Vintage Ball Blue Books Free for Download

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  OldMt Woman 1 year, 1 month ago.

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  • #1882

    Jade Jasmine

    A while back I stumbled across this site that has a host of Ball and Kerr resources from over the decades.

    As a 4th generation preservationist, I grew up on these books and was always surprised when some of the practices found in an older books were omitted from a newer ones. The agencies responsible for testing these practices decided that it wasn’t ok to continue with certain canning practices due to … whatever. That is a conversation for another thread. 🙂

    Now, I’m not advocating anyone do anything not recommended by these agencies, however, I feel it is important to point out that the best practice is sanitation. The whole point of the canning process is to create an environment within the jar that keeps food from degrading as quick as it does outside of the jar and to do that it means applying heat and pressure enough to destroy the bugs that cause spoilage and to create an oxygen-less container to slow food decay.

    I’m personally a rule breaker. I can butter, milk, and cheese. I can dense foods such as meatloaf and pumpkin puree. I can things with flour in them. These are all things not recommended to be done however they were done in the past with success and to my knowledge no ill effects due to the practices spelled out in the book.

    Something else I would point is that practices that are considered unacceptable these days are also practices still in place by large companies. You can find canned milk, butter, cheese, food canned with flour in it, meatloaf, and pumpkin puree all at some store somewhere right now. After reading through the CDC reports on food factories shut down due to poor sanitation practices and seeing recalls of millions of dollars of food because some contamination, I’m inclined to consider my kitchen is cleaner than those facilities and the sanitation cycle on my dishwasher along with my love of copious amounts of bleach and vinegar in my kitchen are going to be less of a chance of harming my family than something I buy at the store.

    *disembarking from the soap box*

    Enjoy the books!

  • #1889


    JJ – Thanks for the link. Nice soap box!

  • #1952


    LOL, love the soap box. There’s a lot I don’t do either and never have!

    I live in England and we never had the Ball Blue Books, so I had a look at the list and have downloaded ‘How to use the food you can’ As I read bits of it, I was reminded how my diet has changed Today we eat fresh food almost daily. As a child growing up in the 60’s and 70’s our diet was not only more restricted and in the leaner months when fresh food was not as abundant, we turned to canned and preserved foods. This book brought back a lot of memories I have of childhood food, some good, some fantastic! and some bog awful.
    So I suppose I’m saying thanks for the link, it has reminded me that home preserved food still has a far bigger part to play in my diet than I give room for it.

  • #1954


    I would love a link to that site if you could find it. 🙂

    I *do* follow the current rules on canning for a couple of reasons:

    1) I feel like the possibility of an issue like botulism is not worth the risk.
    2) Often the quality of things with flour isn’t great – it’s pretty easy just to stir it in afterward when you’re heating it up. Pumpkin canned in cubes makes a lovely puree with just the light mash of a fork when you open the jar.
    3) I’ve been happy with the butter powder I purchased as well as the organic powdered milk.

    And then there’s the fact that I wrote a canning book and could get in all sorts of trouble for recommending practices that are considered “unsafe.” I’m not trying to rain on your parade or anything. But for legal reasons, I do have to encourage folks to use the modern standards for food preservation.

  • #2056

    Jade Jasmine

    Thanks, DB!

    Midlander, you’re welcome! I understand what you’re staying on the lean times. The hours of preserving so that we could eat well in the off seasons still have me restless during harvest even now that I’m in a position of not having to grow and put up everything we eat.

    Daisy, rule following isn’t bad. 🙂
    After much reading and research of botulism, I’ve just actively made a choice to continue doing what I have always done and consider that what I grew up doing doesn’t pose a danger through my experience. Or maybe I’m just lazy. I don’t discount that either. Certainly writing a canning book rebellious against the recommended would land you in some hot water, too. 😀

    I’m sorry, I thought the link went through. Its:

  • #7770


    Those old books are great but I would agree. I won’t can anything with flour. I can thicken things up when I use it. One thing and I don’t know why is the canning of squash. I have canned it for many years and have noticed that in the last few ball canning books squash is no longer in them with the instructions for canning them. I have an older ball canning book with the instructions for canning it and I will continue to do so. Just don’t know why that one was removed from the newer books.

  • #7782

    OldMt Woman

    I’m guessing but the puree would be thicker than the chunks, therefore harder to ensure even heating to the middle of the jar.

    I’ve learned a lot about the modern canning rules but haven’t had a lot of actual experience.  I’ve done some water bath and pressure canning…sometimes with friends.  First time pressure canning, I had a friend on long-distance phone call: “does the jiggling thing sound right???”  LOL

    The processes of preparing everything and then carrying it out to the end….wear me out.  The last couple times, DH helped me with the pickled beets.  He picks up things quickly.  My brain leaks and I’m afraid I’ll miss something I know to be an important step.

    OldMtWoman….remember my mom doing “open kettle” method…oye!

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