Preserve the season.

The experts at Ball (designer of the classic glass jar) are behind this bible of home preserving. This book includes comprehensive directions on safe canning and preserving methods plus lists of required equipment and utensils. It's got specific instructions for first-timers and handy tips for the experienced, plus over 400 recipes from salsas to chutneys and jellies.

At first we weren't drawn in -- the book isn't as glossy and photographically-stunning as modern cookbooks tend to be, but it's seriously useful stuff. Anyone planning to can or jam should read this -- and if you're already into it, it'll stretch your skills.