It’s the bible of home-canning. My original copy, purchased in 1971 when I moved to the north country, has finally reached retirement: pages falling out of the binding, other pages stuck together (syrup from peaches canned and consumed years ago). I’ve held off replacing it, but this week I gave in and bought two newer versions, one from about 20 years ago, the other the current edition.
What makes the Ball Blue Book so essential? It has all the information you need to run a successful in-home canning kitchen. And even though I’ve been doing this for decades, I need the Ball Blue Book to help me remember from year to year: how long to process a quart of tomatoes, how much salt to use per pound of cabbage for sauerkraut, or the ratio of sugar to water for a light syrup to pour over peaches.
If you’re new to home-canning, I have two recommendations: get a copy of the Ball Blue Book, and spend an afternoon or two canning with a friend or neighbor who knows how to do it. My neighbor showed me the basics years ago, along with sharing her Ball Blue Book. I’ve been canning every year since.
At this time of year, you might find the Ball Blue Book in the cookbook section of local bookstores. It’s available on line from a variety of sources, just Google Ball Blue Book.
I put up NYS peaches last week, and plan to tackle the abundance of garden corn (corn relish), beans (dilly beans) and tomatoes (canned whole, in sauce and in ketchup) this weekend.
What are you preserving (canning, freezing, pickling, drying) right now?