I learned to can in Home Economics class in high school. My mother knew how to can and had all the equipment, but she and my father were cherry farmers and ran a fruit brokerage business so she was too busy during canning season to even consider it.
Thanks to my teacher, Mrs. Raftshol, I learned how to can and over the years I’ve done a lot of it. This year I decided to try canning ketchup, which I’ve never done before and the results were amazingly flavorful!
Today, whether I’m using a new recipe or an old one, I abide by one of the lessons that was drilled into my head by Mrs. Raftshol - the importance of using good, well-tested recipes AND safe canning techniques. Because of that I always have an up-to-date copy of the Ball Blue Book on hand and most recently I subscribed to the Ball Home Canning newsletter. Why do I focus on an up-to-date copy of the Ball Blue Book? Because I know that it will provide me the latest in the how-tos of canning and it’s great for every canner from beginner on because it includes instructions on the principles of home canning, how to ensure quality foods, food classification, proper processing methods and more - along with great, tested recipes.
Also in the Ball Blue Book there’s a section that lays out the equipment that those who are new to canning need to have and detailed instructions on recipe preparation, equipment preparation and the process of filling the jars and getting the food ready for processing.
Meanwhile the Ball Home Canning website offers a wealth of great recipes that you can use — although you have to have the book to get the tomato ketchup recipe I used. However online you can find recipes for items as basic as tomato sauce to more exotic recipes like Plum Habanero Salsa.
So whether you have a mountain of summer bounty to preserve or you just like to do small batches of specialty foods to have on hand, I recommend starting your preserving adventure with the Ball Blue Book as your guide. From there you can branch out, but I do warn against using untested recipes found online unless they come from a site focused on home canning, like the Ball Home Canning site or from science based sources like extension services.
If your copy of the Ball Blue Book is getting old or if you’ve never used one, you can purchase it through Amazon by clicking on the Buy on Amazon button at the bottom of the picture below. If you do purchase through this website I may receive a small commission.
Note: I'm a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com