When canning season approaches I’m always eager to get out my water bath canner and pressure cooker and try some new (and old) recipes. Plus you never know what you might be gifted a bushel of that needs preserving ASAP! I thought I’d run through some of my favourite canning books to give you some inspiration.
First up is Naturally Sweet Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan. I find many jams have too much sugar in them so it’s nice to have alternatives. The sections are divided into the various kinds of sweeteners : honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup, maple sugar, and agave. There’s a skillet raspberry jam I make with honey that is absolutely delicious. There are also fruit juice concentrate recipes which isn’t my favourite but they have their place.
None of the recipes are massive, so you are making a smaller batch. If you like it then make a bigger batch but at least you don’t have a gigantic assortment of preserves that nobody touches. I love her book…. it’s so captivating….the aesthetics….and I’m all about the aesthetics when it comes to cookbooks.
I don’t have Marissa’s other ‘preserving’ book but this Preserving By the Pint is another small batch one. Her books all have a similar aesthetic and I like that crossover. You know what to expect. There are lots of things to do with various items from your garden. There’s more than just jams – there’s pickles and things you never thought of canning which is fun.
This one is sorted by the seasons. They’re not all necessarily based on produce, for example, there’s one using apple cider. I haven’t tried many of the pickling recipes but mainly that’s because my family isn’t a big fan of pickled things but the jams are delightful.
This one is my absolute favourite of Marisa’s, The Food in Jars Kitchen because it’s about using up all the things you canned that are still hanging around. The table of contents has so many interesting recipes. I’ve tried some but there’s more that I’m itching to make like jam glazed nuts. I love roasted nuts and I never would have thought to try this. Lots of savoury and sweet options.
There’s a yoghurt upside-down cake that’s on my list of things to make. One that I believe is going to become a bit of a staple for us is Jammy Frozen Yoghurt…it is so, so good. Everyone in the house loved it. I realize I keep repeating how this is so good or that is so good but it’s hard when you are looking through some of your favourite books and THEY ARE ALL JUST SO GOOD!
The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning by Diane Devereaux, the Canning Diva, is less seasonal. It’s mainly about pressure canning. So far I’ve used her guide for canning dried beans which was amazing (and life-changing my mom says. She’s plant-based and loves having quarts of organic beans on hand). The biggest thing I wanted to learn out of here was about canning whole meals. It really inspired me to get a plentiful amount of different meals into jars for easy prep on busy days. We already can different meat and fish but canning premade meals is really awesome.
All the recipes in here look delicious. The dried beans – I couldn’t believe how well they turned out – no soaking ahead, just canning. There aren’t any photos which is kind of a bummer but you gotta take what you can get. This is the only pressure canning book that I have bought but I’m really happy with it.
My Bernardin canning book (in the states you have Ball) is a good one for looking up your basics. These are just nuts & bolts cookbooks. Nothing fancy but good reference books.
I hope you enjoyed that quick browse through a few favourites….. more to come…. there’s always another cookbook just around the corner, right?