Her recipes include the standards, such as strawberry jam, and the obscure, such as Garlic and Onion Jam. Amendt also does the public service of explaining the real difference between jams and jellies. Special caution about food safety holds a prominent place in Blue Ribbon Preserves and Amendt teaches us how to chose optimal foods for canning as well as how to safely store preserves to avoid potentially lethal food contamination. Be prepared for a bit of a chemistry lesson, which can be a long and sometimes didactic read, but it's well worth it for the critical food-safety information.
So complete is the book that Amendt, herself a recipient of countless state-fair awards for her preserves, includes pointers on how to succeed at such competitions (in a very thorough chapter which includes insights into how judges pick their winners). Blue Ribbon Preserves covers everything that goes into a ball jar and more, and in the process earns not only a tight seal of quality but its own blue ribbon. --Teresa Simanton