Unlike fictional novels, cookbooks tend to be released in two distinct seasons: spring and fall. There are the odd ones that get launched into the world in February, July and December, but it isn’t too common. This should explain why you see more cookbook coverage here in April, May, September, and October, then any other time of year. Fortunately for me, as a blogger, author and food editor I receive a lot of the new releases for review, and my desk is currently home a stack of this spring’s hottest titles that are waiting to find a permanent place on my beloved cookbook bookshelf. I have diverse cooking interests so this thrills me, and I’m equally excited to see a new baby food cookbook or family dinner recipe collection as I am a book on frozen treats or home preserving.
Without a doubt, one of the most stylish books to land in my kitchen this season is Batch: Over 200 Recipes, Tips and Techniques for a Well Preserved Kitchen. Written by Torontonians Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison this much-anticipated tome – it really does have an approachable scholarly feel to it – is a feast for both the eyes and stomach and takes readers on a walk through seven different methods for preserving food at home (waterbath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, fermenting, cellaring, salting & smoking, and infusing). Written with a friendly and encouraging tone, the book continues to take readers through 25 favourite “market” ingredients, each of which lists multiple recipes that use a combination of the preserving methods mentioned at the beginning of the book. Each recipe notes the skill level required to complete it, allowing enthusiasts to dip their toes into the preserving pond at a pace that’s comfortable to them.