We Sure Can: How Jams and Pickles are Reviving the Lure and Lore of Local Food – Sarah B. Hood (2011, Arsenal Pulp Press, Vancouver)
I’m a huge canning and preserving enthusiast, so as soon as I saw this book at my library, I scooped it up. I was immediately, COMPLETELY mesmerized by the recipes, and I straightaway ordered a copy for my very own. You can never have too many cookbooks, I say…and canning ones as good as this are especially welcome in my kitchen.
In addition to the recipes, which are categorized by the seasonal availability of ingredients (as they should be!), author Sarah B. Hood examines the current canning movement that is largely being carried out by food bloggers on the ‘net and locavores who are either growing their own produce or purchasing it from nearby farmers – all efforts that I admire (and am seeking to emulate, in my own small way). Although I’ve been a canner for quite a few years, I’m always on the lookout for new and better ways to put up produce and the recipes and stories in this book are extremely inspiring.
If there is a drawback about We Sure Can, it’s that it’s a little text-heavy, and there aren’t many photos of the finished products, which may be a deterrent for people looking to try them out (especially those new to the craft and unsure of what to expect). There are over 100 recipes collected here, however, and really, cookbooks can only be so large before they get unwieldy. The ingredients lists and instructions are concise and clear and should be a breeze for anyone to follow; in addition, there is a “cheat sheet” about sterilizing and processing on the inside cover flap that may be very beneficial to newcomers or those of us requiring a refresher.
A resounding “thumb’s up” for We Sure Can! I’m itching for the weather to turn so we can get growing and bring in all the lovely produce needed to make these recipes. Chiogga Beet Quickles, anyone? What about Gooseberry Ginger Jam? Or, better yet, Rose-Petal Jam with Cardamom?