Easy Canning Recipes for the Novice Home Canner

I’ve run into so many people lately–both in real life and online—who want to learn to tackle home canning. These easy canning recipes are a good place for beginners to start.

Or you could dive into fermentation with these recipes!!

jar lifter putting jar of salsa into canner


Believe me when I tell you that home canning is really very easy. You just need to keep this one very important thing in mind: Low acid foods (think: meat and veggies) must be processed in a pressure canner.

Easy canning recipes for beginners

But don’t let that scare you away. Save the pressure canning for later and get started with some easy beginner recipes. Jam and jelly is one of my favorite suggestions for beginners since they’re easy and usually only need 10 or so minutes in the canner. 

A water bath process—basically, immersing full jars in a deep pot of boiling water for a specified period of time—is a great way to preserve a lot of garden fresh produce.

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It’s suitable for high acid fruits, pickles, and many tomato recipes, it’s also the easiest canning method. It’s served me well for years in preserving much of my garden abundance. 

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”cyCANXVM” upload-date=”2020-07-23T20:12:53.000Z” name=”Introduction to the Canning Jar System” description=”From glass canning jars to lids and rings, here’s what you need to know to start preserving food at home.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”] jars of home canned grape jelly

Easy canning recipes

The recipes below can all be safely preserved using a water bath canning method. This method is easy. If you can chop and mix and cook food on the stove top, you will find it easy to take it to the next step, which simply requires putting food into jars and boiling them for a specified amount of time. 

Of course there are some guidelines to follow, but home canning is not difficult.

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Easy Canning Recipes for Novice Canners

close up of grape jelly in a canning jar

🍅 Safety First!

Canning is an excellent way to preserve food for the pantry, but there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind. The recipes on this site have been made following safe canning procedures by a certified Master Food Preserver.

  • Know the difference between water bath canning and pressure canning. Low acid items must be pressure canned for safety. 
  • Altering ingredients may change the recipe’s pH, posing a safety issue. I highly recommend investing in pH paper to test your products for acidity level when canning. Note: The Hawaii Master Food Preservers suggest a pH of 4.2 or lower in the tropics. In other regions, the recommended pH is 4.6 or lower.
  • Use the proper jars and lids. Never reuse lids, with the exception of the Tattler or Harvest Right hard plastic lids that are intended for such a purpose.
  • For more on canning equipment, please go here

Originally published in April 2014; this post has been updated.

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

15 comments… add one
  • Manju Jul 1, 2020 @ 22:48

    What is a “ring” in the jar?

  • Susan May 22, 2020 @ 18:21

    I love your site and have for years, but I’m concerned with the introductory pic to this article with upside down jars. That’s just not safe!

    • Kris Bordessa May 23, 2020 @ 8:39

      It’s a box of empty jars.

  • Fran Mar 4, 2016 @ 9:52

    An infographic for canning with a Pressure Canner would be great.

  • Joan J Apr 30, 2014 @ 6:54

    Love your graphic but needs two tiny amendments. First, NEVER use a knife to release air bubbles unless it’s plastic. Metal knives, no matter how light weight, can fracture the glass of your jars without you knowing it. Second, you need to add to take jar ringsOFF before storing! It’s so important! If your jar comes unsealed (which it can do even weeks or months after processing), a ring on the jar could cause it to re-seal and you are susceptible to eating foods that are no longer bacteria and botulism free.

    • hailey May 4, 2014 @ 15:15

      You can leave rings on it doesn’t hurt it. You should take the rings off and wipe them off and the rim to make sure nothing is on them. I store mine with rings on and they don’t reseal just because rings are on. Second you can use a butter knife I do all the time. It’s just better to use plastic or silicone. 

      • Jenny May 4, 2014 @ 22:58

        It’s recommended to remove the rings once jars have cooled. If a seal on a jar goes bad and the ring has been left on, it may cause the jar to reseal with temperature or humidity changes. If a seal goes bad on a jar with the ring removed, the lid will pop and stay popped.

    • Sherry Sep 22, 2015 @ 5:45

      I agree, it is important to take the rings off after cooling. Among the reasons already mentioned, if you leave the rings on, they could rust, making it nearly impossible to remove the lid.

      • Kris Bordessa Oct 5, 2015 @ 8:22

        Yes, a big problem here in humidity central!

  • Coffee to Compost Apr 26, 2014 @ 10:43

    Your pictures are so inspiring! I canned for the first time this year. So far I have canned orange marmalade and pineapple jam. Strawberry jam is next, then hopefully my tomatoes will produce so much that I get tired of canning tomato sauce and salsa!

    • Kris Bordessa Apr 26, 2014 @ 19:48

      I don’t think I can ever get tired of canning salsa. Great for chips, toppings, and I add it to my chili and Mexican dishes. Perfect way to preserve the garden bounty!

  • Nina Nelson Apr 25, 2014 @ 19:14

    Yes! I love the infographic! I’ve Cannes using the water bath method three times and it still intimidates me. My husband and I are going to start canning in small batches, a la Food in Jars, and get more practice that way. Thanks for the great post!

    • Sharon Aug 7, 2020 @ 8:59

      The zucchini relish and the wonderful directions accompanying the recipe allowed me to finally try water bath canning. I have said for years I was going to do it then shy away at the last minute. This site made it sound very doable. Everyone says “ it’s easy”, but no one tells you what that means.

      • Kris Bordessa Aug 11, 2020 @ 7:30

        Awesome! Now you’re hooked. 🙂

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