Having relatively recently come to the world of canning, I wish I had had a book like "Tart and Sweet" from the beginning. The internet is full of wildly varying information, and the Ball Blue Book is great if not a bit clinically matter-of-fact, but it's nice to have a resource that both informs and inspires.
Authors Kelly Geary (Sweet Deliverance, NYC) and Jessie Knadler waste no time getting right to the basics: The first four chapters are devoted specifically to subjects like a Step by Step Water Bath Canning Guide and a Pickle Primer. Everything you need to know to get started is here, from tools to an acidity chart, an explanation of head space and much more. Plus, it’s explained in an easy, conversational tone and accompanied by some really beautiful pictures by photographer Ellen Silverman.
Around Chapter 5, things really take off with loads of recipes that encompass a wide range of tastes including fruit jams and spreads, condiments, pickled veggies, syrups and chutneys. The recipes are conveniently divided up by season so you can take advantage of the best of your local produce. Recipe difficulty is noted by can icons: One can indicates an easy recipe, while three cans represent the more difficult ones. Recipes range from basics such as raspberry jam and apple butter to more esoteric combinations like Soy Garlic Cherry Tomatoes or Carrot Habanero Hot Sauce. We were especially taken with the recipe for Wasabi Green Beans, reprinted here with permission from Rodale Books; photo by Ellen Silverman.
Wasabi Green Beans4 cups brown rice vinegar
2 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt
4 pounds green beans, trimmed to fit into jars
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons wasabi powder
Bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil in a medium nonreactive pot. Stir to dissolve the salt. Place garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi powder in each hot jar. Pack the beans in tightly.
Pour boiling brine over the beans, leaving 1⁄2 inch headspace and making sure the beans are submerged. Check for air bubbles, wipe the rims, and seal. Process for 10 minutes, adjusting for elevation. Yield: 4 pints
One of the things that sets "Tart and Sweet" apart from many of the other canning books I’ve come across is that it includes additional recipes using your canned goods. For instance, the Canned Cherry recipe is accompanied by a recipe for some delicious sounding Cherry Lemon Muffins. There aren’t tons of these, but enough to break things up and keep it interesting.
Rounding out the book are two final chapters, one that gives some interesting uses for your canned goods as well as some fun combinations of recipes and ideas for packaging and labeling. The last chapter provides solutions for common canning problems and answers question pertaining to canning, pickling and fermentation.
If you’re thinking of launching into the world of canning, "Tart and Sweet" is a terrific, comprehensive book that will take you from the first steps to becoming a canning pro. For those who are old hands at the process, there are plenty of unique and interesting recipes here to keep you satisfied.
We've got one copy of "Tart and Sweet" to give to a lucky recipient. All you need to do is to leave a comment on this post letting us know what your favorite pickle to make is. (Be sure to enter your email so I know how to contact you if you win.) For a bonus entry, click to tweet this post. Entries will be open through midnight PDT on July 17. Go on, you know you want it.