Buying canning supplies has been on my mind a lot lately. My husband, John, planted a variety of vegetables in our garden beds a few months ago, and we have been harvesting like crazy for the last couple of weeks.
We only had one garden bed last year, and it produced so many vegetables that we could not even keep us with them all. This year, we added on two more garden beds, and we are planning to can a lot of our garden haul. We planted quite a few different vegetables, but I think I am most excited about the tomatoes. Last year we had SO many tomatoes, and we actually planted even more this year. They haven’t ripened yet, but I think it will be any time now. I can’t wait to make and can sauces, salsa, ketchup and more!
I’m so excited that we are planning to can this year, so we can preserve all the wonderful flavor of our fresh vegetables. I think it’s so neat that we can just preserve them and enjoy them whenever we want to. If you’ve never canned anything before, here are the beginning supplies you will need. This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
MUST-HAVE CANNING SUPPLIES
To figure out what canning supplies you need to get, you must first determine what you want to can. If you want to make a few jars of jam or pickles, and perhaps some salsa or tomato sauce, there are a few less items that you need. That’s because these foods are high in acid, and don’t need to be sealed under pressure. Regardless of the type of canning you want to do, most canning supplies that you’ll need apply to low or high acid canning.
Canning Jars, Rings, and Lids – Purchase jars designed for canning (do not re-use mayonnaise or pickles jars that you bought at the store, they aren’t designed for home canning). Canning jars come in a variety of sizes from four ounces up to 32 ounces, and in a narrow or wide mouth. Buy the jars in sizes appropriate to what you are canning, and the size of your family. For jams, jellies and pickles, you might not want anything larger than a pint jar; if you have a large family, you might want to make salsa in quart jars.
Jars will last forever as long as they aren’t chipped or broken; rings can be re-used as soon as the jars have cooled and lids are sealed. Lids are a single use item. You can purchase jars almost everywhere, from the grocery store to home improvement stores to the big box discount stores.
Canning Kettle – Except for jams and jellies, most canned foods need to be heated in either a water bath or pressure canner.
A canning kettle looks like a large stockpot with a rack in the bottom. You heat water in the pot, add your jars filled with food, put the lid on, and let them heat per your recipe. Most canning kettles hold seven jars, either pint or quarts depending on the height.
If you are just beginning and want to make a small batch of pickles or tomato sauce, you can get by with a soup pot; just make sure you have a rack in the bottom so the jars have water circulating under them.
Pressure Canner – This is used for low acid canning, like vegetables and some fruits. It works like the Water Bath Canner, except the air is forced out of the jars while in the pressure canner. This keeps harmful bacteria away from your food. This can be a sizeable investment, but if you plan on canning much, buy the biggest one you can afford. It will speed up your process. They have single layer canners that hold about seven quart jars or a double layer of pint jars.
Canning Tongs – These are a godsend for lifting hot jars out of your boiling water bath! Canning tongs have a rubberized gripper that fits under the jar neck, and the weight of the jar holds them in place. If you’ve canned without them, buy a set – they’re very inexpensive.
Canning Funnel – This is a wide mouthed funnel that fits inside both narrow and wide mouthed jars for filling them. It helps to keep the jar rim clean, and will save time in manually wiping them to make sure your jars get a good seal.
Food Mill or Processor – If you are chopping or slicing a lot of vegetables, these both can come in handy. Your pickles will be very even, and relishes will be chopped up in a jiffy.
Canning Cookbook – Choose a reputable cookbook, Ball Canning Jars has a very inexpensive one. Follow recipes exactly; there is a balance of acid, temperature and food type that makes canning a successful way to preserve foods. Until you know the basics and understand what to look for, do not deviate from the recipe.
Once you have your stash of canning supplies ready, you’ll be good to go! Canning is very satisfying and an enjoyable activity. Jams are very easy and make a great starting point for learning to preserve food. With a little practice, you can amaze your friends with this new-found skill!