Cabbage is your friend! Whether you're working with the Western globes in green or red, or crisp heads of napa cabbage, a little salt, time and patience can turn it into a traditional condiment with a global footprint. From tangy sauerkraut to spicy kimchi and beyond, here's a few ways to make the most of this ubiqutous veg.
Jewels from the ground, beets delight with their earthy sweetness. Whether you like ruby red, golden, or candy-stripe Chioggia, here's a bunch of ways to put up these gemlike roots.
Citrus is in, and nothing captures the essence of these sunny fruits like marmalade, whether you're making the classic orange or dabbling in other citrus.
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As I noted, 2014 was an extraordinary year for DIY food books, with volumes that took the genre to new heights. Each takes its corner, in some cases combining preserving with everyday cookery, as in Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry and Blue Chair Cooks with Jam and Marmalade. Others find niches, as with Asian Pickles. Leda Meredith goes deep down the preserving rabbithole with the aptly named Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke, and Store Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Milk, and More (Countryman Know How).
The title is brazen, to be sure, and Meredith cops to that right off the top. Without question, this book will not specifically hold your hand and walk you through the hows and whys of preserving each and every specific thing, but by plainly outlying the principles and techniques of preservation, she will leave you empowered with the knowledge you need to take on, well, everything.
Funny to say, delicious to preserve. Kumquats pack a potent punch of citric tartness in a tiny package. Unlike their cousins, kumquats invert the paradigm, with mild rinds and sour-bitter pulp. They add a distinctive flavor to all kinds of preserves, like these.
Lovely lemons bring a ray of sunshine during the cold, dark winter months. If you're lucky enough to have a neighbor with a tree, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the bounty. (If you don't, be sure to order some fragrant meyers from Lemon Ladies here in the Bay Area, trust.) Here's a bushel of ways to put the lemons by.
In the dead of winter, no fruit brings a beam of sunshine better than the bright sweetness of oranges. Whether you're working with bitter Sevilles, sanguine blood oranges or sweet-tart cara caras, we've got a bushel of ideas on putting up everyone's favorite citrus.
Many people enjoy receiving a bottle of a nice liqueur as a holiday gift. When it's handmade, it makes it both delicious and personal. Here's a bunch of our favorite DIY liqueurs perfect for gifting.
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Among the very excellent DIY food books that have come out this year, there's one I am particularly excited about. Rachel Saunders' inaugural book, The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, is absolutely my go-to cookbook for jams, jellies and preserves. Saunders' recipes are no-fail, generally focusing on single-fruit preserves, often accentuated with a single enhancing flavor. She also relies on maceration to create jams with a natural set that requires no added pectin even for low-pectin fruits like strawberries.
With her follow-up book, Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade, Saunders takes on what to do with the open jar, integrating jams, jellies and marmalades into everyday dishes. Breakfasts and desserts are the low-hanging fruit (so to speak), and there's plenty of ideas here, but the best aha moments come from her applications of jams to savory dishes.