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Canning, drying, and freezing are excellent ways to store summer’s bounty. Some methods are simple, like throwing blueberries or sliced peppers into a bag for the freezer, and some are a little more complex, like canning jams, tomatoes, and pickles. Wherever you choose to start, make sure you are using a reliable and up-to-date guide to ensure that your preserved food is delicious and safe.
See our page on home crop storage for more information about how (and where!) to store potatoes, carrots, winter squash, and other storage crops.
There are many, many books about food preservation. Here are some that CISA staff use and enjoy:
Putting Food By, by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan, and The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine, are among the best and most complete books available on home preservation. Click here to read a CISA staff review of Putting Food By!
Stocking up III, by Carol Hupping, offers low-sugar options.
Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz, is a fun and useful guide to the world of beneficial bacteria. A great resource if you’re interested in fermentation to make pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt, or even beer.
Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, is a wide-ranging book with especially good information about lacto-fermentation, cheese-making, and use of organ meats.
This Organic Life, by Joan Dye Gussow, is part how-to, part memoir, part manifesto. This isn’t the book to prop up on the kitchen counter, but it is good reading.
We recommend starting with University Extension Service websites or USDA sources, some of which are listed below. Once you’re confident and savvy enough to assess an author’s competence and concern for safety, the internet is an endless source of ideas, recipes, and inspiration.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette published a great article for beginners with tips, tricks, and FAQs. Check it out: Canning Questions. Canning Answers.
The USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning is available online and offers exhaustive information on canning food safely and includes a very wide range of recipes.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation is another basic and very useful site.
Many state extension service offices provide canning, freezing, and preserving information. The University of Wisconsin site is particularly useful, especially their booklet of salsa recipes for hot water bath canning.
Here is a cost analysis that a blogger did on the cost effectiveness of canning one’s own tomatoes. It’s worth checking out!