I recently realized that I have been horribly, inexcusably remiss in a particular arena. As the holder of a degree in English, it astonishes me that I have yet to post on a subject very much a part of my life: books.
See? It astonishes you, too.
I have never been one to buy a cookbook. I never saw the point of buying an entire volume of recipes that I will probably open once or twice. I prefer making up (and then writing down) my own recipes, or modifying recipes to the point of non-recognition. Consequently my recipe binder is enormous and shows no signs of ceasing to grow.
That said, I have recently discovered the literary merits of a few cookbooks. With the foray into canning, I found it necessary to purchase a cookbook (or two, or three) with details on process. Once this floodgate was opened, I couldn’t stop myself. So many cookbooks these days have stories to them. Why the author cooks, where they came from, etc. And so, I have begun to read cookbooks like they are novels.
The best book I have found as far as canning process goes, is Canning and Preserving with Ashley English: All you Need to Know to Make Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Chutneys, and More.
This book is science-focused, and includes plenty of lovely pictures on both the boiling water method of canning, and pressure canning. It goes into the why of canning, as well as the how.
For someone who asked “why?” as a child and now always needs the answer, this book is invaluable. Not only does it tell you what foods to process using what method, it tells you why it needs to be done that way.
In addition to detailing the methods of canning, Ashley English (who can be found at her blog: Small Measure) also includes a ton of delicious recipes in her book.
From canning classics to new seasonal recipes, this book has enough in it to keep any aspiring canner busy for quite a while.
If you are considering canning, or are a canning veteran for that matter, I strongly suggest you pick up this book. The clear step-by-step instructions, colorful layout, and detailed information will keep you turning back to this volume time and again.
Have you read Ashley English’s book? What did you think? Got any reading suggestions?