Earlier this summer, I purchased this amazing book by Karen Solomon:

jamitpickleitcureitI bought it for one, very specific reason. I was scared to death of canning. Seriously. I thought I was going to blow up our kitchen. I had read internet article after internet article and the only result was a list of dangers to add to my fears (like poisoning my family with poorly preserved food). So I essentially bought Solomon’s book for the four page inner section on canning in order to overcome my fear. I had no idea it would do that and so much more. I haven’t tried all of the recipes from this book that I’d like to, but based on the ones I have tried I can honestly say this book is worth every penny. The instructions are so easy to follow, and Solomon’s writing makes even the directions fun to read.

The first recipe I tried were the Super-Duper Garlic Pickles (a variation on her Pickled Green Beans recipe). I was hesitant, not only because we tend to be “pickle snobs” around here, but also because I felt that I was in some way betraying my dear grandmother in not using her recipe for my first attempt at pickle-making. Well, sorry Grams, but I don’t know if I’ll every waste my time with another pickle recipe again. J and I both agreed that these pickles were better than the $6/jar gourmet version we’d been buying and friends said they were the best pickles they’d ever had. And I didn’t even process them! They were refrigerator pickles! They were so good, my mouth is watering for more as I write this.

The next recipe I tried was the Basic Pasta Dough, using it to make ravioli (though I altered the filling to suit what I had on hand). Despite not being able to cook them immediately and lugging them on vacation with us all the way to Michigan, they were delicious. It’s a recipe I will go back to regularly.

Finally, my most recent experiment was with the Limoncello recipe. I had never had limoncello before making it myself, but my love of all things lemony compulsed me to give it a try. I started the recipe well over a month ago, letting each phase rest for the suggested amount of time and finally pouring the first glass last night. Let me tell you, it was lemon heaven. It made me want to round up as many lemons as I can find and make batch after batch. It’s good – dangerously good.

Limoncello

And I have overcome my fear of canning. So far I’ve made salsa and the pear plum jam I mentioned in my last post. The book gave me the confidence boost I needed to give it a try, and of course, everything turned out beautifully (still more to come on the jam). So thank you Karen Solomon for writing this book! It’s one I strongly recommend to anyone who loves food. You can get your own copy here.

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