Cookbook Club/ Lifestyle

A Batch Cookbook Review + Edible Gifts

Last modified on January 28th, 2018 at 5:38 pm

The Batch Cookbook covers a wide range of preserving techniques and shares methods to preserving, tips and techniques, and required equipment. This month we’re cooking through Joel and Dana’s cookbook and making the ultimate foodie gifts to give this season. 

One of our favourite things since we began our blog is meeting fellow foodies who have the same passions of sharing their food and recipes, but what we love even more is when we meet fellow husband and wife duos. Enter Joel and Dana, authors of the Batch Cookbook and their blog Well Preserved.

Close up photo of Batch Cookbook Cover

Like Philip, Joel is their CFO (Chief Food Officer), spending most of his time in the kitchen, testing and cooking dishes and translating them into recipes. And like me, Dana is their CCO (Chief Creative Officer) responsible for the look and feel of their brand.

Published by Appetite by Penguin Random House, the Batch Cookbook covers a wide range of preserving techniques from water bath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, fermenting, cellaring, salting and smoking, and infusing. With something for everyone and recipes that highlight ingredients, each chapter shares methods to preserving, tips and techniques, and required equipment with a Batch level of difficult ranging from 1 to 3.

Debunking the myth that preserving is a lengthy process, Batch proves that delicious preserving can be easy and manageable while adventuring in the kitchen with new flavours and ingredients.

When people think of preserving, they often remember the stories of past generations who spent long days in the heat of the kitchen. – Joel and Dana, Batch

Not only are we obsessed with eating pickles, both Philip and I have a love of gifting homemade gifts made with love whether it’s the holiday, a simple hostess gift or a way of showing appreciation to those we care about with foods we’ve made, and the Batch Cookbook satisfies our gift giving needs.

Apple Sauce  | Batch Cookbook Review

What was it like cooking the apple sauce? While Philip has previously made makeshift versions of apple sauce this recipe was no different or easier. Wash, core and pulse the apples then bring to simmer in a large pot with honey and water and prepare with traditional canning processes. Batch Cookbook level: 1.

How to best use the apple sauce? Apple sauce is always best paired with meat in particular pork, or eaten by itself. As a child, apple sauce was one of my favourite snacks especially on a hot summer day. Joel and Dana recommends combining the apple sauce with bread, cheese and walnuts and using it as a stuffing inside of a chicken.

How to gift the apple sauce? Pair a basket of apples with a jar of this homemade apple sauce, and a spoon. Apple sauce is one of our favourite gifts to gift because of it’s wholesome appeal and ability to make everything better. Perfect for Easter, a hostess gift or a simple token gift showing appreciation, this apple sauce is a lovely way to show someone you care.

Batch Cookbook Review Mason Jar of Blueberry Maple Jam tied with lavender ribbon.

Blueberry Maple Jam 2.0 | Batch Cookbook Review

What was it like cooking the blueberry jam? A simple process of blueberries and sugar steeped with maple syrup, sugar, lemon juice and zest then canned. We unfortunately over cooked our jam but when using it we heated it up on the stove with additional maple syrup to make it more spreadable. Batch Cookbook level: 2.

How to best use the blueberry jam? Of course spreading this jam on toast is the classic use but you can also try adding this as an addition tot a cheese board. The Batch Cookbook recommends using the jam to make a blueberry ginger sauce paired with BBQ salmon; the smokiness of the salmon created a contrast to the sauce.

How to gift the blueberry jam? The taste of the jam will speak for itself but there’s nothing I love more than a beautiful jar tied with a ribbon around it. The navy/indigo colour of this jam pairs beautifully with a lavender ribbon, add a gift tag and voila! Bonus: the jam lasts for two years.

Pickled cherries on a wooden board with blue cheese and crackers

 

Batch Cookbook Review - Bourbon Cherry Hand Pies close up

Pickled Cherries  | Batch Cookbook Review

What was it like cooking the pickled cherries? Make the brine using vinegar, water, salt, sugar and lime juice + zest and add a bouquet of peppercorns, coriander, peppers and bay leaves in a cheese cloth bag and add the cherries. Then remove them using a slotted spoon and can those bad boys. Batch Cookbook level: 1.

How to best use the cherries? In a Bourbon Cherry Hand Pie, how else would you best use these? We followed suit to Joel and Dana’s pickles and recipe and made their cherry hand pies and they were out of this world, ridiculously, the best pies we’ve ever tasted. The pastry was flakey, crisp and pure heaven with an inside of sweet, tart and herbal from the thyme, cherries and bourbon.

How would we gift the cherries? My motto is if you can’t cook you better know how to charcuterie. While Philip does the majority of our cooking I tend to lean towards curating boards and what better way to impress than a beautifully designed charcuterie board. We recommend adding a bowl of these pickled cherries to your next charcuterie board and recommending guests add a few to their next cheese and cracker bite. Or gift a few of the hand pies you made in a beautiful tin with a ribbon!

Batch Cookbook Honeyed Pear Butter closeup with a wooden spoon on top

Honeyed Pear Butter  | Batch Cookbook Review

What was it like cooking the pear butter? A set it and forget it type of canning, this pear butter again uses simple canning methods but requires a lit of time with minimal effort. While the book calls for a slow cooker we unfortunately don’t have one so resorted to their second method of cooking the butter for 24 hours. We had ours cooking overnight on the stove and while it is a lengthy process, trust us it’s so worth it. Batch Cookbook level: 2.

How to best use the pear butter? Our favourite way to use pear butter is on toast. Smeared over hot bread in the morning, a cup of tea and the newspaper there’s nothing better. Joel and Dana recommends using your butter in their Roasted Duck with Pear Butter recipe. Once the duck is resting, use the pear butter with walnuts and vinegar to create a glaze and proving it over the cooked duck.

How would we gift the pear butter? One of our favourite things to do is baking bread. What better way to pair your pear butter (get it) with a fresh loaf of bread and a small jar. Add a label to your mason jar including the date made, best before (1-2 years) and a few recommendations on how best to utilize the pear butter.

Batch Cookbook Review Charred Pickled Beets in a mason jar in front of art

Charred Pickled Beets | Batch Cookbook Review

What was it like making the beets? Aside from roasting the beets the longest time is spent waiting for them to be ready… sigh. Once charred the process is pretty basic as far as pickling goes; prepare the beets, sterilize the jars, make your brine, separate the ingredients into jar, cover with brine and secure. Batch Cookbook level: 1.

How to best use the pickled beets? Joel and Dana recommend a beet salad topped with goat cheese, pistachios, greens and honey or paired with white fish. Our favourite way to use pickled beets is on a toasted crostini smeared in goat cheese, drizzled in honey and sprinkled with basil. The sourness of the beets are toned down with by the creaminess of the goat cheese with added sweetness from the honey making each bite textured and flavourful.

How would we gift these beets? Because these beets take 6 weeks before you can open them, they are perfect for dressing up with a piece of cloth tied with ribbon and a little note saying open at x date. If you’re giving these out at the end of a party, or a few weeks before a holiday try serving a dish with the beets and then gifting them; it’s a memorable way to extend the experience and give your guest a bit of anticipation.

Verdict

After cooking through the Batch Cookbook we’re so much more equiped with the art of canning and preserving, and Joel and Dana’s mindset is inspiring when it comes to zero food waste. Nose to tail preserving ensures little waste and really encourages you as the preserver to really test your use of ingredients in the kitchen. But what we love most about this cookbook is it’s ability to keep on giving beyond the recipes. Edible gifting is one of our favourite ways to thank those around us and whether it’s a jar of pickles, apple sauce or jam the contents of this book are made with love <3.

Bon appetite,

Chef Sous Chef

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