The Joys of Jew­ish Pre­serv­ing: Mod­ern Recipes with Tra­di­tion­al Roots, for Jams, Pick­les, Fruit But­ters, and More – for Hol­i­days and Every Day

  • Review
By – May 16, 2017

Food preser­va­tion, a neces­si­ty before the advent of mod­ern refrig­er­a­tion, is pop­u­lar again. The slow food move­ment, which stress­es the use of local­ly grown food pre­pared with min­i­mal pro­cess­ing, is a fac­tor. The Jew­ish food scene emerg­ing from this trend is anoth­er. The author, Emi­ly Paster, a pas­sion­ate home cook and pre­serv­er, offers a com­pre­hen­sive intro­duc­tion to the process for those who want to get started.

The book opens with a brief overview of the devel­op­ment of Jew­ish cui­sine, the kashrut laws, and the tra­di­tion of pre­serv­ing. Paster also notes foods that are appro­pri­ate for Jew­ish hol­i­days: apples and hon­ey or quince for Rosh Hashanah, latkes and suf­ganiy­ot for Hanukkah, charoset for Pesach. Pre­serv­ing comes into the pic­ture when she talks about using home­made jam to fill haman­taschen for Purim, keep­ing her pick­le-lov­ing fam­i­ly sup­plied all year, and mak­ing her own condi­ments. She dis­cuss­es food safe­ty and rec­om­mends the prop­er equip­ment for canning.

The recipes, accom­pa­nied by pho­tographs guar­an­teed to whet the appetite, include jams and jel­lies made with unusu­al com­bi­na­tions such as apri­cot and pop­py seed, and sour cher­ry and almond. There are also inter­est­ing recipes for condi­ments: sweet and sour peach ketchup, haris­sa, and fruit but­ters (plum, peach). Of course, recipes for pick­les (not just pick­led cucum­ber, but also car­rots and cau­li­flower), and sauer­kraut are includ­ed. There are also recipes for foods to go with the jams, jel­lies, and condi­ments: latkes, rugelach, blintzes, chal­lah, and shak­shu­ka. Most are orig­i­nal cre­ations devel­oped by the author.

Any­one inter­est­ed in cook­ing and try­ing some­thing new will find this book use­ful. It is a wor­thy addi­tion to home cook­book collections.

Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

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