Which canning supplies are best?
It wasn’t that long ago that harvest time for gardeners also meant it was time to preserve their bounty by canning. The skill has been passed down generations, plus there has been a renewed interest in canning in recent years.
Whether you learned to can from your parents or grandparents or are teaching yourself, you need the right canning supplies. Start with a pressure canner like the Presto 23-quart model, add the necessary accessories and you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labor long after the harvest.
What to know before you buy canning supplies
Not only will canning give you a sense of pride in the food you produce, but it will also save you money on your grocery bill and provide healthful, natural food throughout the year. However, canning takes knowledge of the process as well as the right supplies. Understanding several key considerations will make your canning experience successful and frustration-free.
What canning is
Canning is the process of preserving food in jars by preparing them in water heated to high temperatures that produce airtight seals. While using a pressure canner is the preferred method, a standard canning pot is a more affordable option.
Jars, rings, lids and various tools like a rack, funnel and jar lifter often available in canning sets are also needed for great results. Canning extends the shelf life of fresh foods considerably, with most home-canned foods being safe to consume for about a year after being processed.
How much canning knowledge you have
If you’ve canned before, you already know how important it is to follow specific steps. On the other hand, you’ll need to do a little research if you are a beginner.
Preparing the food, cleaning and sterilizing jars, filling them properly and cooking them at the right time and temperature are crucial steps. Failing to follow them can result in unsealed jars and spoiled food. If you are eager to learn the art of canning, the United States Department of Agriculture offers a comprehensive publication to guide you every step of the way.
Types of foods you can preserve via canning
If you can grow it, there’s a good chance you can store it through canning. Most fruits and vegetables can be preserved whole or sliced, and you can turn some into sauce, salsa, jam or jelly for canning. Some meats can also be canned.
While the critical steps of canning are the same, keep in mind that the methods will vary slightly depending on the type of food and whether or not it has low or high acid content.
What to look for in quality canning supplies
It wouldn’t be possible to complete at-home canning without certain canning supplies.
- Canning pot or pressure canner: While a canning pot will suffice for most foods, a pressure canner is necessary for canning meats and low-acid vegetables.
- Jar rack: Made of metal, this item holds the jars while processing in the hot water bath.
- Jars: Also called mason jars, the most popular sizes are four, eight, 12, 16 and 32 ounces. Large-mouth options are also available.
- Lids and rings: Both are available in various sizes to match different jar sizes.
- Canning funnel: With a wide opening, this type of funnel is designed specifically for stuffing jars.
- Utensils: Stirring spoons and knives will come in handy during the canning process.
- Spices, sugar and salt: The need for these items will vary depending on what you can.
- Jar lifter: Similar to tongs, this tool is needed to remove hot jars from the canner.
Before you purchase canning supplies, you’ll need to evaluate how much you plan to preserve. While you don’t want to buy unnecessary items, not having the right amount of essentials can limit your efficiency. You’ll find items like jars and lids in large and small multi-packs to fit your needs.
A canning set is a budget-friendly option for getting numerous supplies at one affordable price. Most sets include basic tools like a jar lifter, funnel, jar rack, canning utensils and more.
How much you can expect to spend on canning supplies
The price you will pay for canning supplies varies greatly and depends on what you need. You’ll pay $20-$75 for essentials like rings, jars or a basic canning toolset, and $50-$200 for a canning pot or pressure canner.
Canning supplies FAQ
I have some old canning supplies. Can I use them or do I need to buy new items?
A. It depends. A quality canning pot or pressure canner will last for years. If the canning accessories you already have are in good shape, it’s o.k. to reuse those too. However, you should never reuse damaged items, such as chipped jars. It’s also a good idea to update your canning supplies every few years, as the high temperatures and long cook times it takes to can may damage them over time.
If a lid doesn’t seal during the canning process, do I have to throw away the contents of the jar?
A. No. If you find an unsealed jar within 24 hours, you can re-can the food. Another option is to place it in the refrigerator and consume it like any other perishable item.
What are the best canning supplies to buy?
Top canning supply
What you need to know: A versatile pressure cooker that’s roomy, easy to use and great for pros and beginners.
What you’ll love: This aluminum pressure canner offers a large 23-quart capacity that can hold numerous jars. Its temperature gauge makes it easy to monitor your progress.
What you should consider: It takes a while to build up pressure, especially when full with large jars.
Where to buy: Sold by Wayfair
Top canning supplies for the money
What you need to know: These canning jars by Ball are affordable and large enough for numerous canning purposes.
What you’ll love: With a 32-ounce capacity, these jars can fit large pieces of food and are great for canning large harvests. The pack of 12 is a good value too.
What you should consider: Some packs arrived with broken jars.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Any home canning enthusiasts will appreciate the useful tools in this inexpensive set.
What you’ll love: This is an affordable canning set that includes must-have tools, such as jar lifter and funnel.
What you should consider: A few of the pieces don’t feel very durable, and the included jar rack won’t fit all canners.
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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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