Book Review: Canning and Preserving for Dummies

Review done by Cheri Sicard

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Canning and Preserving For Dummies
By Karen Ward -- Canning Instructor
237 Pages
Trade Paperback
2003 Wiley
ISBN: 0-7645-2471-2

If, like me, you've had a "fear of canning," this book is about to put those fears to rest.

We've all heard horror stories about the dangers of improper canning, such as jars exploding and food poisoning. But author and canning instructor Karen Ward shows that canning is really a simple process. All you have to do is follow some simple instructions and have the proper tools. Luckily, everything you'll need to successfully start canning won't cost you much, and your new hobby will ultimately pay for itself, especially if you have your own garden or access to otherwise ultra-inexpensive produce. Not only will you save money, you'll also have gourmet quality, all-natural foods to enjoy year round or give as elegant gifts from your kitchen.

Like all the "For Dummies" books, this one has detailed instructions presented in a fun and easy to understand manner. Each chapter is "modular" meaning it stands as a mini-book unto itself or as part of the larger work. What this means is you can skip around and read just the parts that interest you, and still learn everything you'll need to know to achieve great results. Want to make jams and jellies? Jump ahead to that chapter. Not interested in pressure canning? Then skip this section.

More than just canning, the book is a tutorial on all kinds of food preservation, including drying and freezing, so you'll have lots of ways to preserve foods. Canning chapters include directions and recipes for making jams, jellies, marmalades, sweet spreads, condiments, relishes, chutneys and pickles. You'll also learn to can all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Those who wish to get further involved (and invest in a pressure canner) will learn to preserve soups, sauces, meats and other low acid foods. (Note: High acid foods, like most fruits, tomatoes and pickled foods, do not require a pressure canner, and therefore involve a much lower equipment and tool cost to get started).

This book is truly a tutorial on canning and preserving. With these concise instructions, a few tools and utensils, and some canning jars and new lids, you too can start making gourmet quality preserved foods at home just like your grandmother probably did.

Cheri Sicard is the editor of, a favorite net destination for recipes, cooking tutorials, health and fitness information, holiday and entertaining ideas, celebrity chef interviews, cookbook reviews and more. Sign up for their free cooking and recipe newsletters!

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