Review and Giveaway: "Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It"


I owe a debt to Karen Solomon. A review of her previous cookbook, "Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It," contained a reference to a burgeoning trend of the "punk domesticity of the hipster DIY movement." I felt this was a very apt turn of phrase, and it inspired the name of this site. The rest is, as they say, history.

Karen's back with a follow-up, a second volume of weekend warrior-worthy kitchen projects to deconstruct our most beloved kitchen staples, as well as a few new goodies to whet the palate:  The syntactically consistent "Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It."

Karen is also a personal friend, and so in full disclosure this review will invariably be tinged with my fondness for her, and for her spritely writing style. But even if Karen and I weren't buds, it would find "Can It" as engaging and enjoyable as its antecedent.  

"Can It" breaks down a wide variety of cooking projects of varying levels of ambitiousness, each chapter adhering to the imperative syntax of the title. Aside smoking (bottled goods mainly fit into the beverage chapter, Slurp It), there are also  chapters for making cereal (Spoon It), sweet and salty snacks (Munch It), making corn masa and its many uses (Stalk It) and even homemade cured meats such as pastrami, hot dogs and corned beef under the header Hunt It -- though presumably she has not gone hunting feral cows in the wilds of San Francisco for her quarry.

The recipes are all exceedingly approachable, rarely lapping over one page and always in a consistent format: a paragraph of grace notes, a concise list of ingredients, straightforward instructions and sensible tips on storing the final goods.

Experienced preservationists will find little new in the realm of cannable recipes; in fact only a handful of recipes call for canning. But there's still plenty to intrigue and inspire, with a number of recipes and techniques that you may not have known were feasible in the home kitchen. Puffed rice, for example, something many of us grew up with solely in Krispie form, is produced much in the same way as making popcorn, though unlike its commercial counterpart has a significantly shorter shelf life (as in a day). Reclaim the dense, chewy bagel of your youth by boiling and baking your own. Convert your leftover wine (whatever that is) into a subtle vinegar that far outsings the store-bought stuff.

Among the real whiz-bang recipes is a method to make your own miso. One of the more ambitious projects, this is upwards of a six-week fermentation process, although it is mostly inactive time.

Solomon's grace notes are the highlight of the book, though. For tepache, a lightly fermented drink of pineapple rinds, she notes, "this is an old-fashioned summer cooler ... and a popular base for hooch in Mexican prisons. It's a fun project to do with something you would normally have cast aside. Additionally, if you ever find yourself behind bars in Tijuana, you'll be able to dazzle your cellmates with your culinary chops."

This is surely a book I'll return to again and again, at least as often for the recipes as for the sparkling wit. And you can have a copy of your own. Just leave a comment about a canned, bottled or smoked product that you used to buy but now make yourself at home. For a bonus entry, click to tweet this post. The deadline is midnight on Tuesday, September 20. One lucky random comment or tweet will win this book. 


I make my own kombucha. Saves me tons of money. :)


I have started to can everything instead of buying it canned at the market. I have been stewing tomatoes, making pickles, making jam, making salsa, and canning veggies! I love every minute of it! This book would help me out a lot!


Also bread, pickles. I froze lots of tomatoes but next year they go in jars!

Jam, bread and pickles and

Jam, bread and pickles and anxious to try other things!

everything tomato

ketchup, pasta sauce, salsa

Jams, Relishes, Pickles, Pickled Veggies, Liquors & More, Oh My!

Growing veggies, canning & freezing, wild berries put away for winter use, grow our herbs to dry, make homemade herb mixes, infuse oils and vinegars. They make such lovely gifts for friends. There's such a feeling of happiness, of contentment, when doing these things for family and friends. Two loaves of bread (using homemade granola) are rising in the oven right now, waiting to be spread with homemade spiced plum strawberry amaretto jam.

Salsa! I wouldn't buy it

Salsa! I wouldn't buy it anymore if you paid me. Everyone loves to see us coming with a jar.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Mustard and pickles!

I haven't bought pickles or mustard from the store in years. So much better to make them yourself.

Jams, jellies and butters!

I never buy jams, jellies, or butters anymore,,,make tooooo many wonderful ones myself!

We started making blackberry

We started making blackberry wine last year and it's now our house wine. It's turned out surprisingly fantastic; I love that the blackberries are so prolific - and free - around our place ... although I do wish there were less thorns!

JAM! I will never buy again.

JAM! I will never buy again. I especially like the honey sweetened ones!

Kombucha baby!

We have been making mustard, jams, pickled green tomatoes, beet wine, mead, beer, and our favorite is our continuous kombucha. Also dry all our herbs, make prunes, banana chips, fruit leather, and jerky. Hoping for a bounty from our Goji berry bushes this year so we can have enough to dehydrate for winter :)

As cliche as it may sound,

As cliche as it may sound, really, the answer is jam and pickles. Because I really don't but them anymore. Really.

jams, pickles, oh my!

if i can waterbath can it, i don't buy it anymore. especially pickles and jams. but barbecue sauce, plum sauce, other savory condiments are all on the list!

pickles! & my new love:

pickles! & my new love: cucumber jelly :)


Definitely pickles. Glad that I now make my own because have you seen the color of vlasic brine? Radioactive!

Jams & sauces

I'm fairly new to canning, but have enjoyed it so much these past two summers with my family! They can a lot, but I've been doing mainly tomato sauce, peach, blueberry, and other jams, and recently I tried apple butter. SO much better than store-bought!

Love to share

We make jams, jellies & pickles & like to make something new each year. Always have lots to share with family & friends.

the longer i own my home the

the longer i own my home the larger my garden grows. every year is a new food adventure so between an ever growing strawberry patch and our blackberry and blueberry bushes we no longer go with out jam. the garden yields too many veggies to handle so we resort to pickling, sauces and relishes. we smoke our own meats, make our own breads, pretzels and pizza dough. grow herbs, infuse oils, vinegars and liquors. who ever said Buffalo New York isn't a bountiful city was a damn fool!

Pork and Beans

Pork and beans, so much better homemade!

i never ever buy bbq sauce or

i never ever buy bbq sauce or hot pepper jelly now. i used to buy both and once i learned to can... that was it. homemade!


Dilly Beans, now I can eat them with abandon!

Who knew a city girl could

Who knew a city girl could make such great jam, apple sauce, apple butter and dehydrate veggies! I am on a role!

Pickles, jam, fruit,

Pickles, jam, fruit, veggies... You name it, we can it

Any sort of saucy tomato

Any sort of saucy tomato product, other than ketchup (that's still on the to-do list!) I couldn't go back to jarred spaghetti or pizza sauce...Ew!


We still buy wine, but bottling our own is so much fun! Now our son wants to make root beer.

I'm adding new things to my "used to buy it, now I make it" list

...every day!

Tomato products have become the most recent addition.

I've always made my own smoked salmon though. Go, Alaska! ;-)

I used to buy everything, now

I used to buy everything, now I buy very little prepared products. My favourite things that I make though are yogurt, jams and vanilla. In fact I've made so much jam this summer I've started selling it!

I make my own herbal vinegars

I make my own herbal vinegars with herbs I grow on my deck garden. I plan to make infused olive oils soon when I harvest the remaining herbs before frost. Christmas gift basket items for this year.

In addition to edible items, I have used vinegars for cleaning and made oils for baths. And I make rosewater and glycerin skin toner from my rose petals, as well as a healing salve and soaps with herbs and oils.


Last year was the year of jams and jellies with 25+ kinds done. This year, not as much jam but have added tomato sauce, dilly beans, watermelon pickles (and jam), Ball's recipe for bruchetta in a jar. Today I'm working on refrigerator pickles - first Grandma's recipe, then an new zuchinni recipe.

Jam! I can't believe how much

Jam! I can't believe how much better the homemade stuff otastes too


This year, we became members of a wonderful CSA farm and have gotten all kinds of goodies. Most have been canned and are gong to be enjoyed over the winter. I love knowing where they come from and that they only contain the veggies, not a bunch of stuff I can't pronounce!

Cranberry Sauce and Salsa

Every year I make several different kinds of cranberry sauce/chutney and salsas and now I'll never go back to supermarket canned stuff. It feels great to have several varities on hand and they make the perfect gift for the holidays.

Pickled Okra

I used to buy it at the store for $4/pound, with mostly vinegar weight, but now I stalk farmer's markets for okra for that same price -- and what I don't pickle, I curry.

What don't we make?

We pretty much make our own everything that would come in a bottle or jar. 1) You know what's in it, and 2) it tastes much better. And of course it is very little work for a very great reward! (It's fun to show off to friends and guests, too.)

Bread & Jam

I make all of our jam now and we're adding to the only homemade list all the time: sandwich bread, canned fruit, tomato sauce. My goal is to keep adding to the list until it covers everything we eat that isn't grown or raised on a farm!


Relish, which I never even liked before I made it. I had no idea it could be so good!

make it at home

Pretty much everything I've made at home is better than store bought. Ice cream, cookies, bread, ketchup, pickle relish, fruit jam. It's so worth the time and energy to make your own stuff.

A way of life

I started to can when my son was 6 months old. He will be 45 years old this year. It has become a way of life that I could never give up. We raise all our veggies so I know where the food comes from and what is in it and on it. I also love having a cellar full of food at all times.

We now make pretty much

We now make pretty much everything that would normally come in a bottle or jar ourselves. It is really very little work for a very great reward! You know what's in it, you know when it was made, and it always tastes significantly better.

It all started with the jam.

It all started with the jam. I now make all my own jams and applesauce. This year I even ventured into flavored applesauce. I also do salsa and hope to soon to do my own ketchup and mustard.


Just made my first (edible) batch. As the Hubs said, "I'll take this over Heinz any day of the week."

And, p.s.? The deadline is on my birthday. Wouldn't this book make a lovely gift? Just saying. :)


I used to buy salsa occasionally but since I now can my own, I actually eat its vegetably goodness a whole lot more!

I have only just started

I have only just started canning and freezing, but I may have to put my 2 cents in for pumpkin puree and Peach Pineapple Chipotle Salsa. We use a ton of pumpkin in baking inorder to lower the fat in our recipes and Wal-Mart makes a salsa we love -- but we love our preservtive free version more :)

There are so many, but it all

There are so many, but it all started with applesauce.


In the late winter of 2010, I stopped to use the facilities at a New Jersey rest area. I parked next to a car filled with party supplies, topped by a SodaStream and several unlabeled bottles in a USPS bin. I had been pondering a sodamaker purchase, with fantasies of bespoke flavors. This image put me over the top. That night in my hotel I placed the order and haven't looked back. My latest flavor is wild blackberry. In the fridge - syrup stolen from a batch of gingered figs and lemon infused simple syrup.

I used to buy, but now

I used to buy, but now can...smoked salmon, sweet pickles, and salsa.


puttin' up all kinds of things here in the North Ga. mountains. Especially liking the lacto-fermented cabbage and peppers. Working on wine and brine hot sauces.
<3 <3 <3 Punk domestics......been very inspired by all your contributors!


puttin' up all kinds of things here in the North Ga. mountains. Especially liking the lacto-fermented cabbage and peppers. Working on wine and brine hot sauces.
<3 <3 <3 Punk domestics......been very inspired by all your contributors!

I make my own jam, bread,

I make my own jam, bread, pickles (cukes and other veg), mustard, and am planning on ketchup soon. I feel so silly having spent money on buying these in the past. Once you get the supplies, it's so much cheaper to make these things. The bigger plus is that they taste so much better!

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