I was provided by the publisher with a copy of this book to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
Can It & Ferment It is a bit different from most of the other fermentation books around — and I don’t just mean because it also has canning recipes in it. The entire purpose of the book seems to be different. Many of the books about fermenting foods are mostly about the “how,” with the recipes being merely the tool to accomplish that, whereas this is primarily a book of recipes. A lot of times, “books of recipes” don’t impress me much (I mean, we all have Google and Pinterest now), but this one really fills its niche well. I’m looking forward to using it.
There is a brief introduction to the difference between canning & fermenting, then a little about canning supplies & the canning process, and fermentation supplies & the fermentation process. But “introduction” is truly the right word for it. They’re included for readers who are completely new to these concepts, so the recipes aren’t out of your grasp, but they’re clearly not a focus of the book.
This small hardbook book contains 75+ recipes. Recipes are included for both canning & fermenting, because different situations call for different methods. The recipes are designed in small quantities so you can try them, or for when you have a small harvest. It’s pretty easy to multiply a recipe if you want more, but this keeps those of us with small gardens (or only access to the supermarket/farmers market) from having to figure out how to cut recipes for 40 quarts of salsa, or something like that. I feel like these are doable, even for a newbie, because I’m not overwhelmed by volume.
Many preparations have both a canned option & a fermented option included, so you can make whichever one makes more sense for your particular situation. And the canned recipes are all hot water bath-canned; nothing needs a pressure canner, so the most “special equipment” you need is a mason jar or a large stockpot.
One of the coolest things about this book is that it’s arranged by season, so you can easily use it with your garden. (It covers spring, summer, and then fall/winter as a combination.) Most of the recipes cover typical garden veggies, but a few even deal with wildcrafted plants (like dandelions). This is awesome, since many of us don’t do much with those for lack of knowing what to do with them.
This book, taken as a whole, strikes me as a very practical approach to making good use of the food resources we have around us throughout the year.