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Book Review – Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Reader Dennis the Librarian Shusher asked for the recipe for Irish Woman’s Apple-Cinnamon-Bourbon preserves, but since it’s a variation on a recipe from a book, I thought I’d just tell you about the book.

Irish Woman and I use the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving“, edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine, for a lot of our home canning recipes.  The book has everything from basic techniques for water-bath and pressure canning, to charts for how much product you will get out of a given amount of fresh produce, to recipes for sweet, savory, and spicy foods that can be canned.  Irish Woman took their “Apple Pie in a Jar” recipe, removed the raisins, and added a bit of bourbon into the recipe*.  It’s an excellent reference if you’re an old pro, or a great way to get information on getting started.  It has several recipes for pasta sauces and salsa that I have used, as well as a ton of jam and jelly recipes that make your mouth water.  The section on pickles came in very handy last summer when I over-planted cucumbers.

The layout of the book is logical and easy to use, and the index is outstanding for when you need to search for a topic or recipe.  Directions are laid out in an easy-to-understand way, and they are given in a way that ‘s useful to both the neophyte and the old hand.

If you’re gardening, hitting the farmers’ market, or just noticing good sales at the grocery store, and want to try your hand at canning, give this book a shot.


*OK, more than a bit.  She put about half a cup of cooking bourbon into the mix while it was cooking, then put a dash of it in each jar before adding the jam for canning.

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