The Best Books on Canning and Preserving at Home

These are my top picks for books canning and preserving with a focus on pressure canning, dehydrating, freezing, and unique ways to preserve food.

Are you looking for the best preserving and canning books to preserve fresh produce and save your leftovers from going to waste? Do you want tried and true safe recipes for preserving? Look no further.

The best books on home food preservation

Just a reminder that you don’t have to choose the new books! Amazon often has a great selection of used options.

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What are the best books on Canning and Preserving?

  1. The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning by Diana Deveraux of The Canning Diva)
  2. Freeze Fresh by Crystal Schmidt of Whole-Fed Homestead)
  3. Complete Dehydrator Cookbook by Carole Cancler
  4. Naturally Sweet Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars

Here on The Homestead Challenge, we are all about providing the very best and easily digestible information for beginners! Instead of massive recipe books with a million pages, I wanted to highlight the very best books on canning and preserving that teach techniques that are beneficial to the beginner homesteader or anyone hoping to preserve food at home.

four books

Why should I buy these books on canning and preserving?

I own each of the books below and have used them a TON in my first year ever learning to preserve food from the garden and from local farms.

Most people jump straight to canning when starting to preserve food, and freezing and dehydrating are often overlooked! These techniques are equally important to learn and beneficial to the homestead kitchen. If you do not yet own a canner, you can start preserving today by simply learning better freezing techniques or getting your hands on a dehydrator (I got mine on Facebook Marketplace for $10!).

Preserving food is one of the very best things to learn for a beginner homesteader BEFORE you have a large garden or farm. Learning these principles now will lead to much less stress when you have an abundance and need to act quickly before it all goes bad.

Complete Guide to Pressure Canning on a table

What is the Best Book on Pressure Canning?

I use The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning book constantly as a reference for how long to pressure can along with the correct psi for certain types of foods. The reason I love this book is that it it great for when you don’t have an exact recipe to follow, but want to quickly reference how long to can specific meats and vegetables using the handy charts.

Pressure canning is required for low-acid foods. If you want to go beyond canning fruits and tomatoes, a pressure canner is a must! Many people are scared to start pressure canning because they are afraid to explode their kitchen. This book armed me with the confidence and knowledge that 1) I will not blow up my kitchen and 2) I can safely can meat and broth without killing my family.

Pro Tip: You do NOT need both a water bath canner and a pressure canner! Just get a pressure canner and it will do both! Also, a pressure cooker is NOT the same thing as a pressure canner! Click here to learn my very best canning tips!

This book is a great mix of fundamental pressure canning principles, quick reference charts, and recipes. The author even has a few recipes that are a bit unique- Bloody Mary Mix being a family favorite here!

Freeze Fresh on a table

What is the Best Book on Freezing Food?

Freeze Fresh is an excellent resource for knowledge and inspiration on freezing foods. Maybe it is just me… But I did not think that so many foods could hold up so well in the freezer! This book expanded my beliefs about freezing so much. Let’s be honest… sometimes we just feel too lazy or do not have enough time to preserve with canning. Freezing is definitely the easiest way to preserve fresh foods and leftovers with fast preparation.

The author dives deep into different types of foods and how to prepare them properly for the best results when freezing. With step-by-step instructions on preparing, freezing, and thawing, each recipe comes out of the freezing process as good as new.

Did you know you can freeze fresh baked desserts? What about herbs? Cooked sweet potatoes? There is honestly so much to learn about freezing to achieve the best final product that maintains those fresh flavors!

By prepping my vegetable garden bounty (and farmer’s market finds), cooking is so much easier! I love having frozen diced onions and peppers to have on hand to throw into any dish.

Complete Dehydrator Cookbook on a table

What is the Best Book on Dehydrating Food?

The Complete Dehydrator Cookbook is also an excellent book with a mix of a quick reference guide for dehydrating as well as for new recipe inspiration. Dehydrating is also often overlooked when it comes to home food preservation. While a lot of people are moving toward freeze drying, dehydrating remains much cheaper and accessible to the average person. The author also dives in to storing your dehydrated foods and rehydrating for use.

I’ll be honest…I used to think that dehydrating was kind of outdated. I was so wrong! Dehydrating can be a fun way to gift produce or meat, make fancier cocktails with gorgeous dried fruits, and preserve your herbs and spices. The options are pretty endless!

I especially love dehydrating for herbs and tea making. I have yet to make jerky, but the Bulgogi-Style Korean Dried Beef is calling my name!

My favorite section is the part about troubleshooting your dehydrated food (and how to fix it), because… I’ve had a hard time dehydrating once or twice.

Naturally Sweet Food In Jars on a table

What is the Best Book on Healthy Canning and Preserving?

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars is amazing for low sugar, naturally sweet recipes to preserve seasonal fruits and make killer condiments.

Canning jams is honestly the easiest way to start canning (mainly because the recipes are simple and you use the water bath canning method instead of pressure canning). Using a water bath canner is very straightforward, and not scary at all! However, when I first saw just how much sugar went into traditional jam and jelly recipes, I was shocked (and I am not even a super health nut)!

A friend introduced me to Marisa McClellan and her book, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. This book swaps out sugar for coconut, maple syrup, and honey in place of cane sugar or other sweeteners. You just need Pomona’s Pectin in order to successfully can these recipes safely. The recipes still come out delicious and super sweet, despite the significant drop in sugar content.

So far, the Rosemary Peach Glaze has been a favorite! I have also has success with altering her Spiced Blackberry Jam by adding in some locally foraged Beauty Berries. The Smoky Apple BBQ Sauce will definitely be on my list to make next summer!

stack of four books

Best Book on Canning with TONS of Great Recipes

Most people think of canning books and think right away of The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving (yes, this is the one from the makers of Ball jars!). The Ball Blue Book is an excellent resource for the beginning canner and expert home canners alike! It can be a tad overwhelming for the beginner canner. Also, many of the recipes are available free online. If you are looking for a book with a TON of the best recipes, then this might still be a good book for you and is still one of the best canning cookbooks around.

Do you have any favorite preserving or canning books? Tell me in the comments so I can check them out! ⬇️

Are you looking to save money on your groceries this year? Check out my free Monthly Menu Planner to help you use those preserved foods and keep your food budget in check!

If you learn better with video, check out Mary’s Nest on YouTube for step-by-step instructions on all things canning and preserving.

If you want to learn more on preserving foods through fermentation, check out these 15 Essential Fermentation Books for Beginners!

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If you are new to food preservation, below are my picks for the most essential tools for food preservation!

Obviously, get yourself some Ball Trademark Jars for best results when canning. I am not going to link them here because they are almost always more expensive online than getting them in store at your local Walmart or Target.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please visit my privacy + disclosure page for more details.

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stack of food preservation books

About the Author:

I’m Brittany, totally modern and mainstream turned crunchy mama!

Read more here about how I went from a totally incompetent cook and hyper-consumer to striving to live a more meaningful life from scratch.

I can’t wait to share my modern homesteading journey with you and I hope I inspire you to join along!

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  1. I’m gonna have to add a few more of these books to my collection! I’m working hard to learn how to preserve everything possible!

  2. I love stocking up on books about different skills. I’ll definitely be looking into adding to my canning section of books. Thanks for the great recommendations!

  3. Thank you for your experienced post. With our sons birth last July, I became solely responsibly for the harvest in our fairly large urban garden. The problem is I knew very little at the outset of how to handle things and ended up wasting a decent amount of it. Hopefully these books can help me prep

  4. Learned so much and thank you for highlighting your recommendtions on the very best books on canning and preserving. I’m pretty new to canning so learning about all the techniques that are beneficial to the beginner is so important so I don’t screw it up! Thank you.

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