Books In Review - Food In Jars by Marisa McClellan and Canning For a New Generation by Liana Krissoff

Although I typically only review one book at a time, I thought it appropriate to review both canning books I've been using for my "canning-pa-looza" events the last couple of weeks.

Let me first talk about the similarities/things I like about both books.  I like the feel of each of them, meaning, the style of the book, the way each book is written and the beautiful photographs.  There are many unique recipes in each book which is what attracted me to them in the first place.  I also enjoy the fact that both books have beautifully detailed the basics in the front, and then, throughout the recipes, refer you back to the basics.

Canning For a New Generation by Liana Krissoff
There isn't one thing I don't like about this book or the recipes I've tried thus far.  The book is laid out by seasons which I find completely helpful.  You have each season of fruit and each season of veggies.  It makes it easy to find a recipe perfect for that fruit or veggie that you've just plain got too much of.

Liana writes as I would imagine she speaks, and I like that in a book.  It feels friendly.  Her recipes that I've tried have been spot-on.  If she tells me a recipe makes 4 pints, the recipe makes 4 pints.  If she tells me it takes 45 minutes of simmering to achieve the desired consistency, then that's almost exactly what it takes.  I also like her approach to jam - using apples for pectin as much as possible.

There's a nice array of both typical staples as well as some fun alternatives.  Another wonderful addition to this book is freezing information for the fruit or veg in that particular season.

The recipes I've tried so far:  Peaches in Vanilla Syrup {her recipe for Toffee-Topped Vanilla Peaches sounds amazing and I can't wait to try it}, Classic Peach Jam, Simple Pickled Jalapeno Slices, Roasted Red Peppers with Lemon Juice, All-Purpose Tomato Sauce, Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, and Good Ketchup.  All have been successful.

Food In Jars by Marisa McClellan
This book is full of beautiful photos and some very intriguing recipes, however, I've had minor issues with almost every recipe I've made.  That being said, with the exception of one recipe, they've all turned out well and the issues were, as I stated above, very minor.

Marisa also writes as I'd imagine she speaks which makes the book feel the opposite of some of the older canning books, not so stuffy.  It has personality.  The book is laid out by types of recipes {i.e. pickles, jams, chutneys and condiments, etc.}.  The Tomato Jam is reason enough to buy this book.  It's delicious.  Spicy, sweet, odd, but oh-so-good.

There are a lot of wonderful sounding recipes I can't wait to try.  Here's what I've tried so far, with the issues noted:  Cantaloupe Jam {recipe states it makes 3 half-pints, it only made 2 half-pints}, Amy's Tomato Jam {I could not get the recipe to get sticky like jam - I canned it anyway and it's still delish}, Grape Ketchup {after 3 hours I could not get a spreadable consistency and when I tasted it the next day it tasted like an awful thick grape soda with cinnamon and cloves added}, Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Roasted Corn Salsa {called for 8 ears of corn in the ingredients list and later said you should have 4 cups of roasted corn......1 ear of corn = 1 cup of roasted corn so I had roasted 4 ears too many if I followed the ingredients list}, and Basic Tomato Salsa.

All-in-all, both are excellent books and, in my opinion, a great addition to anyone's canning library.

**Disclaimer - I purchased these books on my own and was not asked to review them by anyone.**


from maggie's farm said...

Excellent, helpful reviews. Thanks so much for your candor.

daisy said...

Good to know!

Marisa said...

I am so sorry to hear that you've been so unhappy with the recipes from my book! I'm particularly intrigued to hear that you get a whole cup of corn from a single cob. Mine always yield between 1/3 and 1/2 a cup. I am happy to hear that you like the tomato jam, though. That's one of my perennial favorites.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks Maggie and Daisy! Marisa - thank you very much for your comment. I didn't mean for it to come across that I was so unhappy as I love the recipes and will continue making more. The Nectarine-Lime Jam is next on my list!