When it comes to canning, you can get by with very little equipment. Of course, having proper equipment makes your life easier. Here is a list of equipment that will assist you in preserving your precious produce.
Canning jars, rings and lids
Obviously, this is a must have. You can find jars in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and they can be purchased at most grocery stores, hardware stores, and even on amazon. The jars and the rings are reusable, while the lids are not. You will need to buy new lids each year, as they will not seal a second time.
A note about lids and BPA: As I mentioned in a previous post, I try to avoid using products made from BPA. Most canning lids have BPA in the lining, but this doesn’t bother me much since the food doesn’t come in contact with the lid. If you are interested in buying BPA free lids, check out this website.
Canner or Large stock pot:
A canner is essentially a large pot that works well for canning. If you have a large stock pot, don’t worry about going out to buy a canner. Any pot can be used as a canner, as long as your jars can be completely submerged in the water. Ideally, you’ll want your pot to be about 3 inches deeper than your jars.
This is a rack that sits at the bottom of your pot, making it easier to remove your hot jars, and prevents the jars from hitting each other in the pot. If you don’t have a rack, you can take 7 of the jar rings, and use zip ties to hold them together in a circle.
If you’re going to buy 1 piece of canning equipment, I would buy a jar lifter. This allows you to safely remove the hot jars from the boiling water without dropping the jar or burning your fingers. I’ve used kitchen tongs in the past, and it did not work well.
You use this tool to release any air bubbles from your jars, and then you can use the magnetic side of the lifter to place your lids on your jars. This is nice to have, but a butter knife and tongs work just as well.
This helps control spillage when filling jars with sauces and syrups. You can of course get by without if you have a steady hand.
I have this canning set from Target, which includes a large canning pot, canning rack, jar lifter, lid lifter, funnel and a pair of tongs. If you’re going to do a lot of canning, it is a steal at $29.99.
Coming up next, a post about the actual canning process…Stay tuned!