Late last summer, I finally got up the courage to do a little canning. I bought a bunch of bruised peaches at the farmers market, brought them home and grabbed “Food in Jars,” Marisa McClellan’s small batch canning cookbook. My first attempt at canning was a success, and I enjoyed peach jam all winter long.
Marisa now has a second book, “Preserving by the Pint,” with more recipes and tips for small batch canning. I asked Marisa how this book differs from her first.
“Preserving by the Pint” is different from “Food in Jars” in that it is arranged by season and exclusively features small batch preserves,” she told me. “Every recipe starts with either a pint, a quart, or a pound (or two) of produce.
“Over my years as a farmers market shopper, CSA subscriber, and community gardener, I've found that the most useful preserving recipes for my household were the ones that started small. I had a feeling that there were lots of people out there in similar straits.”
How small are the batches in this new book? The Peach Jam recipe in the “Food in Jars” book created three one-pint jars. The Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam recipe in “Preserving by the Pint” makes three half-pint jars. You could, if you wanted to, do the hot water bath for this entire recipe in an asparagus pot.
And, come on, you know you want to make this recipe. Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam? It will be hard to wait until peaches are in season. I don’t have to wait until summer is in full swing to start in on some of the recipes in this book since it’s arranged seasonally. In a few weeks, rhubarb will be available, and I have the Mustardy Rhubarb Chutney recipe marked to make. Marisa suggests pairing it with a log of goat cheese and good crackers.
The small-batch approach that Marisa takes is helpful if you have a small kitchen or little storage space. It’s beneficial for another reason, too. It takes some of the intimidation out of the process of canning for beginners. It’s not so hard to accept the fact that you might make a mistake, even with the expert advice in this book, and ruin three half-pints of something. It’s much harder to take that risk with a couple of dozen pints. Marisa has some suggestions for where absolute beginners might want to start.
“If a beginner wants to make something sweet,” she suggests, “try the Honey-Sweetened Strawberry Jam. It cooks in ten or twelve minutes, makes enough to fill two half pint jars, and is delicious. For those who prefer savory things, the Slow Roasted Grape Tomato Spread is dead simple and endlessly useful.”
Along with many sweet jam and syrup recipes in the book, there are several savory recipes in the book including Caramelized Shallot Jam, Pizza Sauce, and Garlic Scape and Arugula Pesto. There are pickling recipes, too. In all, there are 100 new recipes for seasonally-focused preserved foods.
“Preserving by the Pint” is available now, and Marisa is traveling giving book signings, canning classes and demonstrations. For a schedule, visit the Food in Jars blog.
Also on MNN
- Marisa McClellan's pickled okra recipe
- Canning vegetables never looked so easy
- How to preserve chives