Despite a somewhat drab cover (good thing I ordered it sight unseen from the library or I probably wouldn't have given it a second glance) this is the best book I have ever read about pickles and pickling. More than just a cookbook the author, Lucy Norris, gives the reader an in depth look at pickles and pickle culture around the world. There are recipes and anecdotes for a number of pickled foods from basic cucumber pickles to green mango pickles to kim chee. She also has included a lot of historical photos and stories about pickles and their makers. This makes Pickled not only a good source of recipes but a fun book to read.
One thing I particularly appreciated was the detailed description of how to ready jars for canning; something I have found strangely missing in many pickling recipes and cookbooks. This is helpful for those of us who are new to canning and who may have questions about how best to do it. I find that almost all other canning cookbooks/recipes simply say to pour the mixture into a "prepared jar" without giving any idea as to what this means or how to do it. Lucy Norris breaks it down for the home cook without coming across as condescending.
All of the recipes are written in a clear, precise way that seems to eliminate failure as an option. Even beginning picklers will have nothing to fear. She also has a fair amount of recipes that can be eaten the day after they are made which could also serve as an introduction to pickling that has almost immediate results.
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