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Canning and Preserving Recipe Books

Canning and preserving the harvest can be equally overwhelming and necessary. These are the best books I’ve found for recipes and techniques that meet modern safety standards.

collection of canning and preserving ingredients scattered across a grey surface with text overlay best canning and preserving books for the homestead kitchen

There’s also the safety issue. I’m not saying that you can’t find safe recipes online. You can. But I’m personally more comfortable getting tested recipes from Ball or America’s Test Kitchen.

A personal goal of mine is to never give anyone botulism.

This list is based on my canning preferences, the big one is I only do water bath canning. I have a pressure canner but I’ve never used it.

If you’re looking for more info on pressure canning check out this Pressure Canning Course from Simply Canning.

I tend to stick to small batch canning and my book collection reflects that. The only large quantities I deal with are salsa, pickled peppers, and no peel applesauce.

My personal gardens tend to overflow with strange and uncommon ingredients and I’ve found that books filled with hundreds of recipes are more likely to include stranger ingredients like ground cherries.

Best All Around Canning Book

My go-to book is the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, if I had to pick only one book this would be it. The Ball Book is straight up the basics.

Any version of this book published after 2012 is considered safe, the latest version released in 2024 has updated all recipes to use bottled lemon juice, removed elderberries (low acid fruit), and added a note about not using white peaches in canning recipes (another low acid fruit).

The recipes aren’t fancy but the techniques are all proven classics. The only problem I have with this particular book is that some of the recipes call for huge quantities. I’m talking bushels of tomatoes.

Most of the recipes are for water bath canning but there is a chapter on pressure canning.

My go-to Recipes: Apple Pie Filling, Zesty Salsa, and Seasoned Crushed Tomatoes

If you aren’t ready to jump in with a book, Ball Canning has a very informative website filled with all sorts of recipes and techniques for everything from canning jam to fermenting your own sauerkraut.

Best Beginner Canning Book

You can’t go wrong with America’s Test Kitchen and  Foolproof Preserving is no exception. It has a great introduction to canning with easy-to-follow instructions making it especially valuable to the beginning canner.

The thing that sets this book ahead of the pack is the pictures. If you can’t learn to can from someone, having detailed pictures is the next best option.

It has chapters covering sweet & savory jams, pickles, tomatoes, fruit in syrup, and condiments & fruit butter.

Not all of the recipes are for water bath canning, it also has refrigerator pickles and jam. You aren’t going to find a lot of crazy and unique recipes here but it does cover all the classics.

Stand Out Recipe: Spicy Tomato Jam

Best Small Batch Canning Book

The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round was one of the first books I bought specifically on small-batch canning.

I have at least 30 recipes flagged in my copy and notes scribbled all over it. They have a lot of unique flavor combos and ideas.  It works out because small-batch canning is great for experimenting.

Again, not all of the recipes are for canning, there are refrigerator and freezer options. You also get a bonus section on flavored oils & specialty vinegar.

Stand Out Recipes: Bluebarb Jam, Fire-Roasted Pickled Sweet Red Peppers & Herbed Lemon Vinegar

Best Book for Using What You’ve Canned

Well-Preserved: Recipes and Techniques for Putting Up Small Batches of Seasonal Foods is a little different than the others on the list.

Each chapter is organized around one preserving recipe. Then you get several recipes that utilize what you just canned.

It’s a cool concept, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put up a dozen jars of something only to wonder afterward what the heck to do with it all!

I don’t eat a lot of bread so the 9 million jars of jam don’t make that much sense in my house… Unfortunately, I’ll never learn and I’ll be making jam until I die!

There are fewer recipes in this book than in the others I’ve shared but each one is truly unique and covers a different preserving technique.

Stand Out Recipes: Pickled Cauliflower & Strawberry Balsamic Jam

Best Book For Tiny Batches & Unique Recipes

Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces from the author of Food in Jars is by Marissa McClellan from Food In Jars.

The recipes in the book really are tiny. Some make only a half-pint! I’ve doubled a few with success (the pizza sauce) and failed at others (rhubarb rosemary jelly).

There are a lot of creative, unique recipes I’ve never seen anywhere else. Marissa is certainly a genius when it comes to flavor combinations.

There are a few errors in this one, one recipe calls for salt but never adds it (I think it’s the pizza sauce) so keep that in mind as you’re following along.

Stand Out Recipes: Peach Jam with Sriracha, Pickled Garlic Scapes & Pizza Sauce (seriously, try the pizza sauce! One 1/2 pint jar makes 2 pizzas)

I’m always on the lookout for new books, if you have a favorite leave it in the comments so I can check it out!

Don’t forget to PIN this to your canning board!

Check out my Preserving Page for more information or start here:

white distressed crate filled with fresh whole apples wit more apples scattered on a wooden surface