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Book Review: Jam Session

August/September 2018 Issue
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Jam Session

A Fruit-Preserving Handbook
By Joyce Goldstein
(Lorena Jones Books;$24.99)

Many things might ignite a passion for preserving: a bountiful garden, ambition, curiosity, thrift. For me, it’s nostalgia. Preserving lets me return to summer and revel in its flavors and aromas long after the season is gone. There’s something magical about the way that making a batch of jam allows me to encapsulate an experience—those golden hours with my children in a berry bramble or the mountain hike that yielded an unexpected bounty of wild huckleberries—and, months later, to savor it again by simply opening a jar. All sentiment aside, no one would bother making preserves if they weren’t delicious. The flavor and mouth-feel of homemade chutneys, conserves, pickles, salsas, jams, and marmalades are infinitely superior to mass-produced options, which rarely display nuance, style, or verve. Whether you want to get started with preserving or to take your hobby to the next level, this inviting new book by master preserver Joyce Goldstein, a retired chef and author of 25 books, provides everything you need to know. Her instructions are straightforward, her 80 recipes foolproof. (Goldstein is a famously meticulous recipe developer.)

Every project begins, of course, with choosing the best produce, ripe and aromatic. Pretty doesn’t matter. Flavor does. “Preserve only the fruit that is truly memorable,” Goldstein writes. And once you’ve mastered the basic techniques of preserving, “you can think like a cook and play with your produce. You can be as creative as you like.” Whether those blushing apricots become jam for breakfast, tangy chutney for a roast, or spicy mostarda to serve with cheese is entirely up to you. It’s here—at the intersection of craft and creativity—that Goldstein’s book distinguishes itself. Beyond the essential processes, the ABCs of food safety, and the tried-and-true recipes, Goldstein brings decades of wisdom and genuine passion. And she also beckons us to take what we’ve learned from her and have fun by concocting our own recipes that suit our tastes to a tee.

Don’t Miss: Woodland Cherry Preserve. An infusion of bay leaves lends a beguiling woodsiness to this tangy-sweet treat.

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