Texas Living

Book review: Saving the Season by Kevin West

By Gina Franklin 9.9.13

Saving the Season by Kevin West is more than just a cut and dry book of food preservation formulas; it’s a handbook of guidelines to follow when putting up or preserving food, and a beautiful journal of his travels and the stories of those he’s encountered. Whether you’re a newbie to food preservation or a seasoned veteran, this book is a must-have addition to your cookbook collection.

While the recipes are amazingly mouthwatering — there was not one I don’t want to try — the picture he paints with his words and photography, about his travels, the people he met, and the fresh harvests that he experienced, make this book hard to put down.

A culinary journey through the seasons

The introduction gives a beautiful explanation of why he wrote the book, but West also goes into great detail about safety and equipment. With the intermittent side stories and basic information about ingredients and terminology, it is a perfect introduction to his journey through the seasons.

  • Spring starts the journey of this book. With basic jam techniques and unusual pickling recipes for things like asparagus and carrots, this is the perfect season for the beginner to start their canning endeavor.
  • Summer is jam-packed with great savory and sweet recipes. In addition to the great pickle and jam recipes in this chapter, there is a section with ideas for preserving tomatoes that may surprise even seasoned pros.
  • Fall ushers in chutneys and relishes, of course. You will also find molded cranberry jelly, vanilla extract, horseradish, and sauerkraut recipes. This chapter definitely rivals summer in size and content.
  • Winter is citrus-filled with recipes for everything from gummy candy and marmalades to candied orange peels. This chapter is the perfect end to a year of canning and food preservation.

Even the appendix of this book is useful. Offering information on various types of fruit and peak seasons by region, it can help someone plan out their canning for the whole year. West’s book is a necessity for any beginning home canner, and will become indispensable to anyone who enjoys food preservation.