Shelf staple: Cookbook recommendations from the community


The internet may be the greatest resource for home cooks of all stripes, but I think most of us take solace in consulting our tried-and-true cookbooks from time to time. This is especially true with food preservation, where details matter. When you're just making dinner, there's a lot of room for improvisation, but when you're preserving, omitted details or alterations to recipes can create problems down the road. Luckily, Punk Domestics like to curl up with a cookbook or three; I got a few of their favorites.

A few volumes bubbled up to the top, with multiple recommendations. Several of us love Karen Solomon’s Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It ; @GobbaGobbaHey loves it for its simplicity, and @Fallon_Hills puts it in her top three along with The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves and Glass Pantry (pictured above). Ms. Solomon’s book has a special place in my heart as well, and not just because she’s a personal friend -- a review of the book on Eat Me Daily was the inspiration for the name of this site.

On Facebook, Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard was cited by a couple people; fan Sue notes that it has the “best strawberry jam recipe ever.” Fellow fan James also calls out Perfect Preserves by Hilaire Walden. Jennifer plays both sides of the coin, noting So Easy to Preserve for “safe, reliable, all-American recipes” but Christine Ferber’s Mes Confitures for “unsafe, creative, all-French recipes (which can easily be modified to USDA standards if you know what you're doing.)”

Sometimes you gotta go old-school. Sue also referenced the classic Ball’s Complete Guide to Preserving , and @ssallgood adapted the Ball Blue Book recipe for apricot jam by adding fresh ginger. “Just opened 1st jar ... OMG!” Among the other classics, Rachel “earned how to make preserves without added pectin from the Joy of Cooking . It was a great springboard into learning how to develop my own recipes.” Another fan, Carol, gave high fives to River Cottage Preserves .

New books are cropping up all the time; recent releases include Sherri Brooks Vinton’s Put ‘em Up! , Williams-Sonoma’s The Art of Preserving and the soon-to-be-released The Complete Guide to Food Preservation . Will any of these become the go-to tomes for food preservationists? Only time will tell.

What are your favorite books on preserving?

Fruits of the Earth

I love this book by Gloria Nicol. I have never seen reference to it and stumbled across it at my local cooking store.

great books

I fell in love with Rachel Saunders book the moment I laid my eyes on it. I made one recipe so far, put a few adjustments in and this became my best jam! Pear with saffran and ginger with a touch of espelette chili, mmmm
and then there is the Riverside book.
At the moment I am trying to get through an italian jambook which I brought with me.
Happy Holidays from snowy Sweden!

fave cookbook: canning /preserving

Summer in a Jar: not sure it's still in print, but probably find-able online or at book sales- the beauty of this book is that it gives recipes in 1-jars-worth quantities as well as full batch quantities- so if you have a handful of beans and want to make 1 pint jar of dilly beans- you can do it. Plus it's got the most amazing apricot chutney recipe . ever.

Collecting canning and preserving cookbooks

Two of my favorites are the Farm Journal Canning and Preserving Cookbook (circa 1963) and Joy of Pickling, a new addition to my library. The first is full of great, time tested wisdom, and the second has many interesting and creative pickle recipes.

I love my old Farm Journal

I love my old Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook (1963) for inspiration and for new takes on traditional stuff, I like the Joy of Pickling.

Cookbook junkie

I am also a cookbook junkie; of late I've taken to buying vintage San Francisco-themed cookbooks on eBay, like San Francisco Firehouse Favorites and Joe Tilden's Recipes for Epicures. Thanks for the additional suggestions. I'll add them to the store!


I'm kind of a cookbook junkie - I especially like really old or out of print cookbooks. One I'd like to recommend for preserves are: Farm Journal's Country Cookbook (1959). It's got way too many cool recipes to list but two of my favorites are: Bluebarb Jam (Blueberry Rhubarb) and Spiced Peach Jam. A lot of these are freezer jams aka made with pectin.
Then for just a zillion ideas from Jam to BBQ Sauce and everything in between I just found: Susan Costner's Gifts of Food at a yard sale. It's from 1984 and is out of print. Once in a great while they have it on Amazon. If you can find it, grab it.

Great suggestions

Love these suggestions! I can literally spend hours perusing my cookbooks. Have you checked out the Canal House series? Great, unique recipes, wonderful homey stories and photos. Love your nice site!

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