I was given this book as a gift about 6 months ago. My mother in law knew I was keen on cooking and that I liked the idea of making jam so this book was the perfect present.
The book is slightly smaller than A4 in size, hardback and has a cover. The front cover shows a selection of preserves and the back shows photos of some jam being made step by step. Flicking through the book there are lots of full page, full colour photos of jams, chutneys, even frozen herbs. This is a very colourful and easy to read book.
The book is split by method of preserving. At the start there are a few pages of information about equipment, hygiene, the science of preserving and tables of good flavour combinations. The main bulk of the book, is split into the following subsections:
-Preserving in oil
-Simple salting, curing, and charcuterie
-Brewing beer and wine making.
At the start of subsection there is an overview of the best foods to preserve in that way and then a basic recipe. The rest of the section is full of delicious, easy to follow and beautifully photographed recipes.
There really is something for everybody in the book from the classic strawberry jam to the more unusual onion marmalade and chilli jelly. I have made several recipes so far and, on the whole, they have been very successful and have given very good results. I had a small catastrophe with spiced plum and port jam which involved a long scrubbing session to get the burnt sugar off my pan but that was more my fault than the books.
The only slight criticism I might make is that that timings for some recipes can be a little off. I was making crystallised fruit (highly recommended for Christmas presents) and the recipe said to dry it in the oven for about 30 minutes. Mine ended up taking over an hour. That said it's usually common sense when things are done so as long as you don't take the timings as gospel you'll be fine.
I haven't made any of the home brew or cured meats. The home brew section is quite short, just covering the basics. Curing my own meats doesn't appeal to me as I don't like the idea of having a joint of meat soaking in my fridge for weeks. I'm sure if you did follow these recipes the results would be delicious. They're just not for me.
Who's it for?
I would recommend this book for any cook who's interested in preserving fruit and veg. It would also be perfect for the gardener who has gluts of produce they don't quite know what to do with. There's plenty of brilliant gift ideas in the book for Christmas and, being a preserving book, they all last for months so you can start making in the summer when things are in season and be ready for Christmas. It's also worth mentioning that this book is completely beginner friendly. I'd never preserved anything but I still found this book easy to follow.
I know some people are put of making jam because of the specialist equipment needed. This is a bit of a myth. You can make any recipe (apart from the homebrew stuff) using normal kitchen pans and recycled glass jars. It does, however, tell you about specialist equipment you can buy which will make your life easier, e.g. sugar thermometers. There are plenty of instructions for working without this though so now there's no excuse.
This is truly one of the best recipes books I've ever used. It's clear and the recipes are inspiring. I now never throw away jam jars so when I come to make my next batch of preserve I have something to put them in. This book has also got me interested in foraging and growing my own food. I could not recommend this book more highly and will be giving copies as Christmas presents this year as well as the odd chutney of course!
I've had a go at making Jam before as I have fruit trees and grow strawberries in my garden and making Jam is a great wway to preserve them.
Lately I have begun to use this book, The Preserving Book - Lynda Brown as I was bought it for Christmas and have recently started to use it to make Pickles.
The book is very well laid out with lots of traditional recipies and lots of new and exciting one's to try once you have mastered the art of making Jam, Jellies, Pickles and Chutneys.
This is an easy to follow book as the intructions to the recipies are easy to follow and it takes you through a step by step process so you know your not going wrong.
The book can be bought on Amazon for £10.99 which is a good price to pay for any book with this much information on making preserves.
So far I have made Jams that have set, which has really impressed my family as I usually make runny Jams which have to be eaten quickly as they don't last but with the recipe in this book my jam making has improved vastly.
I have also made pickled Beetroot which is now in store for Christmas and lots of other pickles and chutney for curries and salads.
To be honest I don't think there is anything in this book that I wouldn't like to make eventually and I have been working my way through the index at a fast rate.
The information in this book is great for teaching you how to store your fruit and vegetables in a chutney, or jam. I think there's well over 200 recipies to try and it also shows you how to layer the vegetables and fruit in the jars if you are pickling or salting something.
This then looks really colourful in the jar on the shelf.
I like the flavoured olive oils which I can cook with and layering the vegetables or chilli peppers in the bottles makes this look great in my kitchen.
If you compare the prices you have to pay for products like chutneys, pickles, preserves and other jarred products then this book can really help you save money.
I love it and can recommend it to you to read and try the recipies.
If your looking for a different present for someione then I'm sure this book will be a great option.
If you are into making preserves: either as a new hobby, part of a drive towards greater economy or self-sufficiency or because you're experienced and on the lookout for new ideas and recipes, then this could be just the book for you.
Reasons to love this book:
* It's good old Dorling Kindersley, in conjunction with the Soil Association - both trusted names in their fields, this inspires all the confidence you need in the knowledge that's gone into the book.
* This book's remit is much wider than the jams that the 'preserving' in the title tends to inspire: there are tips and recipes for freezing, drying, bottling, preserving in oil, salting and curing, smoking and brewing as methods of preserving crops for later use, as well as those lovely jams and chutneys of course!
* There is a whole hints section at the front of the book, even before discussion and recipes for each of those preserving methods starts. Once they do start,each section thoughtfully lists the best ingredients to use for that particular preserving method, so you keep all the flavour and goodness as much as possible.
* As with all DK publications, the images are thoughtfully placed to support the content of the text and are highly relevant - and they all look inspiring!
* It's all matter of fact and highly descriptive without being patronising or out of context. Easy to understand for beginners, not at all patronising for those who know their methods but want new recipe ideas!
* Recipes include the traditional as well as some new ideas (well, new to me but I'm a novice preserver) - think carrot and coriander relish, chinese plum sauce, bottled watermelon and ginger, great if you want to expand your range! The best thing is that the recipes are a good response to getting best value from seasonal gluts without needing lots of expensive 'extra' ingredients. Of course the ingredients to vary across the recipes, but those that I've tried have been very cost effective as well as flavoursome, compared to shop-bought, mass-produced preserves! The recipes are also very inspiring for making as home-made produce gifts for family and friends
* Both the alphabetical index at the back and the contents list at the front make it easy to refer to this book by fruit or method, but it's also much to lovely a book to use merely to refer to - getting it out and reading it is really inspiring.
I have no negative comments about this book at all. Possibly the only extra comment would be an 'even better if...' one, on the lines of a calendar or index cross-matching produce with time of year, so you could plan accordingly in your planting and preserving, or to take advantage of when gluts are cheaper in the shops, but I am being really picky here - the book really does offer everything you want even without this!
My lovely husband bought me this lovely book and has earned himself lots of good husband points as a result (although of course he does ultimately reap the benefits)! Love this book!