When Liana Krissoff missed her parents' home-canned applesauce, salsa and pickled green beans, she tried to equip herself by reading canning books.
What they had in common, she writes in "Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry," was the message that "Canning Is Hard: tedious work, complicated, deadly."
"I somehow got the impression that I would die if I tried this without three thermometers calibrated monthly, a hundred-foot roll of litmus paper, and a topographical map that pinpointed my location and its exact elevation."
So she got to work on a book aimed at balancing all that seriousness with some fun. With an eye toward pickles and flavors borrowed from cuisines like Indian, Japanese and Thai, Krissoff has assembled a canning primer for the modern foodie.
Her target audience lives where two demographic circles overlap: the traditional camp, driven by practical concerns about preserving summer's bounty for the year ahead, and the budding cooks who grew up at a table where international fare is commonplace.
"The recipes here are for people a little bit like me," she writes. "For those of us who upon hearing 'pickle' remember Mom's sweet watermelon-rind pickles ice-cold out of the fridge, but also think of the dollop of goodness that goes on top of a bowl of curried lentils, or the dainty dish of tsukemono pickles that might come with the sashimi at a good sushi bar."
Krissoff's collection, organized by season, includes no-nonsense procedures for the basics, like canning tomatoes and dilly beans. There are also accessible, classic preparations from other cuisines, like Indian green mango chutney and the Indonesian quick pickle called achar segar.
Where her book really shines is the hybrids. Strawberry jam with Thai basil, mint and cilantro marries traditional and exotic. Mango jam with lime, pineapple jam with Chinese five-spice powder, cumin-pickled summer squash -- every few pages offers a fragrant collision of the ordinary with the unexpected.
Krissoff has condensed the grim but necessary food safety steps and canning primer to about 10 pages. Home canners with a sense of adventure might find this volume a welcome companion, as Krissoff notes that the recipes are suited to her tastes, and urges readers to experiment and find their own sweet spots.
Canning for a New Generation
By Liana Krissoff
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
304 pages, $25