While I’ve been canning away, I’ve had the chance to look through a few canning books.
A good book for beginner canners, Canning & Preserving for Dummies explains the process of canning simply and thoroughly. The book isn’t limited to water bath canning; it also covers pressure canning, freezing and drying. I didn’t use any recipes from this book because there aren’t a lot of them. However, it is a good beginner reference book.
The Bernadin (Ball in the US) Complete Book of Home Preserving is filled with recipes. It has recipes for jams, jellies, butters, conserves, preserves, marmalades, fruit, salsas, relishes and chutneys, condiments, pickles and tomatoes. Most of the jams and jelly recipes depend on store bought fruit pectin for setting, which is fine is that’s what you want.There is a section on pressure canning, but it’s not extensive. The instructions on canning are few compared to other books. I made the peach salsa from this book and it tastes delicious!
If you want to learn about making jams, jellies and other soft spreads without using store bought fruit pectin The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and other Sweet Preserves is a good place to start. The first 30 pages of the book cover the history and basics of preservation. Pectin is discussed in length and there’s even a handy list of fruit pectin content. The book is divided alphabetically by fruit starting with Apple and ending with Zucchini. Because the author is from California and lives in Oregon, a lot of the recipes are based on fruits from those states. There are recipes for tropical fruit too. Even though there are many recipes that I wouldn’t make, because of the availability of the fruit where I live, the layout and writing style of the book make it pleasant and easy to use.