Local food blogger Marissa McClellan has published a book on home canning called Food in Jars, based on her blog with the same name. It is full of recipes that can be made in the smallest of kitchens, and designed for small households, perfect for urbanites and suburbanites.
I went to high school in a rural setting and a lot of the farm wives had elaborated canning sessions to store away a year’s worth of green beens or pickled beets for the winter. Food in Jars is a little more cosmpolitan with the standard jams and jellies but also things like cranberry ketchup, sweet cherry butter, basic pickled jalapeno peppers, and honey roasted peanut butter. There is an entire chapter on tomatoes. Most recipes make between 3 and 6 jars.
No special equipment is required beyond what one would find in a basic kitchen set up (other than the jars and lids, which you can pick up in stores), though a jar lifter and a wide mouth funnel would come in handy. For an inexpensive shower or housewarming gift, a few friends could get a themed gift of the book and those two pieces of equipment.
For the non-cook or aspirational cook, just looking at the pictures is fun. I especially like the ribbon used to tie the jar rings together. The book reminds me of the homey smells of my adolescence and the planning and resilience personified by the rows of canned food in my mother-in-law’s cellar.