June 12, 2005

Ball Blue Books

Vegetable gardeners residing in southern climates are already contemplating what to do with their first crop of tomatoes and other vegetables that are ripening and ready for harvest.

One option for the surplus that can't be served fresh or given to lucky neighbors and friends is canning. One of the most popular and reliable guides for this method of food preservation is the Ball Blue Book.

Ball Blue BookThe Ball Brothers Company and The Ball Corporation, manufacturers of glass fruit jars, have published Ball canning guides regularly for almost 100 years. The first guide, published in 1909, was called The Correct Method for Preserving Fruit, and was written by Miss Elizabeth Ball. Later revisions renamed the guide The Ball Preserving Book, and in 1915 the booklets took on the name Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving Recipes. The Alltrista Corporation has published Ball Blue Books since 1995. Alltrista is a spin-off of The Ball Corporation that was formed in 1993. The latest book was published in 2004 and is called the Ball Blue Book of Preserving.

The Ball Blue Books provide all the information you need to know about canning fruits and vegetables. They explain the techniques of water bath and steam pressure canning, provide detailed instructions on each method, they cover food and canning safety, give recipes for canning meats, vegetables and fruits. Freezing foods in glass fruit jars is also possible and this is covered as well. The books contain tables of canning times, troubleshooting tips and tells you which methods of canning are best for which food. They are well illustrated.

The Ball Blue Books are also popular with fruit jar collectors as a go-with to their fruit jar collections.

Although I am terrified of pressure canners and eating any food that I have personally canned, I occasionally enjoy the process and the sense of satisfaction that it brings. I like to line up those finished jars on the counter and admire them. Then I give them away to people who don't have any hang-ups about home canned food. I do enjoy reading about canning, however, and I can safely follow someone else's adventures on the subject at Hot Water Bath.


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