some unique creations” more often than not, inspired by cocktails. Her Strawberry Margarita Jam is what drew me to this book. I make a version of my own that has become almost legendary in my family, so I was curious as to how hers might differ. Whoa! It was way different. Employing a technique used in making marmalade, she included thin slices of lime zest in the mix, along with a smidgen of salt, giving it the true taste of a strawberry margarita cocktail. While I continue to prefer mine (you can find that recipe here), I must admit that her version has a more complex taste with far more zing than does mine.
This book contains 100 modern preserving recipes. Not only will you find recipes for jams, marmalades, jellies, and fruit butters, but also canned fruits, syrups, pickles and relishes, plus recipes for using your delicious creations. If you like the combination of orange and chocolate, you must try her Marmalade Truffles that are absolutely to die for. Homemade marmalade in a truffle is heaven itself. Her dated-filled Devils on Horseback with homemade apple chutney are ambrosial; onion beer jam is going to turn your burger from ho hum to ho, boy!!
The section on fruit syrups made my mouth water. Imagine making your own homemade Concord Grape Syrup to later add to club soda for a refreshing real fruit soda, or having Sour Cherry Lemonade Concentrate on hand to add to water as a tasty hydrator on a hot day.
Never before have I been so inspired by a cookbook as I was this one. If you have even the remotest interest in canning, buy this book. Like a tension-filled thriller, you will not be able to put this one down.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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