Gift Guide: Best DIY Books of 2015 | Punk Domestics

Gift Guide: Best DIY Books of 2015

The field of excellent DIY and preserving books marches on this year, continuing the trend from 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011. Many of these authors are colleagues and contemporaries, as well as contributors to the Punk Domestics community. This year's big trend appears to be books that integrate food preservation with everyday cookery. Here's a handful of favorites, ranging from the broad to the specific. (Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for from which I may derive a nominal amount of revenue.)

The Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss, found on PunkDomestics.comThe Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss
The force behind Northwest Edible Life's debut book is a great resource for anyone interested in getting more hands-on with their home life, and introducing more natural ingredients and products into the process.

The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila, found on PunkDomestics.comThe Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila
An expansion on The Homemade Pantry, Chernila's latest is a meditation on making the kitchen a sane and sensible place from which inspiration flows naturally. There's plenty of preserving in there, but it all ties into a holistic, integrated approach to cooking.

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque, found on PunkDomestics.comBrown Eggs and Jam Jars by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque
Simple Bites' blogger has come out with a work that's not just a cookbook; it's a lifebook. It's equal parts Laura Ingalls Wilder and Martha Stewart.

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque, found on PunkDomestics.comFood Gift Love by Maggie Battista
The woman behind Eat Boutique offers her best suggestions for DIY gifting, including liqueurs, pickles, and much more. Give this to yourself in time to kick off some projects to give away later.

The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How by Andrea Chesman, found on The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How by Andrea Chesman
The successful homestead goes beyond the garden. This follow-up to the hugely successful The Backyard Homestead closes the gap between field and table, with a 360º view of all manner of preparing, preserving, and cooking pretty much everything.

The Canning Kitchen by Amy Bronee, found on The Canning Kitchen by Amy Bronee
From the classics to the more outlandish, Bronee dishes up 101 small-batch recipes for canning preserves, pickles and condiments to enhance meals all year long.

The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson, found on PunkDomestics.comThe Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson
The South's most esteemed chef focuses on ultra-seasonal fare, with oodles of inspiration for fresh fruits and vegetables, including plenty of ideas for preserving and fermentation. Read my inteview with Chef Acheson.

Preserving the Japanese Way by Nancy Singleton Hachisu, found on PunkDomestics.comPreserving the Japanese Way by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Japan has a unique preserving culture all its own, using things as commonplace as salt to make cured plums known as umeboshi to vegetables fermented in miso or soy lees. Hachisu's perspective living on a Japanese farm provides insight and inspiration.

Ferment Your Vegetables by Amanda Feifer, found on PunkDomestics.comFerment Your Vegetables by Amanda Feifer
Longtime Punk Domestics contributor Amanda Feifer of Phickle flexes her fermentation muscles, offering up a kaleidoscopic array of ways to turn your veggies into probiotic pickles.

The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher, found on PunkDomestics.comThe Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher
Unsatisfied with synthetic enzymes and starters, David Asher sought to make cheese in the traditional way, with natural ingredients, following the principles of Sandor Ellix Katz's Wild Fermentation. From simple kefir to sophisticated cheese aged in jars, this book is a revelation. Read my interview with David Asher.

Kitchen Creamery by Louella Hill, found on PunkDomestics.comKitchen Creamery by Louella Hill
San Francisco's esteemed Milk Maid boils down her expansive knowledge of cheesemaking into an intuitive, engaging tome that will inspire novices and dairy warriors alike to take on home cheesemaking.

Yogurt Culture by Cheryl Strernman Rule, found on PunkDomestics.comYogurt Culture by Cheryl Strernman Rule
Rule delves into the rich and diverse ways yogurt can be used in the kitchen, offering 115 recipes that incorporate it, such as how it makes baked goods tender, like in a orange and olive oil cake. It also has lucid instructions on how to make your own yogurt, with some good insight on a few different methods for incubation.

Jerky Everything by Pamela Braun, found on PunkDomestics.comJerky Everything by Pamela Braun
While it may seem like a narrow topic, jerky has many faces and flavors, and this book lays out quite a lot of them, drawing from a panoply of global flavors. Mexican, Thai, Korean, Cajun and other influences that pepper the recipes.

Jerky Everything by Pamela Braun, found on PunkDomestics.comSalsas and Moles by Deborah Schneider
The California and Arizona chef opens the Mexican pantry for home cooks everywhere, and inspires the creation and use of these versatile sauces, like a classic mole negro.

Wild Drinks & Cocktails by Emily Han, found on Wild Drinks & Cocktails by Emily Han
Han applies her forager's skills to finding the best ingredients for a variety of beverages, from healthful tisanes to syrups and shrubs, and extends them into craftful cocktails as well.

Steeped by Annelies Zijderveld, found on Steeped by Annelies Zijderveld
Zijderveld explores the use of various teas as flavoring agents much as you would go spelunking in your spice drawer. By using different techniques, she teases out different aspects of each tea to particular effect, such as in a sweet tea jelly.

Brew Better Beer by Emma Christensen, found on Brew Better Beer by Emma Christensen
Whether you're a newbie to the home brewing scene or a seasoned brewer looking to up your game, Christensen demysifies the principles of home brewing and delivers simple, erudite tips to making the best beer you can.

Make Mead Like a Viking by Jereme Zimmerman, found on Make Mead Like a Viking by Jereme Zimmerman
If you're looking to go really old school with your fermented beverages, follow the lead of "Appalachian Yeti Viking" Jereme Zimmerman to learn how to make one of the world's oldest beverages with natural ingredients and wild yeasts.

Good Food, Great Business by Susie Wyshak, found on Good Food, Great Business by Susie Wyshak
A longtime avid fan of artisan food businesses, Wyshak became passionate about helping would-be businessespeople take those first and most important steps. She then distilled that information into an amazingly lucid and inspirational book. If you're interested in taking your craft food to market, start here.


Recipes - Techniques - Tools