Customer Review

267 of 269 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pam the Jam, 21 Aug. 2008
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This review is from: Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2 (Hardcover)
Hugh Fearney-Whittingstall hired Pam Corbin to organise River Cottage's Preserving Days, and she's done him proud with this handbook. She's fairly strongly pro-bottling, pickling and general jamming, and is keen to remind us that's just how life was, not very long ago. For her, preserving is not just a fun activity, it's a way of using up seasonal gluts and honoring the ebb and flow of the vegetable world.

She's meticulous on health and safety in a modern up-to-date way, and there's some really useful stuff I've never seen before, like sterilising, filling and sealing tables - chutneys are treated slightly differently than marmalades etc, which makes you feel in incredibly safe hands. And three different tests for setting! Encyclopedic!

Of course the real test is the recipes, which others have already recommended. I like the fact that each one is on its own page, that the design is beautiful, and that there's lots of illustrations to tempt me. I also like the seasonal advice that tells you when to make a particular preserve.

Also, Pam suggests tempting useful variations to each (Whiskey marmalade; indian spices like fenugreek in the rhubarb relish; pickled crab apples instead of pears).

Things I was delighted to know how to make: passata; harissa; quince jelly (for manchego); italian figs in mustard sauce.

Things I am amazed to know how to make: hawthorn ketchup; compost heap jelly; nasturtium capers; fruit "leather".

Honestly, buy it, have a go, it's such good fun.

Update, 12 Jan 2009 - just made the whole fruit marmalade - the most delicious marmalade ever!
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Feb 2009 13:17:07 GMT
What a fab, yummy book!

Posted on 21 May 2009 13:08:25 BDT
C. Dimmer says:
Thank you for such a comprehensive review that totally convinced me that this was a 'must have' book on 'jamming'!

Posted on 25 Jun 2009 09:45:16 BDT
Moana says:
I'm pleased to see that folks are getting back into making the most of what they grow and can gather from the hedgerows. I wonder if we Brits will ever get into canning, bottling and smoking. The Americans are into such things on a grand scale. I make my own jams, jellies, chutneys, breads and butters, but my kitchen is packed to bursting point with enough gadgets without starting a new hobby.

Thank you Emma for your review on this book.

Sylvia (who cooks and bakes a lot) <Scotland>

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2009 13:00:09 BDT
Oh yes, well anyone who is interested to know how life would be if lived for canning, should read Barbara Kingsolver's 'Animal Vegetable Miracle" that came out last year I think. A brilliant book, but she seems to spend much of the summer sweating over the stove to can her tomato crop....

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2011 16:44:03 GMT
Mandy says:
The American have much more support for home canning and bottling through college extension services and government guidance.

When I contacted the HPA and the government food dept (I forget its name) the advise I got was "don't do it. Stick to commercial products." and a recommendation for microbiology book on botulism!!!
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