Read this cookbook: “Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry, Updated and Expanded Edition” by Liana Krissoff (Abrams, $27.50).
Bumping in to an old friend who’s put on a few inches can elicit any number of responses, from gasps to bemused smiles. Not so with the hefty new version of Liana Krissoff’s essential “Canning for a New Generation” (2010), which clocks in a full 50 recipes thicker than the lithe, 200-recipe original.
This is the book I learned to can with, redux. So I can tell you straight away that the instructions for Strawberry and Lavender Jam; Blackberry Jam with Lemon Zest; Slow-Roasted Fig Preserves with Lemon; Pear and Ginger Preserves and a good many others have been well tested and blissfully spooned over biscuits by this reporter.
From the former Athens writer’s maiden canning manual, I learned you don’t have to over-sugar fruit or use store-bought pectin. (Apple trimmings, citrus peel and under-ripe fruit are all naturally endowed with the gelling agent.) “I still use very little sugar in my preserves,” Krissoff writes in her preface, “but sugar itself, where it’s appropriate, doesn’t bother me as much as it did when I first started learning to can.” As a lover of old-fashioned jams and jellies, I’ll second (and third) that.
So what’s new here?
Well, a good many fermented fruits and veggies; more dried and dehydrated produce; DIY grenadine and ginger ale; and the absolutely wonderful sounding Carrot-Cardamom Sweet with Pistachios (a refrigerator condiment) and Blackberry Jam with Cracked Coriander.
As always, Krissoff includes recipes for dishes that actually call for her preserves so you can use ’em up and not let ’em molder. Thus the spicy green-mango condiment known as amba is slathered on an eggplant cutlet pita sandwich. And gosh, does it look good!
A lot can happen in five years. Krissoff has moved twice (from Georgia to Nebraska to West Virginia). The maker of Ball and Kerr products issued an edict saying you no longer have to heat the lids for jars processed 10 minutes or longer, thus making canning easier and more accessible. As the times have changed, so has this classic. And I’m thrilled to say: Hello, old pal. You’re looking swell.