The second book in the River Cottage handbook series, this is an absolute gem. Preserves by Pam Corbin is a clear, clever guide to help you create a range of fabulous jams, pickles and chutneys at home.
Once the preserve of mystics, magicians and alchemists, these traditional culinary joys are completely demystified by Pam's simple approach – recipes that actually work with variations you can try at home. Almost more significant than the recipes are the guides, the workings behind the fruit and vegetables, their acid and pectin levels, how you can rectify any possible problems and any danger areas.
The book is handily divided into seasons to help you organise your preserve planning over the course of a year. It contains some unusual and interesting recipes, such as blackberry and apple leather, honeyed hazels and nasturtium capers, alongside classics like Seville orange marmalade and redcurrant jelly.
If you're a fan of preserving this is likely to become your new bible. An indispensable aid for both the veteran jam-maker and amateur alike. Not only incredibly useful but really beautiful, too. Its fabulous photographs help make it a lovely addition to any kitchen.
River Cottage Handbook No 2 – Preserves by Pam Corbin, Bloomsbury Publishing, £12.99.