There are so many canning and preserving books on the market today, it can be difficult to know how to choose one or two. Especially if you are just beginning to preserve your garden harvest, your first book should be a basic preserving book that explains the methods step-by-step.
Listed below are some of the best canning and preserving books that I have found. I have used recipes from all of them (or plan to this year-one is brand new!) at some point in my home. I hope that by providing some details about each book, you can decide whether the book would be a good fit for you and your household.
Most of these books are suitable for both beginning canners and more experienced canners alike. And if you aren’t interested in canning, don’t miss my favorite dehydrator book. It was a game changer for me!
You may notice the covers of the books are different than the ones I link to. Many of these books have been updated since I purchased them many years ago. While I grew up helping my Mom can, it wasn’t until about 12 years ago, I decided to start doing it on my own. I currently own every book I’ve linked to, and many more that I don’t think were worthy of the title “Best Canning & Preserving Books.”
(Please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you purchase something through a link. It will not change your cost. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, check out my disclosures page.)
The Best Preserving Books That Cover Multiple Methods
The Ball Blue Book of Preserving
The gold standard of any kind of preserving is the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. Ball puts out a new edition every few years. The recipes are mostly the same but they do update it. This is the best canning and preserving book for beginners.
Ball has been producing these guides since 1909. This is a great book for any beginning canner or preserver to have. It goes into detail about how to can high-acid and low-acid foods, freezing, and dehydrating. It gives very basic information so you know whether you need a pressure canner or whether a water bath canner will be sufficient.
If you only purchase one preserving book, this is the one you should own! I’ve included a picture and Amazon link but you can often times find these with the canning supplies at Walmart or Target or in your local bookstore. My copy is dog-eared and worn, but it is probably at least 10 years old.
The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables
The most recent preserving book I purchased was The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables by Angi Schneider of SchneiderPeeps. This book explains the best ways to preserve your garden harvest so you can enjoy it year ’round. Angi walks you through growing and harvesting each vegetable, plus various ways to preserve each one. This book also includes fermenting recipes where appropriate. I haven’t done much fermenting yet, but after reading this book, I want to give it a try this summer.
Since this book just came out in June, I haven’t had a chance to use it much, but I can’t wait to try Dried Parmesan Bean Crisps, Canned Caramelized Maple Onions, Canned Snap Pea Pickles, and Frozen Sweet Potato Balls. Frozen Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Spears will be on my list for next year as my asparagus is finished for the season.
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving contains 400 recipes for preserving almost anything you can grow. There is a reason it is a best seller on Amazon. It contains a large variety of recipes. You’ll find recipes for Brined and Fermented Pickles-both vegetables and fruits. Jam, jelly, and preserve recipes for almost any fruit you can name.
You’ll find recipes for Herbed Seasoned Tomatoes so you can put up your tomatoes with seasonings for a variety of recipes. But you’ll also learn how to make tomato juice, sauce, and paste from your homegrown tomatoes.
The book includes many sauce recipes like Seafood Cocktail Sauce, Hot ‘n’ Sweet Chili Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Mustard, and Ketchup. And one of my favorites-End of Garden Pickles. This recipe is perfect for your late summer garden when you have a few green beans, a couple carrots, some squash or zucchini, and maybe a pepper or two.
Near the end of the book is a Produce Purchase Guide. This guide gives approximate weights and volume yields of many fruits and vegetables. This way you can determine approximately how many jars your harvest will yield. It is also helpful for those who purchase from farms or farmer’s markets. You will now know how much to buy for a particular preserving recipe.
The Best Canning Books
Little Jars, Big Flavors
Little Jars, Big Flavors is a small batch canning book from Southern Living. This book focuses on jams, jellies, pickles, and preserves. Lots of these recipes would make wonderful gifts for the holidays. From Quick Confetti Pickles to go alongside a relish tray or charceturie board to Peach Vanilla Syrup to top your ice cream this book contains something for everyone.
It includes lots of southern favorites like Pickled Okra, Bread-And-Butter Pickles, Refrigerator Pickled Watermelon Rind, and Mint Jelly. You’ll find herbed vinegars, and recipes for several alcoholic beverages for the adults.
There is even a section about how to host a “Putting-Up Party” with friends that includes recipes specific to each season to serve for the party. While preserving the harvest used to mean several generations of family members in the kitchen working together, nowadays not everyone has family nearby. So a “putting-up party” is meant to encourage friends to get together and enjoy time putting some food in the pantry.
Forget the days of standing over a stove for hours and hours. All these recipes are made in small batches that don’t require a two day process to make. And of course, if it’s from Southern Living, you know it’s got to be good.
Canning For A New Generation
Canning for A New Generation by Liana Krissoff starts off with a basic overview of the canning process. Then it breaks the recipes down by season. You’ll find Strawberry Lemon Preserves in spring, Quickest Kosher Dills in summer, Sweet Green Tomato Pickles in the fall, and Lemon Curd in the winter.
This book has been updated since my version. The new version contains 50 more recipes and is actually a good bit cheaper than the prior version.
I do want to give you a heads up on this book. I like it and there are some very solid, delicious canning recipes in it. However, there are some more adventurous recipes too. That can be good or bad, depending on what you prefer. Recipes like North Indian Carrot Pickle, Mango Jam with Lime, Hot Cumin-Pickled Summer Squash, and Nuka – a Japanese Fermented Bran Pickle are a bit outside my family’s taste. But there are many great recipes that most families would eat.
Canning For A New Generation also includes a fair number of recipes to use your canned goods too. That can be helpful if you make the Nuka recipe and don’t know what to do with it later.
The Joy of Pickling
Did you know you can pickle almost anything? The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich includes 250 recipes for pickling all kinds of produce. Of course, it starts off like most other preserving and canning books, with an overview of the canning process. What sets this book apart from others is it is strictly about pickling.
And The Joy Of Pickling doesn’t just stick to cucumbers. Oh no! There are recipes to pickle almost any vegetable and fruit you can think of. From eggplant, to grapes, to artichokes, to plums, there is a pickling recipe for almost any produce you can find. The book also includes recipes for pickled meat, fish, and eggs.
However, it also includes lots of basic recipes for pickling cucumbers, green tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage (a.k.a sauerkraut). And there is an entire chapter devoted to chutneys, salsas, and other relishes.
The Joy of Pickling also covers multiple ways of pickling. There are recipes for fermented pickles, fresh pickles, sweet pickles, quick pickles, and even freezer pickles. I was pleasantly surprised a few years ago when I tried the recipe for Freezer Dill Slices that the cucumbers didn’t turn to mush. This recipe is a great one for someone who doesn’t want to invest in canning equipment, but has an excess of cucumbers from their garden.
The Joy of Pickling was updated in 2016 so of course, the cover looks different than my version, (I’m starting to tell on my age here a bit.) but the information and recipes are the same.
The Best Dehydrator Book
I really can only recommend one dehydrating book. So many books I’ve read or purchased require too many weird ingredients that most of us don’t have at home. And while what appeals to you may be different than what I like, I can’t in good conscience recommend a preserving book that I don’t use. However, the one I recommend below is worth every penny!
The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook
My very favorite dehydrator book is the Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook by Tammy Gangloff. This book explains in detail how dehydration works, the tools you need, and how to dehydrate almost everything. She covers fruits, nuts, vegetables, greens, herbs, flowers, and meats in the form of jerky. The book even includes a section on making fruit and vegetable powders and fruit leather.
The book includes recipes for making vegetable stock powder, using powdered vegetables and fruits to make baby food, and backpacking and camping food.
However, the best part about this preserving book is that it covers HOW TO ACTUALLY USE the dehydrated produce. Before I got this book, I dehydrated a bunch of produce one year. Then it sat in the back of my pantry because I had no idea what to actually do with it. The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook contains 398 recipes to USE all that food you put up.
And the recipes are good. They don’t include a lot of weird ingredients like some dehydrator cookbooks I’ve seen. There are recipes in this book for using your dehydrated goods in breads and crackers, a delicious squash casserole, and of course lots of soups and stews.
There is even a section of gifts from the dehydrator. It includes things like Dehydrated Cake Cube Chocolates, Edible Ornaments, and potpourri. And don’t miss the section on making tea blends if you are a tea drinker. The combinations sound so delicious and would be even more special since they include ingredients grown in your own backyard.
So these are my favorite canning and preserving books. Have you used one that you found particularly helpful that isn’t on my list? If so, please leave a comment below. I like to add a new canning and preserving book to my collection each year.
- Preserving Roundup – From jams to spicy pickled beans, this post shares lots of canning and preserving recipes from fellow bloggers.
- Freezing tomatoes – You won’t believe how easy it is to put up some homegrown tomatoes for the winter. No special equipment needed!
- Oven Roasted Red Peppers – If you have an abundance of red (or yellow or orange) peppers you can roast them and freeze them to use on sandwiches and in recipes all winter long.
- Equipment you need to preserve you harvest-post coming soon!