Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and Other Cooking Projects
by Karen Solomon
Ten Speed Press, 2009
Back in the ‘olden days’ when we were back-to-the-landers I did a ton of preserving food. I canned tomatoes, green beans and peaches, froze corn, apples and shredded zucchini, made jams and pickles and sauerkraut. It was a lot of work but fun. It was so satisfying to prepare a whole meal from food we raised and/or grew ourselves. It wasn’t about saving money. It was a whole way of life that had health and self-sufficiency at it’s core.
My resources back then were the Ball Blue Book and the Farm Journal Canning and Preserving book. I still have them both and they are so stained and worn. One is held together with a rubber band. One of these days I’ll tell you about them but not in this post.
Today I want to tell you about a new book I’m excited about. My daughter Candice found Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It at the library. It reminded her of my old preserving books. She thought I would be interested and she was right.
Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It is not a replacement for my two favorites. It’s a wonderful addition to them. It is not concerned with preserving large quantities of produce from the garden. It’s actually a reference for preparing high quality staples we now purchase only at the supermarket: salad dressings, crackers, mayonnaise, mustard, pasta, butter, cheeses, olives, smoked trout, bacon, frozen treats, marshmallows, beverages and more – 75 recipes in all. The instructions are easy to follow and there are plenty of pictures. The author has a confident, conversational voice that would be helpful for both beginners and pros.
Most of these food projects are things people have been making for many years/decades. For instance, Candice has been making frozen popsicles for the girls. She tried some of the recipes in this book: Mango and Lime Pops and Chocolate Cream Pops. Now doesn’t that beat the over-sugar things you buy?
My ‘immediate’ recipe was Thai Cucumber Salad (took me less than 15 minutes). It was perfect with fresh cucumber and red onions. I have plans for my next projects: yogurt cheese, queso blanco (white cheese) and sesame onion crackers. I’m going to wait a few months for fresh-from-the-tree oranges and lemons to make orange marmalade and lemon curd. Doesn’t that sound yummy?
Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It has great ideas for gifts from your kitchen. The book itself would make a great gift for someone who loves to make things – food or other crafts. A definite plus would be to do some of these projects with children. What kid wouldn’t love to make their own frozen pops or watch the whole milk turn into cheese or shake it into butter?
The author, Karen Solomon, is a well known food and lifestyle writer from the San Francisco area. She does not consider herself a chef but a food junkie who “delights in experimentation, insatiable food lust, and perseverance to think outside the jar.” I have a hunch this book is going to be big. Ms. Solomon (and the book) are being featured quite a few places. The day my copy came from Amazon I saw a picture of her on Shelf Awareness (8/18). Here’s the picture and the little blurb that went with it.
Image of the Day: Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It
Karen Solomon, author of Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It (Ten Speed Press), with Tyler Florence, owner of the Tyler Florence Shop, Mill Valley, Calif., where last Saturday Solomon gave a talk and demo, drawing 60 people who heard it, watched it and loved it.