The Canning and Preserving Handbook

Although Amazon identifies me as the author of this book, I’m really just the editor. The Canning and Preserving Handbook is adapted from the latest edition of the USDA’s classic Complete Guide to Home Canning. My job was to edit the text for clarity and consistency, so that the recipes and other instructions would be easier to read and follow.

The book opens with basic instructions, handsomely illustrated in watercolor, for water-bath and pressure canning. The remaining chapters comprise recipes for canned fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes in various forms, and chutneys, pie fillings, jams, jellies, ketchup, hot sauce, salsas, fermented pickles, vinegar pickles, and relishes. These are the basic recipes from which cookbook writers like me derive processing times for our own canned creations. All that the publisher and I left out are poultry, red meats, seafood, and a home economist’s bizarre invention called Zucchini-Pineapple.

For only $9.95 from Amazon, The Canning and Preserving Handbook comes with a comb binding, hard cover, and a lot of lovely full-page photos. I recommend this book for anyone who would like to keep at hand the USDA’s home-canning recipes, recommendations, and rules, all written in plain, unbureaucratic English. This sturdy, attractive little book would also make a fine gift for a beginning canner.

UPDATE 2022: The Canning and Preserving Handbook is now out of print, but used copies are available online.

0 thoughts on “The Canning and Preserving Handbook”

  1. I’ve got a USDA question for you …. I just made some mustard pickles that required the use of Clear Jel, which isn’t sold anywhere around here. I can understand their worry about using thickening agents in low acid foods because of the heat transfer properties, but am having trouble with understanding what the problem might be in a pickle, since the pH alone should take care of any nasties without the heat. I heard a rumor that they were thinking of relaxing their recommendation about not using flour in canning recipes. Have you heard anything? As always, I appreciate your thoughts.

  2. Cynthia, I believe the main concern about wheat flour, and regular cornstarch as well, is that the starch breaks down with canning, so that a thick sauce becomes runny. I tried a pickle recipe with flour only once, at least 20 years ago, and I threw out the pickle because I didn’t like it (my dislike may have had nothing to do with the flour), so I don’t have personal experience with the runniness problem. Since wheat flour is a traditional ingredient in Anglo-American mustard pickles, though, we know that people have used it successfully in the past. I don’t know whether the problem of runniness occurs with boiling-water processing, long storage, or both.
    Keep in mind that flour was originally added to mustard pickles to imitate the thickness provided by ground mustard seeds in India and, sometimes, other ground seeds or nuts in Southeast Asia. If you really like mustardy pickles, you might try substituting ground mustard for the flour in your recipe.

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