This 264 page book provides a comprehensive coverage of methods to preserve a vast range of foodstuffs with a focus on traditional Italian approaches. It has chapters on preserving in oil or vinegar, wild mushrooms, olives, fish, cheese, sauces, salami and roast meats, liqueurs, wine, syrups, drying, bread, herbs and soap. Recipes for preserving in oil are given for eggplant, zucchini, cauiflowers, chocos, tomatoes, carrots, globe artichokes, mushrooms, Scottish thistle, gherkins, beans, capsicum and peppers, while methods of preserving carrots, cauliflowers, cucumbers, onions, beans, peppers, capsicum, eggplants, celery, globe artichokes, turnips, cabbage, mushrooms and mixed vegetables in vinegar are also provided. There is also a recipe for candied pumpkin.

Written and self-published by Pietro Demaio, 5th edition, 2009As well as general guidelines for preserving olives, there are 20 recipes for preserving them addressing methods using salt, salty brine, caustic soda or brine and vinegar. What more could you want!

Gardeners might not be so interested in preserving meats and fish unless you make a cheap bulk buy, but these chapters, together with those on sauces, liqueurs and herbs might give you new ideas on how to use materials you have in excess at certain times of the year.

I particularly like the chapter on olives. So many recipes to choose from according to the particular taste you like.  My daughter has a mature olive tree and I have a three-year-old tree which has just produced its first crop – 600 g of lovely fruit, so I’ve tried some of those recipes out.

There are some additional detailed notes at the end as well as an index of recipes.

The book is written in an engaging, chatty style which makes reading a pleasure.

Its one disadvantage for me is that it is limited to Mediterranean fruit and vegetables, which I suppose you’d expect from the title.  I would like to read of the same depth of knowledge and experience given to fruit and vegetables which grow elsewhere.  But a very useful book!

Review by Sharron Pfueller