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Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving Paperback – April 14, 2006
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A bible for those of us who consider canning a way of life... clearly written and easy to follow... creative recipes... encouraging, concise text. With its extensive sections on technique, special equipment, the science of preserving and problem solving, the beginning preserve maker as well as the expert will find recipes to love. (Julie Turjoman Contra Costa Times 2006-07-05)
This book packs in user-friendly recipes for novices and experienced canners ... If there's only one book to obtain on the topic, ... [this is] the item of choice. (The Midwest Book Review)
The art, science, and secrets for successful home canning plus more than 400 recipes with variations, tips, techniques, and charts. (Lois Friedman New Horizons)
The season's bounty of fruit and vegetables can be enjoyed year-round with the help of
More than 400 recipes, as well as guidelines for rookies and tips for pros. (Renee Enna Chicago Tribune 2006-08-16)
All-purpose detailed guide to home preserving... extensive tips for beginners and expert canners and troubleshooting pointers. (Margaret C. Merrill Library Journal 2006-11-01)
Will answer all of your questions and many you don't yet know to ask... Homemade is just plain better. (Detroit Metro Times 2006-10-25)
A must-have for home canning veterans for its many terrific new recipes... great for novices too because its breezy, fast-paced jump-in-and-do-it approach makes the techniques of home canning immediately accessible. (Susan LaaTempa Los Angeles Times 2006-08-30)
This all-purpose detailed guide to home preserving from one of the major manufacturers of canning jars offers extensive tips for both beginners and expert canners and troubleshooting pointers. (Library Journal 2006-11-01)
Offers a variety of tempting options for those who wish to preserve summer's bounty. One versatile recipe is the tomato and olive antipasto, which is a wonderful way to use up tomatoes. (Rosemary Buck Daily News (New York) 2009-07-29)
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Equipment? I started with a "boiling-water canner." This can be any deep pot, with a lid and a rack. I purchased, Granite Ware 0707-1 Steel/Porcelain Water-Bath Canner with Rack, 21.5-Quart, Black, but the Ball book explained that any pot big enough to completely immerse the jars in water and is at least three inches deeper than the height of the jars elevated on a rack, (jars must be kept off of the bottom of the pot) will work. The jars must be covered with at least one inch of water and you'll want extra room for the water to come to a full-rolling boil. A specialized rack isn't absolutely necessary either, a cake cooling rack that fits inside the pot, or tying extra screw bands together to make a rack, will work. (Canning racks are also sold separately.) I didn't have a pot on hand to meet these specifications, so I bought the pot/rack combo above. The racks made for water canners have handles, which I think, are the way to go. I'm glad I made the investment because after making jelly, which was out-of-this-world good, I got the canning bug!
As I read through the 400 recipes in this amazing book, I went on to make a few other yummy treats. I made strawberry jam, apple pie filling, spaghetti sauce, and salsa. Truly, making these items with the freshest ingredients resulted in the best tasting product we've ever tried. I would have made more recipes this year, but in the middle of all this industriousness, I had to pack up for moving across the country! Once I get settled...onward and upward.
As a novice, I can't claim any wealth of knowledge or experience, but I can recommend this book to anyone who wants to get started in home preserving. In my quest, I bought a total of four home preserving books but I only needed this one. I feel that by using the information given in this book I've started out on the right track. I found everything I needed to know about equipment, how the process works (boy, am I grateful for everyone who figured all this out, way back when), and have lots of recipes to try in the future. By using Ball's instructions, I didn't feel overwhelmed, confused, or like perhaps I should re-think the whole home preserving decision.
In future, I will make many more water-bath items (fruits/vegetables high in acidity~~don't worry this book explains all of that). Some things that I'm tantalized by are: fruit butters, preserves, conserves, marmalades, more jams and jellies, fruit in syrup (peaches, pears, and the like), apples in all kinds of ways, compotes, more pie fillings, fruit sauces, (think cranberry among others), juices, (which is where I started to make the grape jelly), fruit syrups, more salsa, relish, pickles, (it looks like you can pickle just about anything), condiments, (ketchups, BBQ sauces, chili sauces, mustards, vinegars, and the like), and tomatoes, (whole, chopped, and sauced). In total there are nearly 350 pages of water-bath recipes!
I'm going to use this book, to branch into pressure canning. Ball outlines all of the equipment I'll need. In fact, I have a pressure canner, on my wish list right now! I especially want to make soups and stews. There are numerous recipes for vegetables, but for me, I'll probably stick to freezing those we primarily eat. However, I'm intrigued with the idea of canning potatoes and carrots. Meats, seafood, and poultry can also be preserved in a pressure canner.
You'll see amazing color photographs of several of the recipes, charts for translating ingredients from pounds to cups, neat tips in the margins, (i.e. I added ¼ tsp. butter to my jelly mixture to reduce foaming), condition-cause-solution charts for each section, (i.e. what is the possible cause and suggested solution when soft spreads are tough or stiff), and a section on the "art and science of home food preservation" teaches everything I wanted to know about safely preserving. I thought the science was interesting while at the same time thankful that I didn't have to figure this stuff out. I'm originally from the Rocky Mountains of Idaho, and found the altitude charts helpful. Processing times vary based on altitude. I'm currently moving around and this is important info...thanks to Google, wherever I live, I can know the altitude! There's a glossary of terms in the back of this book along with an excellent index.
Below is a list of the equipment I acquired for water-bath preserving, based on the recommendations within this book. By using the search engine, you'll see there are several to choose from. Some of the tools I purchased separately, are sold grouped together in kits. As I continue to home preserve, I'm sure I'll find more helpful tools to make it easier and therefore keep it enjoyable.
Don't try filling your jars without these items or similar:
Progressive International CKC-300 Regular and Wide Mouth Canning Funnel
Progressive International CKC-500 Canning Scoop
You MUST HAVE a jar lifter! I use Norpro 600 Jar Lifter. Because the seal on the lid can be damaged, using metal tongs is a no-no using Norpro Magnetic Lid Wand or similar, is necessary.
Good luck on your journey! I hope you have as much fun as I have!
Was glad I bought jars locally since some were freezer friendly and some were not! Had to return first ones after finding could not put in freezer. Also one jar was broken on lip in manufacturing (no glass in the box) and easy to return for partial credit locally.
One thing about this book is puzzling and that is that the detailed description of hot water canning (and pressure cooker canning) is at the back of the book, not the front. Also some recipes are odd in that they include some fruits but not others. For example, I plan to can strawberries this weekend and wanted to used powdered Pectin but in section on powdered Pectin no mention of Strawberries. They are mentioned in section not using pectin at all or using liquid pectin. Result is that I have put bookmarks in the various places in the book that I will need until I learn how to do this correctly. While this is a bit puzzling as to why it is organized as it is (I would have put the section starting around 409 in front of the book) there are references back to this section clearly noted. Many of the recipes look good and interesting and will give some of these a try once I get comfortable with canning. Must admit the section discussing various potential disease causing issues was a bit daunting! But has not discouraged me from trying to see if I can do this correctly.
One important section in the back worth special note and that is the listing of altitudes and how that affects the timing of the canning process. I live in Missouri at altitude close to 1000 feet. Would not have thought that would affect my timing but according to the chart I need to add 5 minutes to the time. Since most of the recipes I plan to use call for 10 minute heating that increases my time by 50%! If at higher altitudes than mine important to note the additional time required from this chart. Again, this would be useful in the front of the book as it is not insignificant in properly performing the canning process.
Overall, despite the items above, the book is extremely useful and will be a great help. I am very happy with it having learned its organization. For those like me considering or just getting started in canning and probably those who are experienced this seems a very worthwhile purchase. For those thinking about canning this book could be especially important as it will likely save you from buying the wrong items to do the canning and make sure you have all you need on hand first time you want to do canning.
Nice tips are provided for making your own changes to the recipes, where changes are practical. For example an Oktoberfest beer mustard recipe suggest that you try different styles of beer for varying taste profiles.
I've made several recipes and the ideas provided are useful and encourage trying things that you might not have thought of canning in the past.