Those of you who like to put up food have likely heard of Kevin West’s book Saving the Season: A cook’s guide to home canning, pickling, and preserving. If you haven’t, read on. West’s book is one you want to shelve in your permanent collection.
“It’s not without reason that we’ve learned to watch
The rising and the setting of the stars,
Marking the equal seasons as they change.”
—Virgil’s “First Georgic”
Poetic, literary, and downright practical, Saving the Season is a rarity among cookbooks. Packed with 220 modern classic recipes for sweet and savory jams, pickles, cordials, cocktails, candies, and fermented foods, it’s difficult to decide where to begin, each recipe is worth savoring. I recommend one recipe per season, starting with winter and working your way to next fall: Vin de Pamplemousse, Taqueria Style Pickled Carrots, Tomato Jam with Smoked Paprika, and Walnuts in Maple Syrup and Brandy.
Essential canning science and know how are included as well and prove to be invaluable for new and experienced cooks. Who hasn’t wondered once or twice why home canning works, what’s the scoop on botulism, and how to “put up” through all four seasons. With full page color photographs throughout, Saving the Season delivers as much art as it does craft in this must read guide.
The book pays homage to West’s southern roots that included putting up food with his family in their rural Blount County, Tennessee kitchen. Musings on family tradition, history, and philosophy make this a thought-provoking read.