Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Preserving Answer Book: Expert Tips, Techniques, and Best Methods for Preserving All Your Favorite Foods

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The Preserving Answer Book is a comprehensive and well written food preservation title with a Q&A format curated and presented by Sherri Brooks Vinton. Originally published in 2014, this second revised edition is due out 2nd March 2021 from Storey Publishing. It's 256 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats.

The Q&A format takes some getting used to. There are numerous recipes included, and they're clearly listed and easy-to-find in the cross referenced index, but it can be difficult to find a specific bit of info on the fly. (The search feature in the electronic version of the book is a life-saver). The chapters are arranged in a logical progression: an introduction on why and how to start preserving food and why readers would want to, the  processes involved in safely preserving food, followed by the bulk of the recipes arranged thematically: spreads, pickles, sauces, vegetables, whole fruits, and tomatoes & tomato products. The appendices include a metric conversion chart, resources and supplies lists, and a good index.

Each of the recipes contains an introduction including yields, bullet list of ingredients (measures are given only in American/imperial measures, with a metric conversion chart in the appendices), followed by step by step instructions. Nutritional information is not included. Ingredients are simple and will be widely available. The author has included some good tips about sourcing food to preserve without gardening (buying local, farmers' markets, etc). 

There is very little photography in the book. Some of the recipes and content sections are accompanied by simple line drawn graphics. The whole has a nostalgic vibe - reminded me of the old "Whole Earth Catalog" line drawings. Readers who are heavily visual learners will likely feel the lack.

Four stars. I would recommend it for library acquisition, gardening/food groups, or home use. I would not recommend it as a standalone option - it's not going to replace Ball's Blue Book or the John Seymour classics anytime soon. There is some good info to be found here though. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes. 

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