Monday, November 22, 2010

Book review: Well Preserved and Small-Batch Preserving

There are two books called 'Well Preserved', by different authors with different takes on small batch processing.  Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone presents about four dozen preserving recipes, followed by recipes on using the preserved foodstuffs.  It's ok, but when I first thumbed through the book, I thought it was all cooking recipes, not preserving recipes.  Kind of confusing, that.  I can't give it five stars because most of the recipes are things I wouldn't cook, but for someone with less pedestrian taste than me, probably a good book in, if nothing else, technique. 

Well Preserved by Mary Anne Dragan, on the other hand, is mostly preserving recipes, with a lot of technique including useful asides like how to handle peppers and how to make a cheesecloth herb bag.  Lots of technique, has measurements in metric and Imperial, and includes not only chutneys, ketchups, infused vinegars and fruit butters, which the other Well Preserved doesn't, but also a chapter on making gifts from the pantry.  

One example of the difference between the books:  Well Preserved by Bone says make soup with the bits of asparagus you have to cut off to fit the spears in the jar.  Well Preserved by Dragan says:  make asparabits and pickle those trimmings.  I have never, and probably never would, make soup with leftover veg trimmings, but oh, how I do love pickled asparagus, and that kind of ingenuity rather than relying on the old 'make soup' dogma gets my vote.

Check it out.  Good book.

Well Preserved: Small Batch Preserving for the New Cook 

Small-Batch Preserving has 'over 300 delicious recipes' and adds flavored oils, salsa and sauces to the mix of preserving recipes.  As an example of the variety of the recipes themselves, there are about forty - yes, 40 - different jam recipes for everything from apples to plums, including four different jams with raspberries.  A lot of the recipes have variations, too. 

I think I may have to buy this one.   Any book with a recipe for garlic dill pickles needs to be in my collection.

The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round