What Equipment Do I Need to Can My Garden’s Bounty?
Grab these essential canning supplies to preserve your garden’s bumper crop.
Perhaps the best part of growing your own food is gathering the fruits of your labor. However, as the season progresses, you may be overwhelmed with all the extra tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers your garden produces. Instead of leaving the extra produce on your neighbor’s doorstep, preserving fruits and veggies will let you enjoy them for longer.
Canning is a way to preserve food using heat to destroy harmful bacteria. When done properly, it creates a vacuum seal that allows you to store food at room temperature. The canning process is straightforward and requires just a few pieces of equipment. Here are the canning supplies we recommend you have on hand when preserving your garden’s bounty.
1. Water Bath Canner and Rack
Water bath canning is the easiest way to can acidic foods such as jellies, jams, and pickles. This simple canner by Granite Ware is designed to easily fit seven quart jars, nine pint jars, or 12 half-pint jars.
The pot’s porcelain surface has a durable steel core that provides excellent heat distribution. It features a rack to help lower and lift jars safely from boiling water, which keeps them in place while processing. The canner’s 21-quart capacity can also handle large batch processing, making it perfect for first-timers and large households.
2. Pressure Canner
Pressure canners are essential for preserving non-acid foods like asparagus, green beans, and meats. These appliances heat jarred foods to the necessary temperature of 240 degrees Fahrenheit with the help of pressure. These appliances are more expensive than water bath canners, but a pressure canner can double as a water bath canner if you remove the steam gauge.
Presto’s 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker holds up to seven quart-sized jars, 20 pint-sized jars, or 16 half-pints in one batch. The roomy canner features heavy-duty aluminum construction, heat-resistant handles, and a strong-lock steel lid. It’s also relatively large, making this appliance perfect for all your home preservation needs.
3. Canning Jars
Canning jars are made from tempered glass designed to withstand high heat. They typically come with a metal lid and a ring to help create the vacuum seal. You can reuse canning jars and rings but should replace the lids after each use. Two of the most popular canning jar brands are Ball Mason and Kerr. Canning jars are available in various sizes, with the most common ones used for preserving food being one quart (32 ounces), one pint (16 ounces), and one half-pint (8 ounces), and there are regular and wide mouth versions of each size.
4. Canning Tools
Specialty canning tools make it easier and safer to fill and transport canning jars. Although you can purchase them separately, they are typically sold in sets. The tools included in these bundles vary, but they typically contain a jar lifter, funnel, bubble popper, and magnetic lid lifter. This set of Norpro canning tools comes with all the standard tools plus tongs and a jar wrench.
5. Food Mill
Although a food mill isn’t necessarily an essential canning tool, it does help with making smoother apple or tomato sauces. The OXO Good Grips Food Mill features a sturdy stainless steel bowl and three stainless steel grinding discs for preparing foods of fine, medium, and coarse textures. It also features three nonslip legs that fold for easy storage.
6. Jelly Bag
Unlike jam and preserves, jelly is made directly from fruit juice, and a jelly bag makes it easy to extract juice from pureed fruits or vegetables. The Norpro Jelly Bag features legs with hooked feet designed to fit different sizes of pans and bowls and a strainer bag that fits snugly in its frame opening for sturdy support. This jelly bag is simple, inexpensive, and can work for other cooking applications that require fine straining, too.
7. Candy Thermometer
Jams and jellies need to reach about 220 degrees Fahrenheit to have the right consistency. Although there are some tried and true methods to check for the perfect viscosity, the best way to be sure is to use a candy thermometer. This Polder thermometer can be used for making jelly, jam, or candy, as well as for deep frying. It’s constructed of sturdy stainless steel and features an insulated handle and pot clip to securely hold it to the side of a pot for precise readings.
The prices listed here are accurate as of publication on August 31, 2022.