Top 9 Favorite Books for Preserving the Harvest

by Becky Porter
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There are many ways to preserve the harvest and having a guide on how to do it is key! Personally I am a huge lover of books! I’m old school and really love the tactile version.

Since I love books and I love to read, I have tested a lot of books on preserving. These are my favorites from canning, dehydrating, cold storage and fermenting. For these books to make it to my top favorites they have to have some amazing recipes and/or really important information.


1. Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is the best reference book for canning. If you have one canning book, it should be this one and preferably the larger expanded version. The smaller condensed version is called the Ball Blue Book and it can be found in just about any store that sells canning supplies. All of the recipes in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving have been lab tested for safety.

The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is a great overall canning book if you want the simple basic recipes. This book usually doesn’t add a lot of fancy seasonings and flavors. It also doesn’t overcomplicate the recipes. It’s quite comprehensive covering basic canning for lots of individual vegetables, fruits, and the basic jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, chutneys. It also has a few recipes for low acid pressure canned foods.

2. Foolproof Preserving

In recipes where the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving falls short, FoolProof Preserving comes in and picks up the slack. The book is authored by Americas Test Kitchen so they have tested for the best tasting recipes and can be trusted!

Our family loves the dill pickles, peaches, and the roasted tomato salsa recipe. Cameron and the kids tell me that I need to start selling my salsa, it’s so good. The recipe is from this book, so you too can be a salsa master!

They also have a few recipes for refrigerator pickles if thats more up your alley. Another thing to note for this book is that there are no recipes for pressure canning and low acid foods.

3. Food in Jars

Food in Jars is great for anyone who finds the Ball Blue Book a little basic. She adds extra seasons and flavors to the old favorites. This book is her original first book.

4. Naturally Sweet Food in Jars

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars is another by Marisa McClellan. Part of the reason I like to process my own food is so I can be a little more healthy. I love that this book has recipes with less sugar! It was this book that got me hooked on using pomona’s pectin.


5. Fermented Vegetables

This is an extensive reference type book for fermentation of vegetables. Fermentation is great for maintaining nutrients, enzymes, and cultivating good bacteria in the food which in turn goes into you!

We really love the kimchi recipe from this book. Cameron (who lived in Korea for two years) says the kimchi is very similar to what he had over there. I make mine with less of the Gochugaru (Korean red pepper) because regular kimchi is too hot for me and the kids.

I’ve made carrots, dill pickles, and a few different types of sauerkraut from this book. They are all great recipes.

6. Cultured Food for Life

Cultured Food for Life is the book I found so helpful as I was having all my stomach problems. Donna has some good fermentation recipes for vegetables and fruits. She also has recipes on how to use the ferments you make.

Cold Storage

7. Root Cellaring

Root Cellaring is a great reference book for the in’s and out’s of root cellaring. The authors give you options and plans for fully equipped root cellars, all the way down to storing under a porch or in a buried trash can. I love that there are options for everyone and how to make your produce last as long as possible using what you have already!


8. The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook

If you do any dehydrating, you must have this book. Tammy knows her stuff and has references to timing, temperature, and whether or not you need to blanch before dehydrating for almost all common vegetables and fruits.

My kids really love the fruit leathers. I haven’t tried too many of her just add water meals because they look quite plain and simple. It is nice to have the option to use them if I needed.

All Types of Preserving

9. Homegrown Pantry

This last one covers all of the ways to preserve. It is a new favorite book of mine. This is the first book I’ve found that gives information on how much to grow per person if you would like to save food for the entire year. Obviously this changes based on what your family likes but it’s a great guide! Barbara also gives you options for how to preserve your food for winter.

All the books noted above have been so useful and important to help me preserve. I don’t come from a long line of homesteaders or know anyone locally who preserves for the year, so these books have been helpful teachers!

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