Savory Sweet: Simple Preserves from a Northern Kitchen

In the cold northern countries of Scandinavia, short growing seasons and fertile soil mean a few months of ripe, abundant fruits and vegetables. Then, as Beth Dooley notes in her introduction to Savory Sweet, cooks and gardeners must try to "keep all that's ripe from racing to rot." In this lavishly illustrated cookbook, Dooley and Mette Nielsen share dozens of flavorful, Nordic-inspired recipes to preserve the best of the season: relishes, pickles, jams, chutneys and more.

Divided into three main sections (vegetables, fruits and seasonings), Savory Sweet takes readers through the garden alphabetically, starting with pickled asparagus and applesauce, and ending with squash, strawberries and zucchini. The authors emphasize bold flavors and unfussy cooking techniques (explained in the first few chapters) over long-term storage. These jams and chutneys might not last in the pantry all winter, but they'll be perfectly fine in the fridge. Fresh herbs and surprising spices, such as anise, cardamom and juniper, make frequent appearances, giving new life to pantry standbys like ketchup, fruit compote and barbecue sauce.

While Dooley and Nielsen's recipes will likely appeal to canning aficionados, their simple, practical guidelines and helpful definitions of terms--the differences between jam, marmalade and preserves, for instance--will appeal to novices. The instructions invite experimentation, but provide a clear road map for first-time canners. Meanwhile, the range of flavors--spicy, smoky, sour, savory and sweet--will send cooks of all stripes straight to their local farmers market for fresh, colorful ingredients. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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