I’ve been following Marisa McClellan’s blog, Food In Jars, for many years now. Her blog was one of the few I found when I first started my first blog, What Julia Ate, and began canning in earnest. At that time, I didn’t even know food blogs existed! And lo, not only did they exist, but a handful of them even talked about canning, preserving, and following the seasons. I was home. Thankfully, I’ve stayed in the preserving game long enough that Running Press sent me a review copy of Marisa’s newest book: Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces. I must say I was thrilled!
I think what’s interesting about people who are deeply interested in preserving, is that they are first and foremost food people. Sometimes that gets lost when you are pegged as a canning expert. I think this book really shows Marisa’s true colors as some one who is thinking about the bigger pictures of food: the bond it creates with our family and friends, and the bond it creates within our community when we cook seasonally all year round. And the love of food in all its delicious glory! There are so many recipes in here–sweet, savory, fermented and canned, to name a few.
Preserving by the Pint is wonderful for a few reasons. One, is that it is all about small batch preserving, and each recipe is only for a couple of small jars at maximum. Which is great for an urban preserver, but also for a country gal like me who wants to try something out before I have twenty jars of something. Two, because of the seasonal approach, you can start working your way through the book right now. Which I plan to do. And three, that this book is not just about canning! It’s about preserving. It’s about savoring the bounty of the seasons.
Seeing as how the rhubarb is only just now breaking through the dirt, I still have some time before I can explore a lot of these recipes. Luckily, the other day I found a small ziploc bag of my very own garden strawberries in the freezer. They were so tiny that I thought they were cranberries. But I opened the bag and even frozen they smelled intensely of a hot, late-spring day, reminding me of the abundance my small patch provides our family. I turned to a recipe in Marisa’s book for Quick Pickled Strawberries that had a little tarragon in it. They are lovely: the vinegar not too dominant, and the tarragon works well with the strawberries. I served these alongside some shredded duck confit and a kale salad for a few visiting friends. It was a resounding hit!
There are so many recipes I can’t wait to try out! Grapefruits have been on sale, so I was thinking of making a grapefruit curd, and there is a recipe in the Winter section for just that. Orange tomato and smoked paprika jam? Yes, please! Spicy apple cider and mustard glaze? Lacto-fermented green tomato pickles? Yes, yes and yes. It will be a delicious year.
Disclosure: Many thanks to Marisa and her publisher, Running Press, for sending a copy of Preserving by the Pint for the purpose of this review. All opinions stated above are entirely my own.