Hello. My name is Kim and I am a cookbook-aholic. I’ve flagged more cookbook recipes than would be humanly possible to make in a single lifetime. Yet my obsession with acquiring new and old cookbooks persists unabated. This month I share my compulsive tendencies via the “21 Days” series, featuring some of my favorite cookbooks from local authors and publishers. Please feel free to join me in finding new cookbooks to feed our passion at any of my favorite Triangle indie book sellers: The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books, Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh or McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro’s Fearrington Village.
Canning can become a bit of an addiction, one with changing cravings throughout the year. For me, it begins with strawberries in the spring and doesn’t let up until the last jar of apple butter is tucked safely away in the pantry as fall comes to a close. Those cravings can be sweet or tart or spicy. Fortunately, the Savor the South cookbook “Pickles & Preserves” covers all those hankerings, throughout the seasons.
While most of the Savor the South cookbooks focus on a single ingredient, this latest book, authored by N&O food writer Andrea Weigl, features all sorts of ingredients that can be “put up”. Fifty recipes are featured in chapters that include jams and jellies, pickles, relishes and chutneys. Weigl thoroughly covers the do’s and don’ts of hot water bath canning, the equipment needed, as well as tips to help the home preservationist be most successful. After closely reviewing those important details, readers should be ready to start their first batch of Strawberry Preserves, Peach-Orange Marmalade or Blackberry Jam.
Even if you don’t have the inclination to try the hot water bath method, you’ll find recipes for refrigerator jelly, freezer jams, and a Refrigerator Sweet Potato Butter (pictured above) that are so simple and yield perfect results every time. Those successes might leave you inspired to step up your canning game and tackle your first batch of (the very popular) Yellow Squash Pickles or perhaps Peach Chutney. Helpful head notes to each recipe include uses for the finished product (beyond slathering a biscuit with a thick layer of jam… though that’s probably the best use).
I’ve not covered all the cookbooks released in the Savor the South series (though I do own each of them). There are two more cookbooks coming next month, one from April McGreger (of Farmer’s Daughter fame) all about “Sweet Potatoes” and a second book from Debbie Moose to celebrate “Southern Holidays”. If you want to meet the cookbook authors in person next month, you might want to make a trip to Greensboro for the Savor the South Weekend (Sept. 26-28). Looks like it will be a weekend of good food and fun.