Recently we looked at our favourite cookery books and it was pretty clear that Reader’s Digest books are worth investing in as Jane and I have at least one in each of our favourites list. Well, after a trip to Pembrokeshire last week to see friends, we’ve got another one to add to the list. Food from your Garden was published by Reader’s Digest in 1977 and is an alphabetical guide to what to grow, how to grow it and then what to do with it when you’ve got a glut of successful produce (currently pears and plums in this garden).
What with everyone now growing their own fruit and veg, this book is an essential both for the shed (where our mate keeps his) and the kitchen, where I will be keeping mine. Unbelievably, the book is out of print and although available on Amazon from Other Sellers, is mighty pricey, starting at about £25 (although compared to some of the cookery books we’ve seen recently for sale, it’s not that much more and probably will be much more useful). Imagine my smug satisfaction then, at finding one in a second hand bookshop in Cardigan for £3.50…..it is clearly worth keeping your eyes open for a copy when trawling your local seller.
It has a brilliant section on jams, jellies, pickles and syrups (plum/pear syrup anyone?) and gets much more technical and useful than any book we’ve read recently on the subject (I now know how to do a pectin test with meths and that it’s best not to rely wholly on a sugar thermometer). There’s also a section on countryside food where I was able to identify the fruits we found on an Irish mountainside growing next to heather as bilberries, not the blueberries I thought they were.
Altogether a genius book to have if you are growing your own and it’s always nice to go into a second hand bookshop with a sense of purpose.