Canning is one of the top ways to preserve your garden harvests. Find out what supplies are necessary for the canning process, as well as some helpful optional items.
With canning season right around the corner, I thought I would share a list of supplies you may want to get ready.
But did you know there are actually two different canning processes that require different supplies? So let’s get you set up with the right canning equipment!
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Pressure Canner verses Water Bath Canner
Before we start looking at the different supplies – let’s address the difference in the 2 types of canners so you can determine which you need (or you may need both).
When home canning, you need to ensure that you are processing your foods according to the best method. If not using the correct method, you increase the chances of things like botulism and food spoilage.
The pressure canner is probably the type of canner you are most familiar with seeing. It is the large, heavy pot, with the locking lid and pressure gauge on top. Pressure canning is used to process jars that contain food with a low pH level (low-acid foods). Most vegetables and meat will be processed using this method.
Water bath canning is done in a large stock pot with a glass lid. It is used to process foods with a high pH level (or acidic foods). This is the process used for things like tomatoes, jellies, and pickles.
If you want to read more on the best methods for safe home food preservation, head over to the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Canning Supplies List
Now that we’ve briefly discussed the difference in canners, let’s take a quick look at the exact supplies you’ll need to start!
When selecting a pressure canner, there is a wide range of options. However, the All American Pressure Canner has been a long-standing brand with reliable canners. They are heavy and durable, and with proper maintenance, can be passed down from generation to generation. If you want a canner that will last, I recommend this brand. I’ve been borrowing one from a family member that she has had for 30+ years! You can find sizes ranging from 10.5 qt up to a 41 qt. The most popular size for most home canners is the 21.5 and 25 qt.
This does come with a price tag though. If you’re purchasing new, you can expect to spend upwards of $300. But since these pots really are durable, you can often find used canners in good condition at garage sales or antique stores – so keep your eye out!
A more affordable option is the Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner. This canner isn’t as heavy as the All-American, but based on Amazon reviews, it seems to get the job done for now. This pot can also be used as your water bath canner.
When it comes to water-bath canning, all you really need is a large pot that has a glass lid you can see through. The pot will need to be large enough that once you place your filled jars inside, the water covers the top of the jar by an inch.
You may already have a pot that meets these requirements in your kitchen, or you may need to purchase one. I’ve been using this stock pot with a glass lid from another pot as my water bath canner and it works just fine.
This stainless steel water bath canner from McSunley includes the lid and an easy lift jar rack. This 21.5 quart pot can fit up to 7 quart jars, 9 pint jars, or 12 half-pint jars at a time.
Check out this recipe for Mulberry Jelly! Foraging for wild berries in the Spring time is one of my families favorite things to do. And stocking the pantry with homemade jelly is a real treat!
A canning rack is used to keep the jars of off the bottom of the pot during processing. This keeps the jars from rattling on bottom and allows the water to circulate around the jars. If you are purchasing a new canner, check to see if it comes with the rack.
If not you can purchase a rack on it’s own. For your pressure canner, you will need to purchase a canning rack similar to these. Just double check to make sure you’re purchasing the correct size for your canner.
For your hot water bath canner, you can purchase a rack with jar lifter. These are so convenient for getting those hot jars our of the canner. Other options include folding up a clean kitchen towel or using canning rings to place in the bottom of the canner.
4.Jars, Lids, Rings
Next up we have glass canning jars. Having solid, unblemished jars is necessary for safely processing and food storage. Jars with cracks or chips in them cannot be used for canning.
One of the most popular brands in the US is Ball. You can find other good brands, like Kerr, however I have always stuck with Ball Canning Jars simply because I find them reliable.
There are several different sizes and designs. The most popular sizes for home canning are the half pint, pint, and quart size. You also have options for wide mouth jars or regular mouth jars. I like using the wide mouth jars because I find them easier to fill and empty, but it’s personal preference.
The jars can seem expensive at first, but remember that you don’t have to use new jars each time you preserve food. As long as they are taken care of properly, they can be reused over and over.
Canning lids are a bit different, though. The canning lids come in two pieces – the lid that suctions to the rim of the jar and the ring that goes around it. New lids must be used each time you can, but your rings can be reused. So you’ll definitely want to stock up on replacement lids in various sizes.
Hey – do you have dreams of homesteading but aren’t sure how to start? Check out this guide of ways to start homesteading even if you don’t currently have land!
Now that we’ve talked about the necessities – let’s talk about some of the small essential canning tools.
This 6-piece canning essentials kit includes a bubble popper/headspace measurer, canning funnel, magnetic lid lifter, tongs, funnel, and jar lifter. There is also this stainless steel canning accessory kit that is a bit more expensive, but also comes with a few extra items.
And of course, you can always buy the items separately if you prefer. The funnel and jar lifter are necessary in my opinion.
This one is totally optional, but it is so helpful to have a book with steps and recipes all in one place. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has been my go-to guide.
I have a few other books listed in this post of Homesteading Books for Food Preservation.