Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
[Editorial note: As inflation wrecks the American economy and articles on homelessness become relevant, it is worth taking the time to review this piece from 2021 on food preservation during harvest time.]
As supplies become more expensive, and in many cases, more difficult to come by, it’s time to up your preparedness game. If 2020 has made anything clear, it’s that you can’t simply rely on regular shopping for your food. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to begin preserving your own.
These new skills will pay off even if things somewhat do go back to “normal” and you’re able to find everything you want at a reasonable price at the grocery store, any time you want it.
So without further ado, here are the food preservation books that every prepper needs.
The 10 food preservation books you need in your survival and preparedness library
- The Prepper’s Canning Guide – Shameless self-promotion alert: This is my book. In it, you’ll find all the basic instructions you need for water bath and pressure canning food safely, as well as detailed recipes for everything from single ingredients to full meals.
- Prepper’s Dehydrating Handbook – You don’t need one of those super-expensive Cadillac dehydrators to use this book. A less expensive one will do just fine. I’ll note that the font in this book is a little bit light. As a writer myself, I realize this is through no fault of the author, but of the printer. It does not lessen the incredible value of this book – it’s a standby for me while I’m living in a place with more produce than I can possibly eat before it goes bad.
- Fermented Vegetables – This is a guide to preserving all sorts of veggies using the ancient art of fermentation with recipes from around the world. Make krauts, kimchis, chutneys, and relishes. Fermentation is a method of preservation that actually adds nutritional benefits.
- Pickled Pantry: From Apples to Zucchini – This book is a really fun read and it walks you through the art of pickling, making relishes and chutneys, and preserving foods that would normally require pressure canning safely in a water bath.
- Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables – This is a guide to an incredibly important method of food preservation – simply storing produce properly in a cool, dark environment. You can greatly extend the availability of certain items of garden-fresh produce by properly storing it.
- The Complete Guide to Smoking and Salt Curing – Are you looking for a way to preserve meat besides canning it? Check out this guide to smoking and curing and learn to preserve meat, fish, and game. This book is loaded with photographs and simple instructions.
- Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing – If you’re looking for a slightly more upscale bunch of meat preservation recipes, this is your book. It’s got some really delicious recipes for things like pancetta, prosciutto, salami, and sausages.
- The Jerky Bible – If you like jerky, this is the book for you. With recipes for beef, venison, fish, poultry, and more, learn how to safely preserve your meat in the form of flavorful jerky.
- Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation – I love, love, love this book because the methods are so different. It describes traditional French food preservation methods that don’t rely on kitchen gadgets.
- Food Storage: Preserving Meat, Dairy, and Eggs – The thing that makes this book so unusual is the subject matter. It is divided up by food category and provides the reader with all sorts of alternatives for preserving these items that can be a little trickier to put back safely.
(If you’re looking on more reading material on food preservation, check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning.)
Bonus: Here are some books about food storage and using the foods you’ve stashed away
Of course, many of us are still shopping at grocery stores and adding to our pantries that way as well. Here are some suggestions to help you build your pantries and how to use shelf-stable food in everyday cooking.
Prepper’s Pantry – I know, more shameless self-promotion. In the first edition of this book, I wrote about starting a pantry from scratch after moving from one country to another and not being able to bring my stockpile. In this updated version, I went into much greater detail about how I built my pantry on a budget, included healthful and unprocessed foods, and the methods I used for storing them.
A Year Without the Grocery Store – This incredible guide has a step by step plan for building a pantry that will keep a large family fed for a year. Author Karen Morris will help you get organized and stocked up in no time at all with this fantastic book. (There’s even a companion workbook you can get to go with it.)
A Cabin Full of Food – This book focuses on taking the food that you grow, then preserving it and cooking with it. It takes the reader from garden to pantry to table and is written in a friendly, approachable style. It’s jam-packed with delicious traditional Mennonite recipes to use your garden goodies.
The Prepper’s Cookbook – Wondering how to use all those shelf-stable foods in meals that your family will enjoy? This is the book for you. The Prepper’s Cookbook has more than 300 recipes that are all based on the ingredients that preppers store.
The Seasonal Kitchen Companion – This is a PDF filled with the way I use and preserve fresh food for my family, using such methods as cooking, canning, dehydrating, and freezing.
What are your favorite food preservation books?
Do you have some books that you swear by for food preservation? Please share them in the comments! (Be sure to include the author’s name so we can find them more easily.) I’ll add a reader’s choice section to this article if we get enough suggestions.
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Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.