Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Let's Preserve It by Beryl Wood: a book review

I've not done a book review before and I need to start by saying I haven't been asked for or paid for this review.

This was first published under a different front cover just as I left school and headed for Teacher Training College.  Mum was given a copy at some point early in its career and used it so much that it ended up being held together with a rubber band.  Each time I phoned saying 'Do you have a recipe for this jam or that chutney?', out would come the book, off would come the rubber band and there would almost inevitably be just what I was looking for.  I was impressed.

Mum searched for another copy.  She asked in book shops, she wrote to places that sold out of print books, she asked her friends but it seemed that everyone was looking for the same thing and no-one was getting rid of their precious copy.

And then, on a visit to a National Trust property, something caught her eye.  She rubbed her eyes and looked more closely.  Different cover, same title.  Could it be?  She looked inside and yes, it was a newly published versionof her well used and battered copy.
Bless her, she not only bought a copy for herself, she also bought one for me too.  I have it beside me now and I treasure it.

It's a lovely book containing so many recipes.  It doesn't have any pretty, arty  photos, just page after page of recipes for preserves of all kinds.  There's well known recipes with easily found ingredients and there's more unusual ones such as medlar cheese or mushroom powder.

As well as recipes, there are a few very useful sections at the beginning, one on equipment and preparation and another on 'points to remember'.  Sound common sense is the bottom line here.  There are no frills and fancies in this book; it just contains all you need to know.

There is also no index because it doesn't need one.  It is alphabetically organised so all the apple recipes are together, all the plum recipes are together and so on.  Occasionally there is reference to another page (e.g. apple and plum jelly is under 'apple' but in the plum pages there is a reference to it and a page number).  It is the easiest recipe book in the world to negotiate and, if I had no other preserving book but this, I would have all I needed.

A splendid book that has paid for itself time and time again.  If you already preserve and pickle you probably already have it but if you don't - it is well worth getting hold of.

And you don't need to visit a National Trust property to get hold of one!


  1. A book review! It's good. So good I've shared it on the Movies and Books World Google community. :D

  2. Wow, thanks, Valerie, how kind. Do you have an address for that, please?
    J x