When I first became interested in food preservation I checked out, in rapid-fire succession, almost every related book in the local library system. Some I remember are:
•Perfect Preserves by Hilaire Walden. Image heavy, content light, with esoteric, Martha Stewarty recipes I didn’t think anyone I knew would eat.
•The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine. Perfectly decent explanations of techniques, and plenty of old standby recipes, but you can download damn near the whole thing from http://www.homecanning.com.
•Preserving Food Without Canning or Freezing by the gardeners and farmers of Terre Vivante. Just as the title implies, there’s plenty of drying, jerking, lacto-fermentation, packing in oil, and the like, but no canning or freezing. I already have books and a little experience with drying and jerking, but I was looking to get into canning in particular. I may come back to this one if we gain access to milk or go off the grid.
Then I got my hands on The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest, which I later bought a copy of at the local Cenex (where, I have discovered, they carry practically the entire Storey Publishing catalog).
This book covers canning (boiling water bath and pressure), drying, freezing, and cold storage of fruits and vegetables as well as derivatives of these arts, such as pickles, jams, jellies, relishes, chutneys, and vinegars, all to equal extent. The instructions are easy to understand and explain the whys as well as the hows. And the recipes! In the short time that I’ve been canning I’ve lost track of how many half-pints of Costenbader’s Carrots with Honey and Vinegar I’ve put up. I never expected to like pickled carrots but I can’t get enough of these sweet, tangy, crunchy accompaniments.