Tagged With: canning

DIY Canning and Fermenting Books of the Summer

food in jars, Drunken Botanist, Art of Fermentation, cookbook, summer best sellers

The Art of Fermentation, Food in Jars, and Drunken Botanist have been the hits of the summer at World Spice Merchants, and there are no signs of a slow down. Want to know a secret? We originally previewed these books because of their respective covers… but that’s not why they’ve been a hit.

It's orange! Orange is my favorite color.

Winner of the 2013 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship, and a New York Times bestseller, The Art of Fermentation contains everything you never knew you needed to know about fermentation. The 498 page tome explores different methods of fermenting, gives history and personal accounts of eating fermented foods the world over, as well as many recipes for the aspiring culinary bacteriologist. Both practical and entertaining, this book is as much bedside reader as it is encyclopaedic.

In Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year Round, food blogger Marisa McClellan stores away the tastes of all seasons for later with the likes of jams and jellies, as well as the more exotic pickles, chutneys, conserves, whole fruit, tomato sauces, salsas, marmalades, nut butters, seasonings, and more.


The recipes are for refreshingly small amounts, making life pleasant for a canning novice, while the flavors of vanilla bean, sage, and pepper will keep the more experienced home food preservationists coming back for more. We’ve carried several books of this genre in the shop, and this one easily makes the top of the pile.

Drunken Botanist

Another New York Times bestseller, The Drunken Botanist could very well have been written by our own Amanda Bevill; botanist and spirits enthusiast! Ripe with history and facts, all dispersed with a wry, witty humor, The Drunken Botanist leads an alphabetical nature walk from Agave to Strawberry, hitting all the best booze-making plants in between. The pages are dotted with recipes for classic cocktails, as well as tips for updating old favorites. The best part? Many of the recipes are for “pitcher” fulls!

Do you have any new release cookbook favorites? If so, please let us know in the comments below.

Categories: Hot Topics, Notes from the Field, Tools of the Trade | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ras El Hanout Plum Preserves

Her name was Edna Nosworthy, and she had the same birthday as I do- only eighty years difference. She had a bottomless stash of Tootsie Rolls, made a mean Snickerdoodle, and had a sprawling green lawn dotted with fruit trees- apples, pears, cherries, and Italian plums. It’s been more than fifteen years since she passed, but I still choke up when I talk about her. Every summer, the other families lucky enough to know Edna would gather in her yard to harvest her fruit, which she would then turn in to vats of phenomenal home goods- pickles, preserves, jams, and pie fillings. What I wouldn’t give to have a Ball jar in my cupboard with her spidery scrawl on it now!

These preserves are an homage to all of the “Greatest Generation” who inspire us to use what we have, and share with our neighbors. The global update is lent by the Moroccan staple, Ras El Hanout, whose complex flavors support and feature the sweet-sour plums. Any variety of plum will do- and the choices abound! A loop around your local Farmer’s Market will alert you to the bumper year it’s been for this stellar stone fruit in the Northwest, or if you’re lucky enough to have an Edna Nosworthy in your life, you’ll opt for Italian all the way. Serve them over ice cream- as we’ve pictured- or as a dipping sauce for a juicy lamb kebab.


Ras El Hanout Plum Preserves

Ras El Hanout Plum Preserves



  1. Coarsely chop plums and stir together with water, sugar, and cinnamon stick in a 2 quart, heavy saucepan.
  2. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, stirring more often as cooking process progresses.
  3. Mixture will thicken and reduce to about 2 1/2 cups within 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Discard cassia stick, and stir in Ras El Hanout.
  5. Cool preserves, and transfer to an airtight container to chill and store.

Categories: Course, Global Cuisines, Middle East, North America, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment