Saturday, June 13, 2009

Preserving the Taste, again

When the New York Times had an article a few weeks ago about the revived craft of canning and preserving, this book, Preserving the Taste, by Edon Waycott, was called the "bible" of the new canning movement. I tried three times to buy it online, and each time got an email that the book was no longer available.
The other day, I had the chance to buy some raspberries for making jam, so I tried again to find the book online. At, which is a site that accesses hundreds of online booksellers, there were only about six copies available. The first one, for $6, was of course not really available, I discovered; the next one was priced at $67.11, from Alibris. But after that the prices rose steeply, to $3,725.23 in Germany!

Luckily the copy that my library owns was back on the shelves, so I raced over there to check it out. I debated whether I should tell them that their copy was now worth thousands of dollars. Nah, then they might put it on reserve and I wouldn't get to take it home, and then photocopy it before I take it back.

I've been using it, and I don't know if it's worth $3K, but it's really good. The recipes use less sugar (for the jams) and less salt (for the pickles). There is a recipe for making your own pectin! Apparently homemade pectin doesn't require the large amounts of sugar that store-bought pectin requires, and it's easy to make from green apples. We don't have any apples at all this year, but next summer, early in the summer before preserving season kicks into high gear, I plan to make a lot of pectin and freeze it.

Today I made nectarine and raspberry preserves from a recipe in the book. I got the nectarines at Walmart (Ok, I'm not a snob about these things; I know that local and organic is better, but there are no local nectarines as far as I can tell, and they were cheap and good); and I got the black raspberries from Brinna Spaetgens, who is managing Hidden Springs Orchard this year.

You slice up the nectarines (8 cups), add 3 cups of sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and let them macerate overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, you put the nectarines in a colander in a bowl and let all the juice drip out for thirty minutes. Next, you boil that sugary juice for 30 minutes, skimming the foam. Then add the nectarines back into the syrup, boil for ten minutes, and then add the raspberries for another five minutes of boiling. Pack as usual and process for five minutes. What pretty jars!

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