Canning food is one of my favorite things to do! With every jar that I lift out of my canner, I’ve created a future meal for my family! If you would like to start canning, I want to show you the best canning supplies for your homestead kitchen!
By “best”, I don’t mean the most expensive. Rather, by “best”, I mean the most effective tools that will serve you for many years.
To begin canning, whether water-bath or pressure canning, you will need three basic tools:
-Jars, lids and rings
-Canning tool kit
For water-bath canning, you will need a basic water-bath canner. Water-bath canners are fairly inexpensive and have no moving parts. It’s essentially a large pot, with a basket inside for the jars, with a lid.
A new water-bath canner will set you back about $40.
This is a basic water-bath canner, it will can any high-acid food like fruit and tomatoes. It comes with a lid and a basket inside.
High-acid foods can be safely canned in water that is 212°F, which is the boiling point of water.
The basket makes it a bit easier to let your jars down into the canner and to take them back out. However, I prefer to use my jar lifter for both.
What Can I Process in a Water-Bath Canner?
You can process all fruit as well as tomatoes (which are actually a fruit)!
Every year, I can a lot of tomatoes for soups, marinara sauce and chili in the winter.
Pressure canning is the method you should use for low-acid foods like vegetables, meat and soups. A decent one will cost you about $150.
Low-acid foods require temperatures of 240° to kill pathogens like botulism that can cause serious illness or even death.
Some folks are unnerved by the noises that a pressure-canner makes, but once you get to know how the canner works, you’ll become more comfortable.
Jars, Lids and Rings
Jars, lid and rings are at the heart of canning. These simple glass vessels will take care of the food you worked so hard to grow and preserve!
In my opinion, the best canning supplies are new jars and lids. New jars are an investment and if you take care of them and store them properly, they will last a very long time.
I recommend that you avoid “off brand” jars and stick with brands like Ball jars. Off-brand jars tend to break more often and there’s nothing more defeating than when a jar full of food breaks inside the canner.
Once you get a few dozen new jars and lids collected, I would begin to look for used jars at garage sales or on Facebook marketplace. Be careful to look for cracks in the jars and/or chips around the mouth.
Reusable canning lids have been gaining popularity in recent years and for good reason! Conventional canning lids are not recommended for use a second time, although some people still do. Personally, I don’t take that risk.
Tattler lids are the leading brand of reusable canning lids, I’ve used them myself with good results. Of course, they cost a bit more but when taken care of and used properly, they will last you quite a while and save you money in the long run.
While there are any number of “canning gadgets” out there, you really only need a few.
The jar lifter is essential, it allows you to lift and place jars while canning. The funnel is important as well, I use mine all of the time. Lifting lids from hot water is much easier with the magnet and the special sponge makes it much easier to wash your jars.
Canning Supplies FAQ
How many times can I reuse my jars?
As long as there are no cracks or chips on your jars, you can use them indefinitely!
Can I buy a used canner?
Yes. I see water-bath canners at Goodwill and garage sales quite often for under $10. Make sure there’s no rust and it should work just fine.
Before buying a used pressure-canner, I would get the advice of a seasoned canner who can inspect it for you. The seal needs to be in good shape, not dry or cracked.
What sized canner should I buy?
Buy what you can afford, but the bigger the better. Larger canners allow you to can more at one time, which requires less time and power.
Can I use a large stockpot as my water-bath canner?
Absolutely! You will need something to serve as a trivet on the bottom, but otherwise, a stockpot should work just fine.
This is the year to start preserving food with canning! You will save money, eat better and always be prepared for an emergency!