The DO Book Company is an inspirational source of wonderfully accessible texts. The books they produce are designed to help you learn something new and motivate you to do it. From Bee Keeping to Story Telling, Wild Baking to Leadership, these books offer inspiration and ideas.
DO/Preserve is a celebration of all that is seasonal, an inspiration to capture nature’s bounty and to guide your larder through the fallow months. Written by 3 friends – Anja Dunk, Jen Goss and Mimi Beaven – who met, cooked and swapped recipes through the DO Lectures, the inspirational ‘ideas festival’ created by David and Clare Hieatt, this book is the embodiment of that ‘DO’ spirit.
There’s a pleasing simplicity to DO/Preserve. Not one inch simplistic … just straightforward, accessible … encouragingly so.
This book makes you want to give it a go.
You want to gather up a season’s yield and start chopping.
For a start, the Introduction … the words ooze encouragement to drift into a world that those of us who have arrived late to the party envy. This is a world of seasonality, of making the most of the moment because soon it will pass. It speaks to bucolic late Summer days, of buzzing market days, of the intoxicating sharpness of vinegars and spices.
As Anja, Jen and Mimi point out “happily many more of us are following the seasons once again – understanding the value and environmental benefit of seasonality“.
To make the most of the bounteous harvests when they are upon us we need to store some away
There are only 8 chapters, simple descriptions guiding you to those that suit the moment. And, yes, it is true that Mrs Deli made straight for Chapter 6. Alcohol, Syrups and Cordials for there the bounty is Rhubarb Gin (page 136, just in case you need to know!). Such an easy recipe and proof, if proof were needed that this book is all about ‘DOing’. Literally, 1 week of tantalising wait after the most straightforward preparation. Soak … sugar … shake … yay, drink!
The chapter on ‘Sugar‘ is all about the jams, whilst ‘Vinegar‘ is savoury heaven with pickles of every hue. The practicalities are laid out in an orderly, understandable way; all the explanations nod to experience … Mimi, Jen and Anja DO this stuff themselves and the collected experience leaps from the page. It is a little like being in a workshop with them – though their workshops are a treasure trove of asides and notes in the margin of a pickle-stained notebook.
This beautiful book is designed to be a kitchen companion. It’s effortlessly practical nature will step even the most daunted of preservers through processes that, once broken down, are in the reach of anyone prepared to set the time aside to give it a go.
Each recipe can find its moment to match your preferences and the bounty nature has rewarded you with. This is seasonal living made accessible. This is collected experience fermented, bottled and laid down for the future. This is tradition preserved for those who are discovering the health, well-being and environmental benefits of living better, of matching our own rhythms to those of the seasons.
However fast-paced life becomes, the enrichment that emerges from slowing down, chopping, simmering and bottling can only be beaten by the satisfying pop of the seal as a jar is opened and resulting satisfaction of sharing nature’s bounty, preserved for your moment.