I bought this book as soon as it was released, and even though it is an expensive book, that sits on a shelf heavy with canning books, I do not regret the purchase. I spent the first few days reading, drooling, and reading more. What separates this book from other canning books? It is not all about the canning. It is also full of recipes that use the food you have lovingly sealing into jars, AND it includes a few amazing cocktails.
If you happen to be an experienced canner who thinks you do not need another canning book, you may be wrong. If you only buy one canning book this year, Preservation Kitchen is the one to buy. If you are a new canner, start with Food In Jars (full review coming soon), and work your way towards Preservation Kitchen. I have pulled this book out again and again over the past few months, and as the big canning time of year approaches it is working its way into the kitchen.
The first recipe I tried sounds odd, Beer Jam. The name does not reflect the finished product. It is not jam at all, but a thick syrup that is perfect along side a cheese plate. If you have ever had the pleasure of eating a cheese plate that includes a little dish of honey or agave, then Beer Jam is that little dish served in heaven. Deep, dark beer, that is sweet and full of spices, with a hint of citrus and vanilla. I am not a beer drinker, but the smell is amazing. It makes you want to lick the spoon.
I made my Beer Jam using Dragonstooth Stout, a local beer that is a favorite of Husband. I used wee, tiny Weck jars because cheese and fruit will be dipped into the syrup and I did not want a large container getting all mucked up. You could of course spoon single servings from a larger jar.
One word of caution before you begin. While heating up the mixture you may think it is a good time to run downstairs and grab a quart jar for steeping. It is not. The 45 seconds that it takes to make that trip will result in beer and sugar bubbling all over your stove. Learn from my mistakes.
The author recommends using Beer Jam in a Beer Jam Manhattan, or as a glaze for beef and roasted beets, both recipes are included. I will definitely be making Beer Jam again, I will leave out the pectin in future batches to keep things soft and and syrup like.
The next thing I will be trying is Smoked and Pickled Spring Onions to use in a relish. Not only is the recipe for the relish included, but Mr. Virant also shows you how to make a stovetop smoker.
And you thought you did not need another canning book.