Food science and canning?

Hi all, I've been doing more canning lately, which I am LOVING. Mostly, I've followed recipes from and canning books, but my impulse is always to tweak. I've also been primarily working with fruit jams and jellies, but would love to get into other canned products, such as pickles, preserved fish, and potted meats.

In my looking around at cookbooks, I haven't seen much on the canned/preserved meats side of things. What would be ideal is some cookbook that explains the food science behind properly preserving food, and provided ratio tables (for sugar/pectin/fruit, or salt/vinegar/vegetable, etc.) as well as processing times. It should also cover explanations of what to do when you have meat or oils in the can when you're preserving. Additionally, I want explanations of what types of home preserving are NOT recommended, etc.

Am I looking for a book from the FDA? Or something from some university food science program?

I'm a smart girl and can follow a textbook if necessary. I just want to know the science behind it so that I can be more sure that my experiments won't kill anyone.



Author Comment
I may have some resources for you that would get at your question. Those that have recommended the National Ceenter for Home Food Preservation site provided a great resource. You could also go to University of Georgia Extension and order the book "So Easy To Preserve".....there are also DVD's available. This is the best cookbook with information in it on all the different forms of food preservation and provides the "WHYS" you do something and the "Don't Do" items also. You could also contact your local county State University Extension office to get some great fact sheets which are also available online to download. Just type into your SEARCH engine box the following words: state university extension and food preservation
Hope this helps.....Anne
Author Comment
There doesn't seem to be any cookbook that really goes into the whys and wherefores of what's safe, but Ophelia is right to point you toward the National Center for Home Food Preservation's site; it has a lot of pages and links with some of the information you've asked about: Also, if you are on Facebook, I would recommend joining the page for SB Canning ( - she's a certified Master Food Preserver and you can get very good and reliable advice from her there or at her website,
Ophelia December 29, 2011
It's not a book, but try the National Center for Home Food Preservation's website.
SKK December 29, 2011
Don't know of any books that explain the science and if someone has that book I would love to purchase it. I have been canning for many years and the best resource (aside from my family who taught me) is

I am registerd for a Master Canner's Class to begin in the spring and am hoping to learn more about the science there. You can google Master Canner in your area.

Good luck!
SKK December 29, 2011
P.S. All the books I have looked at just have recipes.
loveandoranges December 29, 2011
Ooh, that link is FANTASTIC! It also gives a bit of bibliography for exactly the type of books I'm looking for. Hm, looks like to can any meat products, I'll need to invest in a pressure canner.

Thanks again!
SKK December 29, 2011
A pressure canner is a must for meats and seafoods. And for vegetables, fruits etc. I still use water bath. When you go to purchase do some research. You need a pressure canner, not a pressure cooker. And check out the size. For example, a 23 quart pressure canner doesn't work on a home stove because it is too big. Never mind trying to lift it.

Isn't this fun? Next purchase I bet will be a dehydrator.
Bevi February 10, 2012
I use this website as well. For great jam recipes, I would recommend the Blue Chair by Rachel Saunders. She also uses the oven method for sealing/preserving. A great website is Food in Jars. You can find a few great recipes on this site as well.
Recommended by Food52