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The Joy of Jams, Jellies, & Other Sweet Preserves: 200 Classic and Contemporary Recipes Showcasing the Fabulous Flavors of Fresh Fruits Paperback – May 17 2009
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From the Back Cover
PRAISE for JOY OF JAMS, JELLIES, & OTHER SWEET PRESERVES "This terrific guide to modern home preserving has everything you need to know to put by the season's finest. Filled with fruit delights from Apple Butter to Watermelon Molasses, this is a treasure-trove of recipes you'll want to explore all year long." - David Lebovitz, author of "The Great Book of Chocolate" and "The Perfect Scoop" "As a small commercial jam maker, I found the history of fruit preserves interesting and informative. Linda Ziedrich presents the basics of jam and jelly making in a way that is easy for anyone to understand and follow. I especially liked the variety of unique preserves recipes." - "Jammin'" Laura Fitzgerald, proprietor of Islander Herbs, Whidbey Island, Washington "Linda Ziedrich, the princess of pickling, has written another cookbook destined to be a trusty kitchen companion, dog-eared and covered with stains. Farmers' market shoppers and you-pick enthusiasts will find all the old favorites, like great versions of raspberry jam and apple butter, and enticing new recipes like cantaloupe jam with mint, spiced sweet cherries, and sweet walnut preserves. The introductions to each type of produce are full of useful information on varieties, ripeness, and storage. Whether you're just learning to make preserves or an experienced preserver looking for inspiration, this book is for you." - Heidi Yorkshire, food writer, Portland, Oregon
About the Author
Linda Ziedrich is a certified Master Food Preserver and Master Gardener who frequently teaches classes and performs demos on a range of preserving topics across the Pacific Northwest. She is also the author of The Joy of Pickling, now in its third edition, and The Joys of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves. She blogs at A Gardener's Table. She lives in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
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The way I see it, the trouble with the same-old same-old preserving recipes is, you can find most of them already in the grocery store. Strawberry jam, raspberry jam, grape jelly, yawn!! Never fear, TJJetc does have these in case you just need a basic jam or jelly. But while you're taking the trouble of hauling out your jars, lids and rings, why not try something exotic? This Autumn, I've made:
Caramel Apple jam
Fig jam (a favorite)
Fig and Peach jam
Banana jam (with a naughty hint of rum)
Strawberry syrup (rave reviews on that one from my pancake lovin' family..real sugar really is better than corn syrup!)
Quince paste (a European delicacy to eat with cheese)
Pear Preserves in syrup with ginger
There are so many more to be tried this spring, I can't wait for my peaches and plums to start ripening.
As others have mentioned, these recipes rely less on sugar than most traditional recipes. I like that. Even better, none of them call for commercial pectin. The author explains how to coax out the natural pectins in your ingredients: some, such as raspberries, will set quite nicely with little time or effort. In the introduction she provides a chart which lists which fruits are high, medium or low in pectin and acid, and how the recipes are manipulated so that you can take advantage of that for really fresh tasting jams and jellies with minimal cooking time. Brilliant!
One more thing to be aware of, is that the recipes in TJJetc are mainly small batch (between 2 half pints, up to 4 pints yield). I think this is an advantage, especially when you are trying something new. It saves money and time as well.
I recommend this book to beginners and more advanced preservers, with the caution that you will be hooked...and that your jams and jellies will suddenly be in demand!
But I hate it when preserve books categorically snub commercial pectin, regardless of fruit. It's as bad as going the other route and putting piles of pectin and sugar in everything. I agree that commercial pectin is overused and often unnecessary (Ball would probably get you to add it to crabapples), but the alternatives here for preserving low-pectin fruits (that aren't preserved in combination with high-pectin fruits) are to either cook forEVER or to make your own pectin using high-pectin fruits--which you might not have access to in quantity, depending on the season or location. And so making a low-pectin-fruit jam becomes, in effect, making two complete recipes that require constant attention and a good deal more heating energy than just using commercial pectin in those recipes. A 30-minute canning job with a surplus of summer fruit becomes an all-day chore that uses 10x the energy.
I appreciate slow food and understand that it's important to know how to cook in the old way--but not for every fracking thing you make. If you only make one batch of jam a year, maybe that's fine. But if you really want to put up the maximum summer bounty, you just don't have time for making every batch like your great great granny did. Your great great granny probably didn't have a day job. You have to balance the result with the energy cost and pleasure of producing it. Personally, I'd rather be outdoors picking fruit than indoors watching it stew; in other foods, the pleasure is in the production and the tradeoff in time and energy makes more sense.
If there had been commercial pectin adaptations for only the lowest-pectin recipes, I would have given this book 5 stars, because the recipes really are lovely. But adding 10x the time/fuel energy inputs simply to slavishly avoid commercial pectin just strikes me as snobbish, and makes a good chunk of the book practically inaccessible to me.
Here's what I like:
This book is really well laid out. I really like the alpha arrangement. Peaches are farther in the book than apples. Easy to find things without using the index. I also like the typeset--the overall look of this book is pleasing to and easy on the eyes. Many of the fruits have a little history of the fruit. That means nothing in the long run, but I found it interesting.
I like that there are many no-pectin recipes. I dislike using pectin and this book is a whole volume (372 pages) devoted to pectin-free recipes. Which leads me to what I don't like.
What I didn't care for as much:
Yeah, I try to not use pectin. Sometimes you just can't get a gel, though. I've ended up with enough pancake syrup over the years because something went wrong, and know that you can almost always get your jam to gel in a pinch with pectin. And, as much as I enjoyed reading about homemade pectin, I just don't have the time or desire to make my own right now. Maybe when I retire.
No pictures. I didn't learn to can at my grandma's or mother's knee. I learned it as an adult and from books. A few drawings or pictures would be very useful to a novice canner, such as what a can lifter looks like,and how to stack jars in a BWB. Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving is a really good beginner reference.
I got a big batch of Palisades peaches this weekend and wanted to use a recipe from this book. There were very few recipes for peaches, four in all, and one called for figs and only two were jams. There are, however, nine recipes for quinces. 14 for plums/prunes, lots for apples. I did try a recipe for kiwi jam and it was good. I will likely not ever can quinces or pomegranates.
Lots of recipes requiring overnight sitting. I was disappointed that many of the recipes I was considering required putting the fruit and sugar in a "preserving" pan overnight. I am 1) impatient, 2) usually short of time 3) not a good enough advance planner to use this book. I also had to look up "preserving pan." Nice definitions of equipment up front. Still not sure if I have a preserving pan, but I probably have enough pans that will do.
I would have liked a few more bigger batch recipes. This weekend I canned many many jars of peach jam and peach orange marmalade in addition to the kiwi jam.
All in all, I liked this book. I am definitely going to try the Caramel Apple Jam. There are so many yummy sounding recipes. That and the overall organization of this book make it a good buy for me.
I picked up this book hoping to expand my knowledge of preserving the "sweet" things I grow (mainly peaches and apples). There are a few peach and apple recipes (including apple butter, one of my favorites), but also a whole lot more I wasn't expecting. The majority of the book is filled with recipes for fruits that are not grown in my area, and certainly are not readily accessible at our local groceries or farmer's markets. (And I'm really only looking to preserve that which I have grown in my garden or gotten from neighbors or friends.)
My favorite part of the book was the author's great introduction to the history and science of canning. As someone with little background in that area, I enjoyed learning more about that aspect. The author mentions that she doesn't use pectin in any of her recipes, which I found interesting. After talking with an elderly neighbor who does extensive canning of her own (and has since she was a child helping her mother), she recommended that I also pick up the Ball Blue Book, which she considers the authority.
To my delight, I found that Ms. Ziedrich is a history buff. She relates the fascinating history of jelly-making in the introduction. The rest of the book is organized by type of fruit, and at the beginning of each she tells its history and some general trivia. Ms. Ziedrich grew up on a California farm, and she includes some touching personal anecdtotes as well. For the history alone this book provides a pleasant diversion. I found myself reading it just for fun.
What I noticed first about almost all her recipes is that they lack pectin. Now, at a couple dollars per box, pectin isn't going to break the bank, but there's just something more satisfactory about preserving God-given free berries without having to drive to the store and spend money on pectin. In most of her recipes the only thing you'll need is sugar and lemon juice, and those are always on hand. For the recipies that absolutely require pectin, she gives instructions on how to make your own.
Another thing I noticed is that she covers an amazing variety of fruits. I can't wait to try her recipes for pear jam, and rose-hip jelly, and crabapple and gooseberry. If you're really adventerous, try her recipies for fig, ginger, watermelon, banana, nuts, flowers (like rose petal syrup), and a lot of other things besides. Under each fruit she gives many, many recipes, so, for example, you can try: rasberry jam, smooth rasberry jam, rasberry-red currant jam, Christina's raw raspberry jam, raw raspberry puree, raw raspberry sauce, raspberry vinegar, and raspberry shrub. You get the idea.
Following her recipe last week I made my first ever batch of wild blackberry jelly, with no added pectin. It set within 10 minutes and the whole family was eating peanut-butter and wild-blackberry jelly sandwiches while the jelly was still hot! Alas, we ran out in two days.
If possible, I would dock a half-star from this book for its lack of pictures. I suppose a case can be made that all jellies look the same, so what's to see? But this book really could use a few pictures to liven it up. Especially useful would be photos or illustrations of basic concepts like "foam", "sheeting", "clear", "jellied fruit", and so on.