I got this book about three weeks ago, having never canned or preserved, and I was completely impressed. Using the recipes inside, I've made pickled ocra, green beans, brandied cherries, sweet asparagus, and the hands down best pickle relish I've ever had in my life. It has hundreds of recipes, and they are all wonderful. If you're into fruit preserves or jams, sweet or dill pickles, slasas, relishes, chutneys, condiments, you name it, there are dozens of recipes of each type of food. I'll be tackling some home made wine and cranberry mustard next week. The first batches of pickles I made were with utensils I already had on hand. All you need is the mason jars if you have a well stocked kitchen. I've sense bought some bottle clamps to get the jars out of the hot water, but that's about it.
Here are the pros:
*) Thorough discussion of the steps of preserving.
*) Discussion on foodborne illness and how to kill it through preserving.
*) A look at high acid versus low acid canning.
*) A handy guide of produce weight and volume (for example, one pound of cherries equals 2 1/2 cups of cherries, so you know exactly what to get at the store).
*) Amazing, easy recipes for all levels of skill and tastes.
*) Dozens of variations on recipes (not just one type of cucumber pickle, but several!)
Buy this book if you're thinking of starting or even an old time pro. It's great fun, and it can produce pickles, ketchups, and preserves where you controll all the ingredients (and can even go organic!).