Learning how to preserve our food at home is one of my favorite labors of love. So many of the traditions and skills our ancestors and the pioneers used are being lost and forgotten in our modern society. We depend on grocery stores for most of our food.
There’s a danger when we lose the ability to prepare our own food and replenish our pantry ourselves.
Knowing how to preserve your own food is important, not only from a preparedness and self-sustainability standpoint, but for our health, both in our bodies and our bank accountant. This resource guide is meant to help give you the skills and tools to preserve your own food at home.
The links are to articles, tutorials, recipes, books, and courses. There are free resources and some paid, the majority being free.
Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small commission. It costs you no more. Regardless, I only link to products I’ve fully researched and/or used and know will be of benefit to you and your home food preservation.
I hope you enjoy reading and going through these resources as much as I have. Please note, I’m in no way responsible for the outcome of your home food preservation or the advice provided in any of the linked websites, books, or courses.
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Are you ready for some home food preservation?
I have two canning books that I repeatedly look to. While I do love the internet and use it for many many things, I also like having a resource with everything in one spot that I can print out or purchase already bound. Because the power does go out and the internet is not always stable.
I also only use canning resources from sites I trust that follow up to date food safety guidelines, especially in canning.
No matter what produce I have that needs to be preserved, I can find a recipe and a way to stuff it into a Mason jar from either of these two books.
Considered the Bible of canning books (or so I've read, but is one of my most used canning books) Ball Complete Book of Home Canning
I love this book by Sharon of Simply Canning because it also contains many combination canning recipes, a canning your own soup book, plus an entire venison e-book, recipes you won't find just anywhere else and by someone who I trust. Simply Canning's Canning Books
This newer find is a gem, written by certified Master Canner Georgia Varozza The Amish Canning Cookbook: Plain and Simple Living at its Homemade Best I really enjoy the safely canned version of her Boston Baked Beans recipe and her guide to staying safe while canning.
Water bath canning must have:
A large pot and rack or twisted up towel to keep jars off the bottom of the pot and away from direct contact with the heat source
Jars– only use glass jars specifically made for canning, Ball, Mason, and Kerr make good canning jars. You can find jars at thrift stores, garage sales, and auctions. Be sure to run your finger around the rim of the jar to check for nicks or cracks. If they have any cracks or nicks they won’t seal properly and aren’t suitable for canning. Check your local hardware and farming supply stores for deals on new jars and racks, along with your regular grocery store. Remember, you’ll get years out of your jars.
Lids and bands: I reuse our bands but canning lids need to be purchased new each time. I try to keep about 100 lids in the house at all times. That way, when I’m ready to can, I don’t have to worry about running to the store, or if the stores should ever run out.
Update: I've been using Tattler re-usable canning lids for over 9 months now. They do require different steps than regular canning lids. So far, I'm impressed. They hold a seal well and are definitely re-usable. For my full review on Tattler Re-Usable Canning Lids-Do They Really Work? go here.
For a water bath canner that won’t rust or chip, consider a stainless steel water bath canner like this one. (*aff link)
Or the granite water bath canner you’ve most likely seen: waterbath canner with a removable rack. (*aff link)
A 5 piece canning kit, (*aff link) with jar remover, magnetic lid lifter, funnel, kitchen tongs and jar wrench.
Extras to consider:
If you plan on canning juices and jellies (jelly is made from the juice of the fruit and jam is made with the fruit) you’ll want to look into one of these steam juicers. I adore mine. It makes juicing fruit so much easier and faster. I use this 11 Quart Stainless Steel Steam Juicer. (*aff link)
Some people like using a food mill (*aff link) for different sauces.
I’ve used an old-fashioned sieve *aff link (my great-grandmother’s) for years before I purchased my steam juicer.
There are several brands of pressure canners available on the market. I started out with a small Mirro brand weighted pressure canner.
Frugal pressure canners:
This Presto pressure canner *aff link is under a $100 and will get you pressure canning all of your non-acid foods safely. It does use a rubber gasket and can also be used for water bath canning. This is very similar to the pressure canner I've used for over a decade.
Investment pressure canners:
This is an All American Pressure canner.*aff link It has a metal on metal seal so you don’t have to replace rubber gaskets. Many people say this is the Cadillac of pressure canners. My husband got me this canner two Christmases ago and I love it. The best gift ever. I'm able to do up to 19 pints at a time, allowing me to can more at a time. It also tends to stay at a more steady pressure than my older pressure canner.
Need help choosing which canner is best for you and your family? Here's 5 Tips to Choose the Best Pressure Canner for You
Articles and Websites:
My personal 10+ Easy Home Canning Recipes (including low sugar and no pectin jam recipes, green beans, pickled asparagus, and more)
5 Old-Fashioned No Store Bought Pectin Jam and Jelly Recipes
The difference between water bath canning and pressure canning- which way is safe for what foods and which is right for me?
The Trailer Park Homestead shares a great altitude chart for adjusting your canning times along with shelf life of canned goods
101 Canning Recipes from MomwithaPrep for Food Storage
How to Make Ghee Long Term Butter
Homemade Ketchup and Mustard
Pros and Cons of Small Batch Canning
How to Can Pickled Red Onions
Ham & Split Pea Soup Recipe With Canning Instructions
20 Canning Recipes + 9 Tips For Perfect Results
8 Ways to Preserve Pumpkin at Home
6 Fall Canning Recipes
9 Ways to Preserve Apples at Home
Canning Cherry Pie Filling & Recipes
How to Make Apple Butter
How to Pressure Can Apple Pie Filling
How to Make Mango Jam
Canning Your Own Jams, Jellies and Syrups
How to Make Lime Jelly
How to Make Blackberry Lavender Jelly
How to Make and Can Sugar Free Applesauce
How to Make and Can Crock Pot Strawberry Jam
How to Can Rhubarb
How to Make and Can Cranberry Juice
How to Make Grand Marnier Blueberry Jam
How to make and Can Peach Jam
How to Can Pears + a Spiced Pear Recipe
Making and Canning Fig Butter
Homemade Blueberry Syrup With Honey
Sweet and Spicy Plum Sauce
How to Make Natural Old-Fashioned Fermented Pickles (aka saltwater brine pickles like great-grandma)
Salsa Canning Recipes
Canning Safety-How to safely convert recipes for canning and new safety canning techniques you need to know.
The Home Canning with Confidence e-Course is a step by step canning course walking you through canning safety, what you can't can at home even with a pressure canner, how to safely and confidently use a pressure canner, how to smoke and can meat, and more.
You learn how to water bath fruits, pickles (and safely convert brines for canning), homemade jams and jellies without store bought pectin, pie filling, fruit butters, syrups, to pressure canning vegetables, meats, soups, and more! Details here–> Home Canning with Confidence
This is the dehydrator that I use. It’s not as high priced as some, but the square design allows for more food on each tray. It’s quiet and has worked excellent for our needs so far. Nesco Square Dehydrator *aff link
For those who want to up their dehydrating, many consider Excalibur *aff link the deluxe dehydrator on the market. It blows the air from behind instead of on top. You can add additional trays, allowing you to dry more food at once.
Articles and Websites:
How to dry your own herbs
How to make sun dried tomatoes
How to make your own fruit leather
How to Dehydrate Fruit (one tip will save you hours of time)
Dehydrating ground beef safely
How and Why to Dehydrate (Saving Time and space with a dehydrator) Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
How to Dehydrate Vegetable Noodles
Make Your Own Vegetable Powders
Dehydrating cooked beans
101 Dehydrating Recipes
How to Dehydrate and Make Meat Jerky
How to String and Dehydrate Peppers-Off-grid method
How to Make Mushroom Powder
How to Dehydrate Pumpkin
How to Dehydrate Cantaloupe
How to Make Kale Powder
How to Make Honey Spiced Dried Apples
How to Dehydrate Ginger and Make Ginger Powder
How to Make Dried Orange Chips
101+ Dehydrating Recipes for Food Storage, Hiking, and Paleo
Dehydrated Pears: A Sweet Snack
How to Make and Use Tomato Powder
How to Dehydrate Banana's (Chewy Banana Chips)
Dried Watermelon Candy
How to Dehydrate Eggs
How to Dehydrate Garlic
How to Dehydrate Onions
How to Dehydrate Cherries
How to Dehydrate Cranberries
How to Dehydrate Pumpkin and make Pumpkin Flour
Dehydrating Shredded Zucchini
Things That Can Be Dehydrated in a Dehydrator
Dehydrating Whole Strawberries
How to Dehydrate Cherry Tomatoes
How to Dehydrate Blueberries
Dehydrating Garlic and Making Garlic Powder
How to Dehydrate Watermelon
How to Dehydrate Corn
How to Dehydrate Rosemary
How to Make Homemade Instant Mashed Potatoes
Books and E-Courses:
This is the book I still refer to when I dehydrate something new. It also shares off-grid options for dehydrating, along with a plethora of information, tutorials, and recipes for doing milk, eggs, vegetable, fruit, and more. GNOWFGLINS Dehydrating E-Book. *aff link
For even more dehydrating knowledge, this is an in-depth dehydrating course with videos and a membership area to ask questions. GNOWFGLINS Dehydrating E-course. *aff link
If you purchase the e-book you get one month of free membership ($17 value) by emailing [email protected] and mentioning this resource guide and MelissaKNorris.com
Or there’s The Dehydrating Bible *aff link
Obviously a freezer is going to be needed. You’ll also want freezer bags and butcher paper for wrapping meat.
A vacuum sealer has been excellent in keeping our frozen food longer. It eliminates freezer burn and can also be used in vacuum sealing your dehydrated goods. We purchased this Food Saver model *aff link last Christmas and have been very happy with the results. Costco is where we purchased ours when it was on sale a month before Christmas.
A steamer is a quick and easy way to blanch foods before freezing. We use our rice steamer for small batches. My stainless steel steam juicer is also a vegetable steamer and can be used for larger batches.
Articles and Websites:
How to freeze winter squash
How to freeze zucchini
How to freeze fruit at home-3 different ways depending upon how you’ll be using the fruit for later
How to Freeze Eggs
List of vegetables and times to blanch them
How to Freeze Tomatoes
How to Freeze Greens
How to Freeze Bell Peppers
5 Uses for a Vacuum Sealer
How to Freeze Peaches
How to Freeze Eggplant
How to Make Freezer Friendly Pizza Dough
17 Meals to Freeze
How to Freeze Spinach Cubes for Smoothies
Root Cellaring and Cold Storage:
We practice root cellaring without a root cellar or garage. Our winter squash gets stored in the pantry which is dark and stays relatively cool, around 60 degrees in the fall and winter. We store our potatoes in our camper bathroom. If you have a garage, it makes an excellent candidate for root cellaring crops as well.
Articles and Websites:
How to store over 30 fruits and vegetables without electricity
Above ground root cellaring
How to cure and store onions
How to build a root cellar
How to cure and store garlic
Building a Root Cellar in Your Home
Off-grid Refrigeration with a Zeer Pot
5 Time Tested Storage Ideas for Your Garden Bounty
$10 Root Cellar and other methods of cold and root cellar storage *aff link
Root Cellaring *aff link (considered the encyclopedia of root cellaring)
Lots of salt and canning jars, large glass containers with lids, and/or crocks.
Here's our How to Salt Cure Ham including links to curing salt
Articles and websites:
How to make corned pork ribs
How to make salt pork (shows step by step instructions for salt curing pork)
How to ferment garlic
Salt brine recipes
The Process of Preserving Meat by Curing
How to Salt Cure Fish
The Science Behind Salting, Curing, and Brining
How to Cure and Smoke Your Own Bacon
How to Smoke Cheese at Home
How to Ferment and Store Beets
How to Salt and Brine Meat
How to Salt Cure Ham
How to Preserve Basil in Salt
A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing and Smoke Meat, Fish, and Game *aff link
The Art of Fermentation *aff link
Discover Fermentation E-book and Course *aff link If you purchase the e-book you get one month of free membership ($17 value) by emailing [email protected] and mentioning this resource guide and MelissaKNorris.com
Using Alcohol and Oil
You’ll need vodka and/or rum for most recipes. Rum is good with certain fruits and vanilla, but vodka is flavorless. Olive oil is my choice for an all-around oil in preserving.
Articles and Websites:
How to make mint extract with vinegar
How to make vanilla, lemon, and almond extract
How to infuse oils and vinegars
How to make blueberry, basil, thyme vinegar
Preserving Eggs with Oil
Preserve Your Fruits with Rum
Raspberry Wine Vinegar
How to make Mint Extract, and 5 other Extract Recipes
Canning Pears in Cinnamon Vanilla Syrup
I hope you’ve enjoyed this resource guide and start preserving your own food at home. Want more resources like this? Check out my Pioneering Today Podcast for when you’re on the road or doing chores around the homestead and my books, Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old-Fashioned Way and Pioneering Today-A Homemade Christmas.