The Best Little Book of Preserves & Pickles

by Judith Choate

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Inquiring minds will want to know: Was Shaker Lemon Sauce really so good that it substituted for sex? The answer is yes, although Shakers also enjoyed Blueberry Catsup and Green Tomato Marmalade.

These recipes and others for delectable versions of traditional jams and relishes give the reader benefit of newer, safer and easier jarring techniques. What comes from yore is the wisdom of starting with newly-picked organic produce to end with fresh-tasting results. Surprising, delicious notes enter conserves and dressings; urbane sauces and salsas will prove piquant accompaniments to entrees or give exquisite finesse to desserts. Treats include Gazpacho Sauce, Sichuan Pickles, Sambuca Romana Jam and White Chocolate Sauce.

The author doesn’t expect you to use kettles big enough to steam off the wallpaper or to have enough just-ripe figs on hand to put up dozens of pints of preserves. Rather, she guides you to making four to eight jars of a true gourmet delight, just enough for a couple of dinner or brunch parties, with a couple of jars left as gifts.

She will also tell you when you don’t even need the jars – that is when you can dispense with canning per se and refrigerate or freeze. Tuned to today, she considers what sugar substitutes work best and frankly advises when nothing but the genuine stuff will achieve the very best taste and color.

Judith Choate draws on a lifetime of experience to present her newly-tweaked versions of the very best preserves and pickles of all time. Her experience includes teaching at the French Culinary Institute, collaborations with chocolatier Jacques Torres and restaurateur Charlie Palmer among other internationally renown chefs, and preparing meals with four generations of her family.

“No matter how superb or unusual the commercial product, it will never equal the ultimate preserves made in your very own kitchen,” declares author Judith Choate.

It’s not just the love you add when you prepare and jar a jelly or jam, pickle or chutney, syrup or sauce that makes it so special. These recipes themselves are extraordinary. Ms. Choate, who has won James Beard awards for three cook books, is the go-to cook for both America’s top chefs and knowledgeable home cooks.

This book is about the very best of those little extras on the table that bring joy to the discerning diner. Many employ unique combinations of ingredients to achieve supreme flavor and style, but none is unnecessarily fussy or laborious.

The hidden ingredient in The Best Little Book of Preserves & Pickles is care.