I find it interesting that #homecanning is seen as a novelty now in many homes across the states. I didn't grow up bottling any food, but my Dad did. My husband did (and his mother still does) so it made me want to try it. Of course, it can look so intimidating! But, as long as you follow the safety guidelines when preparing, you'll most likely get a good product. Here are a few tips I have learned over the years:
1. IF IT SMELLS BAD, DON'T EAT IT!
Home canning doesn't have to be scary, but it does need to be safe. If you open a bottle and the food looks or smells weird, if you have ANY suspicion that anything is wrong, throw it out and wash the bottle for next year. One quart of dill green beans (yum!) is not worth a trip to the hospital!
2. CICO - I believe this is usually used in electronics, but the concept translates. Crap in, crap out. Start with a good food product and you'll have a greater chance of a good end product.
3. Ball's Blue Book - my canning guide. There are other books out there, but this is the one I reach for again and again. You'll find the basic safety tips (ie. how to sterilize your equipment before starting) as well as beginner through advanced recipes. They do update this book regularly to include new/better food handling procedures, so one from 30 years ago might not be as relevant. The last time I checked, the book was about $5, so it is a minimal investment to try you hand at canning.
4. Find someone with experience! When you find that person, treat them well and you will watch and learn, grasshopper. Help them with what they are putting up and you'll gain hands-on knowledge, a grateful friend and maybe a couple bottles of what is being made (you'll learn the terminology, too). *Don't just blindly follow their procedures, be sure to check and follow the most recent safety guidelines.* As an extra bonus, you'll be able to check out the necessary equipment for your own canning. If you bring chocolate as a thank you for the experience, they may even let you borrow the equipment!
There's a lot more to say, but I think this is a good starting place for anyone who is interested in preserving their harvest.