Authored by Carol J. Alexander
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Authored by Carol J. Alexander
Your kitchen counters groan under the weight of vine-ripe tomatoes, and you can practically smell the rich goodness of home-canned sauce. You’ve read everything there is to know about canning, and you’re mentally ready to put this knowledge into practice. But, to preserve the fruit of your hard labor, you need the right tools and supplies. While you can fudge on a couple of the items, everything listed here will make the job easier and safer.
First, choose which method of canning you’ll use. Two methods you will see are water bath canning and pressure canning.
You’ll need a water bath canner for high-acid foods like fruits, acidified tomatoes, and pickles. A water bath canner is nothing more than a large pot that holds seven quart-size jars under water.
To process fruit and acidified tomatoes in a water bath canner, follow these instructions.
Low-acid foods like vegetables and meats require the use of a pressure canner. A pressure canner uses less water than a water bath canner to create a pressurized compartment with higher temperatures than a boiling water bath.
To process low-acid foods in a pressure canner, follow these instructions.
Both types of canners come with racks to support the jars. The rack separates the jars from the heat source to prevent them from breaking.
There are a variety of appliances and canning supplies to make home canning more efficient. In addition to a canner and rack, you’ll need the following items.
Jars and lids
Only use canning jars and lids created for home canning. They are specially made to withstand the rigors of the canning process.
A canning funnel has a large mouth to accommodate the food you’ll spoon into the jar. Using one helps you avoid spills and messes.
Large spoon or ladle
Use a large spoon or ladle to spoon food into the jars.
Chopstick or plastic knife
After filling the jars, you’ll run this around the inside to encourage air bubbles to rise to the surface.
Pot holders and oven mitts are awkward when handling hot jars. Seasoned canners recommend oven gloves that are thick enough to prevent burns yet have the fingers separated for a better grip.
Canning jar lifter
A style of tongs, a canning jar lifter fits around the neck of the jar for a secure hold. It’s also rubber coated to prevent slipping. You’ll use it to remove the hot jars from the canner.
Canning recipes include a processing time. If you don’t already have a kitchen timer, you’ll need one for canning.
Upcycled pickle and mayonnaise jars are not reliable. Also, canning jars come in sizes ranging from a ¼-pint to ½-gallon. Use lids and bands that match the size of the jar’s mouth. Canning lids are designed with a rubber seal to ensure freshness for up to 18 months. Canning jars and bands are reusable, but the flat lids are not.
You can make do with what you have until you’re sure you want to add canning to your lifestyle. Here are a few tips for the frugal homesteader who wants to give it a go before investing in a lot of equipment.
Buying a canner is a significant investment. If your first thought is to buy one used, safety is your first concern. Here are a few things to check for when buying a second-hand canner.
Find everything you need to preserve your harvest. Review our latest canning equipment catalog so you can stock your kitchen with all the necessary supplies for putting food by to enjoy with friends and family.
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