If you find yourself with more garden produce than you can eat right away, now is the time to learn to preserve your food! I’ve searched through dozens of options and found the best books on preserving so you can learn how in the most effective way possible.
Books to Teach You Food Preservation
Preserving food is an important pillar of homesteading and simple living. If you grow your own food, whether in a large garden or a patio garden, preserving food is a great way to enjoy it more fully.
If we want to live as seasonally as possible, that means there isn’t a lot to eat in the winter. For centuries, humans have grown an abundance of food in the summer and preserved it through the fall to feed their families until the next gardening season. Preserving food is not vital to our survival anymore, but it is a richly rewarding and satisfying practice that roots us to our past.
There are many different ways to preserve food, some old and some new. All of the methods are valuable and it’s best to employ more than one as not every method is suitable for every fruit or vegetable.
Learning how to preserve in these various ways can be quite overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many experienced and knowledgeable authors out there that lay everything out in book form! The challenge is finding the books worth reading. That’s where I come in.
Why Should You Trust This List?
I looked through each of the books that made this list, and several that didn’t, to determine which are the most useful, clear, informational, and helpful to new preservers.
I have years of experience in preserving food in my homestead kitchen, but I am also nowhere near an expert. That helps me know what to look for in a book and understand what a beginner needs to know!
This list is curated to cover all of the different preserving methods and share only the food preservation books that will get you excited about preserving and equip you well.
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links, I will earn a small commission that helps me continue to provide gardening content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure here.
A Note on Buying Books
I always encourage folks to buy their books at locally owned bookstores or check them out from the local library when possible. That said, there is certainly a value to owning reference books and many of them are challenging to find locally.
I share Amazon links to make them accessible to as many people as possible, but local bookstores and bookshop.org are definitely the better options when possible!
The Best Books on Preserving Food
If you want a quick answer, below are my top 3 best recommendations for learning how to preserve food.
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
- The Farm Girl’s Guide to Preserving the Harvest by Ann Accetta-Scott
- Foolproof Preserving by America’s Test Kitchen
To jump ahead to a specific category, check out the list below:
- Best All-Around Books on Preserving
- Best Books on Canning
- Best Books on Fermenting
- Best Books on Root Cellaring (Cold Storage)
- Best Books on Other Preservation Methods
Best All-Around Books on Preserving
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
This book is Ball’s most comprehensive home preserving guide and is chock-full of over 400 creative recipes. It includes loads of canning information and recipes as well as tips scattered throughout the margins.
The book also covers freezing and fermenting recipes and information. This book got my top recommendation because it’s from a trustworthy source, it’s loaded with information, and it covers a variety of preserving methods.
The Farm Girl’s Guide to Preserving the Harvest by Ann Accetta-Scott
This book is a full guide to the basics of all different types of preserving. Written by a homesteader, Accetta-Scott has hands-on experience and understands what it’s like as a beginner.
Where other guides lack the very basics, this book covers literally everything you may not know, which makes it the perfect guide for new or intermediate preservers.
It covers water bath and pressure canning, dehydrating, curing, smoking, fermenting, cold storage, freezing, and freeze-drying, all in one simple book.
The Ball All New Book of Canning and Preserving
I like any book by Ball because I find them to be highly trustworthy for canning recipes (this is important to avoid safety issues!). This one is chock-full of both unique and classic recipes with a few non-canning recipes mixed in as well.
It has a section at the beginning to fill you in on the basics of canning. This is a very clear and helpful guide that will cover all of the basics so you know how to follow their recipes.
With recipes like peach ale mustard and orange-banana jam, this book will excite you with some unique recipes that you can trust.
Preserving Everything by Leda Meredith
This book is a perfect simple guide. It does not overwhelm the reader with tons of information and anecdotes, making it a relaxing and ideal book for beginners. With simple recipes for canning, pickling, freezing, and more, you can preserve loads of different vegetables.
Nearly every page of this book is a clearly laid-out, simple recipe with simple ingredients you have on hand.
Where other books overwhelm, this book is the perfect go-to book when you just need to crack open a book and find a recipe you want to make. I loved the candied grapefruit peels and giadinieri garden pickles!
The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables by Angi Schnieder
This book is another big-picture preservation book that covers all the different methods for preserving food. What sets it apart is how it is organized and its straightforward, delicious recipes.
Each chapter covers a different fresh produce item from the garden with accompanying recipes. This is useful for the home gardener so that when you find yourself with an abundance of one food, you can easily find several recipes for preserving it.
With a wide variety of recipes like dried beet powder, fermented cauliflower with curry, or freezer cucumber tzatziki, this book covers it all.
Best Books on Canning
Foolproof Preserving by America’s Test Kitchen
This is one of my favorite canning cookbooks of all time. It is full of delicious recipes with step-by-step photos and clear and concise directions. The recipes come with a list of suggested uses and tips for making alterations.
There are many classic recipes like applesauce and some fresh flavors such as chipotle ketchup. With loads of helpful troubleshooting information and beginner-friendly directions, this is a great book to get started canning.
Ball Canning Back to Basics
Another good book by Ball, this one focuses exclusively on canning. With most of the basic recipes you may be looking for as well as some more unique and exotic ones, this book covers them all.
It offers information and guidance for those learning how to can and clear, visual recipes. For all things water bath canning, this is a book to keep around.
The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning by Diane Deveraux
Most of the canning books out there focus mostly on water bath canning because it is great for beginners and the most common canning method. There are many low-acid foods that must be pressure canned, however, so many home preservers opt for that method at times.
This book is full of useful information, step-by-step instructions, and great recipes for pressure canning. With recipes for prepared canned goods such as pasta sauce and chicken curry, this book has it all. If you have a pressure canner and you’re ready to get started learning, start with this book!
Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan
This book’s tagline is “seasonal canning for small spaces” and that is exactly why I love it. Many canning cookbooks are for pretty large batches and if you have a small garden, small family, or small pantry, this is impractical. This book is full of simple, delicious recipes in small portions. Most of the recipes make three or fewer pints and they are written out in a simple, easy-to-follow manner. With gorgeous photography and a beautiful, clear layout, this is a book to keep in the cookbook stack for years to come.
Best Books on Fermenting
Fermented Vegetables by Christopher Shockey and Kirsten K. Shockey
This book is the perfect fermentation guide. The first section takes readers through all of the basics, the second is full of fantastic fermentation recipes for 64 vegetables and herbs, and the third section offers recipes to use the fermented veggies.
It is categorized by vegetable, making it perfect for fermenting specific items of abundance. If you can only choose one fermentation book, I would choose this one. With basic recipes like simple sauerkraut and more unique recipes such as curried beets, you’re sure to find recipes you’ll love in this book.
Fermenting: A Beginner’s Guide to Fermentation by Self Reliant Books
This is the most comprehensive book on the art of fermentation I’ve found. It shares everything you need to know to understand fermentation, prepare for it, and actually ferment food.
With a section on frequently asked questions and loads of easy recipes to start with, this book is perfect for beginners who want to fully immerse themselves in the art of wild fermentation.
Best Books on Root Cellaring (Cold Storage)
Root Cellaring by Mike Bubel and Nancy Bubel
This book is specifically focused on the preservation method of root cellaring and it covers the topic in its entirety. From what to grow and how to harvest it to a step-by-step guide to building a variety of different root cellars, this book covers everything you need to know.
If you want to try your hand at root cellaring, even if just in your basement, this book is what you’ll need to get started. It also shares some of the best recipes for simple meals to make with root cellar produce!
The Joy of Keeping a Root Cellar by Jennifer Megyesi
Another fantastic book that covers a little of everything, I would recommend this one to cover all the basics of preserving. The Joy of Keeping a Root Cellar is an information-based book about canning, freezing, drying, smoking, and other methods of preserving homegrown foods.
What makes this book unique is its guide on harvesting different fruits and veggies at their peak ripeness and an entire chapter on root cellaring.
Few books that I’ve found take a deep dive into how to keep a root cellar for cold storage of vegetables. This one gives all the information needed to design and build a root cellar as well as the ideal temperature, humidity, and lifespan for all of the common root cellar veggies. If you’re interested in a book that covers cold storage as well as other preservation methods, this is a great one.
Best Books on Other Preservation Methods
Freeze Fresh by Crystal Schmidt
While lots of broad preservation books cover freezing in a chapter or two, this is the best book I’ve found that focuses specifically on freezing.
The book covers all of the information you need to freeze food effectively, such as what kinds of containers to use and different types of blanching.
It also offers a guide to freezing all the types of foods you may want to preserve. I found this feature particularly useful because you can find detailed instructions for freezing a specific produce item without sifting through loads of irrelevant information. If freezing is your go-to preservation technique, this book is a must-have.
Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning by The Gardeners and Farmers of Terre Vivante
This book is great to have because it covers a lot of traditional preserving techniques that don’t find their way into most books. It covers techniques like preserving in oil, alcohol, and sugar or preserving in the ground. I haven’t found a lot of books that cover so many unique preservation methods and it is full of traditional knowledge and recipes that have been passed down generations. It is wordy and lacks photos, so keep that in mind if that matters to you, but it is a fantastic book.
Complete Dehydrator Cookbook by Carole Cancler
Dehydrating food as a preservation method is not new, but the now-popular electric dehydrators are. This book covers what you need to know to start drying food and shares lots of recipes to dehydrate all of your fruits, vegetables, and even meat. With gorgeous photography and clear writing, this book is a great guide to this type of home food preservation.
Preserving Wild Foods, By Matthew Weingarten and Raquel Pelzel
I love books that make preserving feel simple and exciting, and this is one of those books. It is written specifically for foraged food, so if you aren’t a forager this isn’t your book.
If you do enjoy foraging, this is the best book I’ve found for learning to preserve commonly foraged foods such as rose hips, black walnuts, and fiddlehead ferns. With really clear, concise recipes, interesting anecdotes, and beautiful illustrations, this is the perfect book for foragers.