Home food preservation, whether through canning, drying, fermentation, freezing, or pickling, is a time-honored method to provide families with a stable and reliable supply of food during leans month after harvest. If you would like to learn more about the topic, please start with the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP), hosted by the University of Georgia (UGA) at https://nchfp.uga.edu/.
There are other governmental resources that touch on home food preservation. These include Shelf-Stable Food Safety from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), available at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/77ffde83-dc51-4fdf-93be-048110fe47d6/Shelf_Stable_Food_Safety.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (NOTE! this is a PDF file); Canning Tips from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) at https://www.fda.gov/media/107843/download (NOTE! this is a PDF file); and Home Canning and Botulism from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), part of HHS, at https://www.cdc.gov/features/homecanning/index.html. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has a tip sheet on Home Canning at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CEH/DFDCS/CDPH%20Document%20Library/FDB/FoodSafetyProgram/Cannery/HomeCanning.pdf (NOTE! this is a PDF file).
For a historical perspective on canning, please be sure to view the online exhibit presented by the National Agricultural Library (NAL), part of the USDA, at https://www.nal.usda.gov/exhibits/ipd/canning/. Please note that this exhibition does not reflect current best practice for home food preservation and is useful for historical curiousity only. Please refer to the more recent resources for current best practices.
Several universities and extensions offer resources related to home food preservation. The list below is by no means exhaustive.
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) -- https://www.aces.edu/blog/category/food-safety/
- New Jersey Agrixultural Experiment Station (NJAES) -- https://njaes.rutgers.edu/food-safety/home-food-preservation/
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension (NCCE) -- https://foodsafety.ces.ncsu.edu/home-food-preservation/
- Oregon State University Extension (OSU) -- https://extension.oregonstate.edu/food/preservation
- PennState Extension (PSE) -- https://extension.psu.edu/food-safety-and-quality/home-food-safety/food-preservation
- South Dakota State University Extension (SDSUE) -- https://extension.sdstate.edu/food/preservation
- University of California at Davis (UCD) -- https://ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/consumers/food-safety-home/home-food-preservation
- Unviersity of Georgia Extension (UGAE) -- https://extension.uga.edu/topic-areas/food-health/food-preservation.html
- University of Minnesota Extension (UMNE) -- https://extension.umn.edu/food-safety/preserving-and-preparing
- Utah State University Extension (USU) -- https://extension.usu.edu/foodpreservation/
- Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) -- https://ext.vt.edu/food-health/food-safety.html
- West Virginia Extension Service (WVES) -- https://extension.wvu.edu/food-health/home-food-preservation
Some more specific canning topics are listed below. All of the resources are hosted by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), part of the USDA and all are PDF files.
- Canning Fish in Quart Jars -- https://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/resource/Canning-Fish-in-Quart-Jars.pdf
- Canning Meat, Poultry & Game -- https://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/resource/Canning%20Meat%20Poultry%20and%20Game.pdf
- Canning Seafood -- https://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/resource/Canning-seafood.pdf
- Canning Smoked Fish at Home -- https://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/resource/Canning%20Smoked%20Fish%20at%20Home.pdf
If you prefer to ferment food, please consult the resource Safely Fermenting Food at Home, created by Kansas State Research and Extension and the University of Missouri Extension, though hosted NIFA at https://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/resource/Safely%20Fermenting%20Food%20at%20Home%20508.pdf (NOTE! this is a PDF file).
Pickling is also popular, and here is a resource from NIFA that demonstrates how to pickle fish -- https://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/resource/Pickling-Fish-and-other-aquatic-foods-for-home-use.pdf (NOTE! this is a PDF file).