image of canning jars with book label

Best Canning Books for Beginners Home Preserving 2024 

There’s nothing better than a bookshelf full of books that actually get used! In this post, you’ll find the most recommended and safe canning books that need to be on your wish list for 2024! All of these books are research based, and owned by us– as well as used often! With color photographs and beautiful, easy to understand instructions, you’ll be well on your way to understanding the in’s and outs of your canner, and lining your shelves with the most popular foods for your family! 

image of canning jars with book label

Benefits of Home Caned Food 

While home canning may seem intimidating to many first-time canners, the benefits of having shelves lined with home canned foods far outweigh any downsides. Once you learn how to safely preserve fruits, vegetables and meats, there’s no limit to the number of delicious recipes that can be whipped into a delicious, nourishing meal for your family! From jams and sauces all the way to meals in a jar, home canners have an unlimited amount of options for quick and easy meals at the crack of a jar! 

Importance of learning safe canning techniques 

Learning proper canning techniques is crucial for ensuring the safety of eating preserved foods. If canning is done incorrectly, it can lead to bacterial growth, foodborne illnesses, and spoilage. To avoid these risks, it is essential to follow tested recipes, use appropriate canning methods (such as water bath or pressure canning), and adhere to recommended processing times, temperatures, and sterilization procedures to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms. All of the resources shared in this post are research based and tested resources. 

Safety aside, we don’t want to waste our precious time in the kitchen, only to find out something turns out poorly. Creating recipes on your own or relying on what an internet influencer may or may not have even attempted to store long term will lead to disappointment for the work you’ve put in. The books and guides shared below are not only tested for safety, but also tested for quality and proven to provide delicious recipes over and over again! 

How to decipher a good canning resource

Be wary of a pressure canning cookbook, as a cookbook and a canning book are not the same thing! This is also something to keep in mind if you need to purchase a pressure canner! Not all pressure COOKERS are pressure CANNERS but you can use your CANNER as a COOKER! The difference is mainly the size of the appliance. 

As of lately, many will only promote safe canning sources being from USDA, university extension and certified master food preserver resources. However, many of the Ball books are still recommended below as they have not yet been proved unsafe, and when cross-referenced they have identical recipes to the USDA resources. 

Top 5 canning cookbooks to have on your bookshelf!

1. Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving 

This resource provides the best step-by-step instructions for anyone to follow along! Paired with simple recipes, this book will provide you with the ability to line your shelves with home canned staples, either pressure canned or water bathed! This book has the most classic recipes to get you started with your water bath canner or pressure canner. 

2. USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

This is the NCHFP, National Center of Home Food Preservation website in book form! For the low price, this is one of the best books to have on the shelf, but the alternative is to print out the recipes you commonly find on the NCHFP site. 

3. The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving 

This resources covers a step-by-step guide to preserving your favorite foods in great detail. There are also many flexible recipes and it has the best tips for home food preservation! We love the resource in this book for meals in a jar and the illustrations are beautiful! This book is a great resources to show you the flexibility and ease of pressure canning to start lining those shelves with meals in a jar! 

4. Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving 

This book contains more information on other forms of home food preservation, which makes it contain less information about water bath canning and pressure canning. If you are looking for unique recipe ideas, this is a good one, otherwise stick to the other ball books focused solely on home canning.

5. Ball Canning Back to Basics 

This is a great step-by-step guide, but it is a repeat of the other resources ranked higher. It would not be a terrible thing to be gifted this book, but it’s not personally one that needs to be on my bookshelf as it offers nothing new and innovative in the world of canning cookbooks. 

How to decipher a safe canning influencer 

There are many great resources for canning on the internet. How should someone decide if they are providing safe recipes? Many popular people like Amber Benson, expert Angi Schneider, and Jarden Home brands serve as a great resource to the canning world. they likely have years of experience in home canning and are not looking to lead anyone astray, however, it is best to follow instructions from the resources above until you are extremely confident in the science of home canning before you follow style of another home canner. 

All resources mentioned in this post follow safe food preservation practices and safe canning practices– they are also our favorite books with the best recipes! While we do see many influencers sharing their own recipes or comprehensive guide, we stick to the science and believe there is no need to reinvent the canning wheel when someone else has already researched flavorful canning recipes! 

Other Canning and food preservation resources 

NCHFP Website ( If you can’t afford or aren’t ready to buy any canning cookbooks right now, this is a great resource! It covers how to can and has all the guidelines you need!  

Our very own Canning Course! Yes, You can! Ashley has not only been canning our own food for a number of years, but also making it a time-saving practice! Meal prep and preparing food in a delicious way doesn’t have to take all your time! Join our canning course to get the most simple instructions on how to fit using these cookbooks in your daily life! 

Local Extension and Outreach offices! The link will help you find your local office if you aren’t familiar with extension services! They offer TONS of resources and classes, usually at a low cost because they are associated with a state university. Iowa State’s Preserve the Taste of Summer is a great option for an online or in-person course.

Freeze Fresh freezer book– If you aren’t ready to jump into the world of canning quite yet, this is one of the best cookbooks to line your shelves! it’s focused on freezing garden produce and is the beginner’s guide to freezing and using frozen produce. 

Other Resources from our farm:

Let us know when you take the leap into canning your own meals using the books below! We’d love to hear from you!

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