Notes from the Farmers’ Market Chef

By Barbara Cornell

I have a beautiful new book to tell you about—Saving the Season by Kevin West. It is subtitled “A cook’s guide to home canning, pickling, and preserving, with seasonal recipes for jams, jellies, marmalades, relishes, cocktails, candies, and more.” I love a sturdy well-bound book like this—no book jacket to get in the way, and its spot-resistant cover is illustrated with the most gorgeous collection of heirloom tomatoes that I have seen!

Nothing will take the place of my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, published in 2006, for its very clear and detailed explanations, but Saving the Season is a lovely addition to the bookshelf. West sprinkles his chapters with quotations from literature—for example something about pickles from Moby Dick and jam-making from Anna Karenina, and he quotes a classic non-apology from William Carlos Williams:

“This Is Just to Say”
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

West does cover the science of food preparation, too, but he does it as an interview with a food scientist in the same cozy way you might see on the Food Network.

The book is organized by season. Spring, for example, begins with four different jam techniques, including one slow-cooked with rosé wine, and one with pinot noir. Some of the recipes are California-centric—have you ever heard of pickled green almonds?

For the home cook who still considers canning a little exotic, Kevin West will make it seem easy—if still pleasingly exotic.

The Farmers’ Market Chef will be making another appearance at the Glenwood Branch this month, Thursday evening, July 25 at 7, and Saturday morning July 27 at 10. We will be talking about “Heirlooms in your garden: Taste varieties of heirloom vegetables you can grow or buy at the Farmers Market, and learn how to prepare and preserve them.” Please register so we will know how many to expect.

Barbara Cornell joined the Howard County Library System in 1993 as Assistant Branch Manager at the new Elkridge Branch.

Since 2000 she has enjoyed a shorter commute to the Glenwood Branch.