Top positive review
16 of 16 people found this helpful
Not really complete, but a good place to start for beginners
on March 31, 2012
When I wanted to get a book on canning, I decided to get the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving.
This book is a good one for beginners, because it has a fairly large section at the back called "The Art and Science of Food Preservation," which explains everything a person would need to know about home canning. For those who want to jump right into canning without reading too much, the first section of the book has recipes for five popular foods (Strawberry Jam, Mint Jelly, House Salsa, Traditional Corn Relish, and Dill Pickles) that are heavy on the detail. I found this strawberry jam recipe to be helpful the first time I made jam, because I was a bit nervous and the recipe gave easier and more detailed instructions than most recipes do.
Also within this cookbook are a troubleshooting section and an extensive glossary, that are helpful to a novice canner such as myself.
Another nice feature of this book is the sheer variety of recipes. Flipping through the pages, I see so many interesting recipes that I'd like to try some time in the future, and lots of recipes that would be excellent for gift giving. The book includes sections on jams and jellies, canned fruit, salsa, relish and chutney, condiments, pickles, and tomatoes. After all this is a small section on pressure canning with a handful of recipes.
Overall, I like this book and I can definitely see myself using some of the more creative recipes in the future for holiday gift-giving. However, my one complaint is that the variety of unique recipes means that some basic recipes have been left out. For example, when I wanted to make raspberry jam a few days ago, I was surprised to find no recipe for plain raspberry jam in this book. There was a natural jam recipe using tart apples instead of pectin that requires a long boiling time, but not a regular jam recipe. This wasn't a tragedy, since the sheet that comes inside the box of pectin has recipes for all the basic jams and jellies, but I did think it was strange that a book with the word "complete" in the title didn't have a recipe for raspberry jam!
I would recommend this book to novice and experienced canners alike for the easy instructions, and for the large number of interesting recipes--but I don't think it's really a complete resource for canning. In the future, I'd like to get a few more canning books to ensure I have easy access to all the basic and traditional recipes I would like. Although perhaps I'm just making up an excuse to buy more books...something which I'm good at. :)