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10 Must-Haves to Start Canning
When the gardening season comes to an end, I’m always left with a ton of veggies that we won’t be able to finish.
That’s why I love canning so much!
It’s a great way to preserve your garden’s bounty and ensure you make the most of the gardening season. And while canning may seem intimidating to a beginner, it’s actually a really easy way to preserve your food.
With these 10 must-have canning supplies, you’ll be preserving your fruits and vegetables before you know it.
The first essential canning item you’ll need is some canning jars.
These glass jars come with lids that seal tightly and metal rims that secure the lids onto the jars.
Canning jars typically come in four sizes – quart (four cups), pint (two cups), half pint (one cup), and four ounce (half cup).
The size you’ll need for canning will depend on the item you’re preserving and how much you intend to use at one time.
Smaller jars are great for canning jams and jellies, medium sized jars are perfect for pickles, salsa, and pie filling, and large jars are great for canned fruit and vegetables.
Canning jars also come with different sized openings on the top.
Wide mouth jars work well when canning larger items, like full pieces of fruit because it’s easier to fit the item into the jar.
Traditional jars have a smaller opening, which works well for sauces and smaller vegetables.
In all honesty, I have started using only wide mouth jars, except for some of the smallest jars.
Most food requires cooking before you begin the canning process.
Having a high-quality Dutch oven in your canning arsenal is a great choice.
The large size of the Dutch oven makes it great for cooking large batches of ingredients and the cast iron construction ensures even cooking.
To keep from making a mess as you pour the contents of your jars inside, you’ll need a canning funnel.
A canning funnel is different than a traditional funnel because it is designed to easily fit inside a canning jar but has an opening wide enough to allow a variety of ingredients to pour through.
Head Space Tool
First, the head space tool allows you to measure the headspace needed inside your jar to prevent overfilling. And it helps remove air bubbles from the jars before you start the sealing process.
If you plan on canning jams or jellies, you’ll need to have some pectin on hand.
I personally use the low sugar pectin for my jams and jellies and we love it! The jams turn out tasting so incredibly fresh. There is still a lot of sugar used in the low-sugar pectin.
Pectin is typically derived from citrus peels and is used to transform your fruit mixture into a gel.
A food mill is a handy appliance to have for canning.
It’s great for making sauces, salsas, and jellies.
The rotary handle on top of the food mill easily mashes and grinds cooked food into a smooth sauce, making it a great addition to your canning supplies.
Water Bath Canner
There are a variety of ways to process your cans after the food is ready to be preserved.
The most common canning method is boiling the cans in a water bath canner, especially if you plan to can jellies, jams, salsas, and pickles.
A water bath canner is basically large pot with a jar rack that rests inside.
The jar rack holds your jars steady as they boil, which helps prevent breakage while you seal the jars.
The canning pot also includes a handy jar lifter to make it easy to remove the jars from the hot water after the process is complete.
A large stock pot will also work for processing small batches of jars. If using a stock pot, be sure to keep the jars from resting on the bottom of the pot to avoid breaking the jars as they boil.
A pressure canner is another popular canning method and is great for canning fruits and vegetables.
Pressure canners typically have a dial gauge on top to indicate the pressure inside the pot. This type of canner usually comes deep enough to hold one layer of quart size jars or two layers of pint-size jars.
A pressure canner also comes with a canning rack to keep your jars from breaking as they’re processed.
Keep from burning your hands as you remove the jars from their processing bath with the use of a jar lifter.
A canning jar lifter looks like a large pair of tongs that allow you to grip the top of a jar and remove it from the canner after the processing is finished.
Magnetic Lid Lifter
With a magnetic lid lifter, you’ll be able to easily remove the hot metal lids from simmering water after you sanitize them and place them directly on your jars.
In addition to keeping your fingers safe as you place the lids on the jars, a lid lifter also helps prevent contamination while you transfer the lids from the sterile water to the jars.
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