The Best Canning Books

A look at the best books for home canning and preserving. These books are great for beginner or more advanced canners. Choices for anyone interested in canning, whether to save money or to have fun.

home canned food next to pickling cucumbers in garden

1. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

No collection of canning books is complete without the classic Ball Canning book. Easy to follow and lab-tested, you can rest assured that these classic recipes are safe.

Most recipes include step-by-step instructions and photos. They also let you know what substitutions can and can’t be made.

It is printed in a spiral bound edition which is wonderful if you can get your hands on it, as it lays flat.

This book focuses on water-bath canning and is suitable for beginners. An essential for anyone who wants to preserve food at home.

2. The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning

Need some canning tips to help you have a better day of home preservation? Visit this post.

For more advanced canners who are interested in pressure canning, this is a great resource.

Beyond the basics of salsa, pickles, and jams that are water bath canned, a pressure-canned will process everything from soup to meat to beans.

There are step by step instructions for the recipes, but they are mostly illustrated, not photographed. I found this charming, but it’s something be aware of it you prefer to see a photo of the finished product.

This book has not only recipes, but guidelines for the beginner pressure canner. It is a much different process than working with a water bath canner, and Diane is a great guide.

3. Foolproof Preserving

This books focuses on small batches and big flavors and will appeal to those of us with a “foodie” side.

There are recipes for the classic home canned goods: tomatoes, pickles, jams, and chutneys. Most of them are in smaller batches so they will actually get eaten.

There are also quite a few recipes for more unusual things like figs, clementines and jams infused with unique flavors like tea and herbs.

They do a great job of including photographs of every stage of the process: showing what size to chop an ingredient, how to remove bubbles from a jar, and what jam should look like when it’s cooked properly.

One thing to note: not all of the recipes are for shelf-stable canned goods. Some still require refrigeration.

4. The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook

If you love jams, this book deserves a place on your kitchen bookshelf. It is loaded with over one hundred fruit jam recipes with intense, fresh fruit flavor.

There are marmalades, berry jams, stone fruit jams, as well as jellies, and a lovely blend of classic and more exotic recipes.

One thing to note: the author of this book has no love for “quick and easy” techniques. She will teach you how to make jam the way she things it should be done, and sometimes specifies unusual ingredients and expensive equipment. Her recipes are pectin free and often require many steps. I have made many of the recipes and do not mind the extra steps, but it’s something to be aware of before you purchase.

5. Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry

This book has a blend of many of the styles from the previous canning books: there are some basic things like plain canned tomatoes, and also some more exotic recipes like floral infused jams.

There is also a section specifically for pressure canned recipes, with good information for beginners.

The author has a gift for explaining things clearly. There are also somewhat personal sections with stories, which makes this one of those delightful “readable cookbooks that are for more than reference.

Wonderful as an all-in-one resource, with a heavy dose of charm.

Related: Recommend Canning Supplies for Beginners

6. The Homestead Canning Cookbook

This book is perhaps the newest, and it’s one of my favorites. There is no wading through overly strange recipes that no one will ever make: every recipe in The Homestead Canning book is practical and accessible.

It begins with an introduction about the why of canning and how to do it safely that is well written and clear enough for absolute beginners.

The recipes are broken up by ingredient (a chapter on tomatoes, a chapter on berries, etc.) which makes it easy to glance at what’s in season and find a recipe you’d like to try.

It is written in a gentle and encouraging tone that inspires me to fire up my canner on a hot summer day. And that is worth more than you might you think.

7. Weck Small Batch Preserving

Maybe you are familiar with Weck jars, which are beautifully shaped and have rubber seals.

If you are, you will love this canning cookbook devoted specifically to them. It has small batch recipes. Most of them are not your basic canning recipes (you know… strawberry jam and crushed tomatoes). But they are still accessible and practical. Her kimchi recipe is delicious. There are recipes for fruit infused alcohols and other things that are different enough to be exciting, but still perfect for everyday use.

A great choice for the more experienced canner who doesn’t need another beginner’s guide.

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The Best Canning Books

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  1. For anyone trying to find the books or finding them too expensive (in Brazil the taxes are absurd!) you can find all of them in Zlibrary and download for further use! It’s been a life saviour when I am unable to purchase them here.

  2. I’m looking for a very old edition of the Ball Blue Book canning, at least 25-30 years old. Any ideas?

    1. I have seen some on eBay and on Mercari. Those are both great places to start looking. I have looking for some myself and found some great ones for ok prices. Hope it helps!