Have you ever tried to pickle or jar food?

Kelly Rossiter

In the past couple of weeks I've been canning and preserving like a woman possessed. I've already got close to 100 jars lining the shelves and we are just nicely into August. One of the reasons I've been doing so much is that I have a copy of the Williams-Sonoma cookbook The Art of Preserving and every time I open it I find another recipe I want to try. In fact I'm having trouble writing this because I keep getting side-tracked reading recipes.

This book covers a lot of ground and has recipes that are classics, like strawberry jam or pickled beets, and some that are a bit unusual like spiced pumpkin butter or rhubarb mint chutney. I've made a number of things from the book so far, and I've been extremely happy with the results. Like the other Williams-Sonoma cookbook I have, Cooking From the Farmers' Market, this is nicely laid out, with concise, well written recipes and lots of full colour photos. This cookbook also gives you some recipes using the preserves, just as my other favourite canning book Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone does.

This gives you all the information you need if you are a novice to canning and preserving, but if you already know all that stuff, you can just go straight to all of the delicious sounding recipes. There is also good information about yields, so if your recipe calls for fruit in pounds, you can look up and see how many cups that would be, which can make it much easier. They also give you a recipe for making your own pectin from apples, or your own pickling spice mixture. There are also recipes for infused spirits so you can use up all those extra handfuls of herbs in your garden, and enjoy a cocktail at the same time.

I made this recipe of Giardiniera this week and one of the jars didn't seal. I thought I would keep it in the fridge and we could dip into the jar occasionally. They were so delicious that after two days the jar is almost empty, and I'm thinking I'll have to make this again because what I have left in inventory won't be enough for the winter. This is a very easy recipe, although there is a bit of chopping involved. It's also really beautiful in the jar because of the variety of vegetables and they all retained their vibrant colour.

This recipe is from Williams-Sonoma, The Art of Preserving.