Canning Book Reviews

by Josée

While I’ve been canning away, I’ve had the chance to look through a few canning books.

Canning & Preserving for Dummies 2nd Edition (Thorndike Large Print Health, Home and Learning)

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.

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

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!

The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves: 200 Classic and Contemporary Recipes Showcasing the Fabulous Flavors of Fresh Fruits

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.

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Abby August 18, 2010 - 11:42 pm

You might also like "Stocking Up III". That's my all-time-favorite, go-to "Bible" of home preserving, as it has drying, freezing, and canning all in the same place, and tons of info and recipes on each! I use the Ball Blue Book, too, which is far more condensed, but has some of my favorite recipes in it as well.

I'll have to check out the last book you mentioned – I'd love to learn more about canning without pectin. Of course, I'd also like to learn more about low-sugar (not "sugar free", but using less sugar) jams and jellies.

It's awesome that you do so much home preserving! I hope to someday reach that level, though for now I mostly only have the energy and resources to put aside a few "treats" for winter. We also don't have a great space to store tons of canned foods yet. I noticed in a previous post that you said that you do home preserving partly to reduce the amount of BPA, but have no BPA free lids. I'm not sure if these are available where you live, but have you checked out My mom received a free sample of these in the mail – no news yet on how well they work, but if they do work, they'd be a great alternative; reusable *and* BPA free.

Josee August 19, 2010 - 4:40 am

Thanks for the recommendations and link Abby! I'll check those lids out. It would be fabulous to have BPA free canned food 🙂


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