Monday, June 08, 2015

Canning for a New Generation - Review

Although it doesn't seem very timely to be reviewing a book published in 2010, fresh produce is nearly upon us! I have started to pull my canning titles off the shelves after their winter hibernation, and Liana Krissoff's Canning for a New Generation was the best place to start. Having used this for two seasons already, I have found this book a pleasure to read and cook from.

For me to purchase a cookbook, I need to know that it contains more than a handful of recipes I will use; furthermore, it should teach me something new about working with food. This book falls strongly into the latter category, though I have tried several recipes from it each year with great results.

Krissoff's approach to preserving is actually very traditional. She avoids commercial pectins by straining and boiling down her product, working with with the pectin content naturally available in the fruit and amending it as necessary. This makes for lovely, flavourful preserves, even if they are a bit time consuming. For the total newbie, she thoroughly goes over the various aspects of canning, providing some rarely seen detail about your pectin options. For the more experienced cook, her recipes are at once classic and innovative, each jar presented in tantalizing photography. She has something for everyone, including the "new generation." Will your friends stare blankly at a jar of strawberry preserves? Maybe these friends might be more impressed with one of the book's more ethnic options, such as Persian Tarragon Pickles or Japanese Fermented Bran Pickles. Ooooo. Food cart-y.

Inter-dispersed among the recipes for canned goods are recipes in which you can use them, which I typically don't like to see. Let canning books be about canning, I would say. For this book, however, these are sometimes quite necessary. I might make Do Chua (Vietnamese Carrot and Daikon), but how will I use it? Krissoff tells me, and clinches the deal: her "Asia Tacos" look delicious. I planted daikon this year. Furthermore, the narration in this book is so engaging I was surprised to find how much I liked the personal voice and anecdotes she carried through the recipes. She won my trust, and for that, I will try her scones (or rather, Reagan's scones).

Canning for a New Generation - Krissoff's pantry
Krissoff's pantry (Canning for a New Generation Facebook page)
The book's Facebook page is well maintained. Krissoff carries on excellent dialogue with her followers, and displays some mouth-watering shots of her preserves.

On my "must make list" this year? I am hoping to start her Pickled Young Spring Garlic recipe by the end of the week, to help my desperately overgrown garlic patch. Last year's batch of apple butter is nearly exhausted, and from the looks of things at the market so is last year's apple harvest, meaning that I suspect we will be picking up cheap butter-grade apples again soon. And I will absolutely be making one of her strawberry jams or preserves, and something with rhubarb. For a start.