Monday, August 12, 2013
The Amish Canning Cookbook
By Georgia Varozza
Published by Harvest House, July 2013
Something that features in almost every Amish fiction book I have read is canning, whether the characters are actually engaged in canning their home-grown produce or simply cooking using foods they had canned the previous summer. It looks quite hard but very rewarding work and it must be gratifying indeed to be able to eat one's own harvest over a period of months, long after the fresh growing season has passed.
Although in the past I have made my own jams at home, I have never attempted anything more adventurous and I was hoping that this book would give me a good basic knowledge of the principles and practice of canning - though it would more accurately be described in the UK as "bottling". Georgia Varozza's book certainly does give a comprehensive guide to how the Amish preserve their food, augmented with some modern scientific data and advice to ensure safe production and storage.
I was under the impression that it was mostly fruit and vegetables, chutneys, relishes pickles etc that were canned so I was fascinated to read about how it is possible to can meat too. Both water-bath canning and pressure-canning are described, and it is really helpful to have plenty of sidebar space specifically designed so you are able to add your own notes and comments to the recipes. Both the information and layout have been carefully thought through and the book is well-designed, with a spiral bound cover for added practicality.
If you are expecting a glossy illustrated book, this is probably not what you are looking for, but if you want a usable and highly informative 272 (in the UK edition) page guide to the do's and don'ts of canning, complete with recipes and a great troubleshooting section, this is likely to be the book for you!