I received a free copy of this cookbook for review. These are my thoughts & opinions on the book.
The Batch cookbook by Canadian authors Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison is dedicated to food preservation techniques for beginners and experts.
My first introduction to the Batch Cookbook was at the second Inspired to Taste Canada event held at the Hudson's Bay in Toronto. Joel MacCharles, co-author of Batch, was appearing on stage to create recipes, share cooking tips and promote the book.
In the short time Joel was on stage he dished out a handful of simple food preservation tips that I still use today. You know those mushroom stems that are often discarded? Save them, lay them out on a wire rack to dry. Once dried these can be stored in a jar and saved to flavour soups, stews, sauces and even be made into spice blends. It sounds so simple but it's not something I had done before.
This cookbook, and accompanying website, is full of techniques and recipes to help you make the most of fresh ingredients. The recipes are adaptations of family classics, inspired by friends and cultures in Toronto.
We have tried to respect the traditions of many of the preserving techniques of the world, while also infusing the tastes and practicality of modern city living into them as well.- Batch Cookbook
What can you expect from the Batch cookbook?
With over 200 recipes, you'll not only learn how to preserve food but also how to use the preserves in the most delicious recipes. In this book you'll find:
- 7 methods of preserving foods - waterbath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, infusing, fermenting, cellaring, salted & smoked plus step-by-step instructions for each method.
- A comprehensive list of kitchen equipment broken down by must have and nice to have, with approximate costs.
- Tips to help you use food scraps and reduce food waste.
- A list of 25 easy to find ingredients, how to use the whole thing and tips for storing.
The recipes range from super easy to more complex, so this is a book that will grow with you as you master the techniques. I've had my copy for 4 years and I'm still learning new things from this book!
Salt-Preserved Lemons & Limes
When I say that this book is chock full of preserving techniques and tips, I'm not kidding. One of my favourite recipes from the book isn't even a full recipe, it's just a tiny little section on the bottom of a page in the middle of the book. Salt-Preserved Lemons & Limes.
I always have a jar of preserved lemons in my cupboard to use on roasted potatoes, roasted chicken, and veggies. I've used both regular lemons and Meyer lemons for this recipe, and my preference is Meyer. It has a softer, less tart flavour. I prefer to use organic lemons as the entire fruit, including the skin, will be used. Don't forget to give your lemons a good wash to remove any wax that may be on the outside.
Variations of Salt-Preserved Lemons
I've made this recipe many times and often add in an extra ingredient or two to try to vary it up a bit. I've tried a pinch of dehydrated hot peppers for a spicy preserve, cumin for an earthier taste and even garlic.
Do I recommend this cookbook? Absolutely! It's easy to read, full of simple tips and complete recipes, and it's a book that you'll likely refer back to again and again. Did I mention that authors are Canadian? Give this one a try!