Preserved foods to inspire the home cook

  • Article by: BETH DOOLEY , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 5, 2012 - 5:46 PM

Make the most of all that home-grown, locally produced or even foraged food with these luscious kitchen guides.

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Toasted hazelnuts, sugar and cocoa combine to make a delicious dessert spread.

Photo: , America's Test Kitchen

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What a wealth of cookbooks on pickles, jams and other staples for your dinner table.

"Marmalade: Sweet & Savory Spreads for a Sophisticated Taste," by Elizabeth Field, photographs by Helene Dujardin (Running Press, $18). Lest you think marmalade is always orange, open these pages to the range of possibilities -- rhubarb, double ginger pear, orange-pomegranate, and savory options with onions, tomatoes and tomatillos. This sweet little book is old-fashioned and lively, and I felt as though Field herself were standing beside me, showing me when to pull the pot from the stove to ladle the pink grapefruit marmalade into jars. I imagined we'd sit down afterward with scones and tea.

"Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year Round," by Marisa McClellan (Running Press, $23). This collection is a charming introduction to preserving food in small batches. McClellan's recipes for jellies, marmalades, chutneys, pickles, jams, even nut butters and granola, are simple and inspired: strawberry vanilla jam, honey lemon marmalade, maple almond butter. Buy a copy now to use in making your holiday gifts and if you run out of time, simply wrap and give the book itself.

"Preserving: The Canning and Freezing Guide for All Seasons," by Pat Crocker (William Morrow, $30). An encyclopedia of preserving, the book is a straightforward, no-nonsense guide to putting up the year's bounty. The book's sections are organized by season with sub-chapters arranged by fruit or vegetable alphabetically. It's a hefty 500-plus pages with two to three preserve recipes per fruit or vegetable and several related recipes and ideas for using them up.

"Preserving Wild Foods: A Modern Forager's Recipes for Curing, Canning, Smoking, Pickling," by Matthew Weingarten and Raquel Pelzel (Storey, $19.95). This is a serious book for the committed forager who sallies undaunted o'er beaches, hedgerows, fields, forests and wetlands. With lovely photos and detailed recipes, the authors offer a range of pickles, preserves, smoked, brined, fermented foods. Some are as easy as pickled rhubarb, others as tricky as duck prosciutto.

"D.I.Y. Cookbook: Can It, Cure It, Churn It, Brew It," by America's Test Kitchen. (America's Test Kitchen, $26.95). Do it yourself, indeed. Whether it's making your own mustard, wine vinegar, apple butter, harissa, caramelized onion jam, duck prosciutto, Greek-style yogurt or more -- much more -- the experts at America's Test Kitchen will show you how in great detail and with photos.

Beth Dooley is the author of "The Northern Heartland Kitchen."

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