At home food preservation is making a huge come back and I couldn’t be more excited about it! Among the most popular articles out there about at home food preservation, home-canning is right at the top of the list. There is nothing like popping open a jar of home-canned tomato sauce, from fresh tomatoes or a jar of homemade applesauce.
If you are considering starting the adventure into home-canning your own food, there are a few tools you are going to need and we’ve compiled a list of our favorite tools to get you started!
Tools All Beginner Canners Need
Ball Complete Book Of Home Preserving
There are many books out there, but the Ball Complete Book Of Home Preserving is the one we use here on the homestead. It has everything you’ll ever need to know about home-canning your own food. Safety is really important when you decide that you want to take on preserving your own food and what better way to learn the ins and outs then from a company who has been helping us do that since 1884?
Food mills come in handy when making jams, jellies and sauces. Food mills will remove the skins and seeds from your tomatoes, strawberries or grapes. They really make our lives easier. Seeds may not be a big deal in sauces or jams, but I don’t care for seeds in juice, jellies or ketchup. This is the one we currently are using. This is the one we’re currently using.
Jars, Lids and Rings
You just can’t home-can unless you have something to put all that yumminess in. There are a few different sizes available, but the common ones used are pints and quarts. They also come in regular mouth and wide mouth. You’ll have to decide which sizes are the best for your needs. (This is the kind we use here at Country Acres). Jars and rings can be saved and used for future cannings, but the lids will have to be thrown away and you’ll have to replace those. There are reusable lids (these are the ones we use). The reusable lids are a bigger investment initially, but in the long run, they will save you money.
Water bath canner with rack
Water bathing is a super easy way to start your canning adventure. We use a water bath to can high-acid foods such as: jams, jellies and tomatoes. There are several on the market (this is the one we use). In a pinch, you can use a very large stock pot, as long as the water covers the tops of the jars by 2 inches and there is a rack under your jars. The rack helps the water and air circulate around the jars, so that everything is preserved properly and it will reduce the risk of jar breakage.
Pressure canning scares a lot of people and many avoid it because of the horror stories that are out there. But, if you follow the guidelines on your canner and educate yourself about safety, it really isn’t all that scary. Pressure canning is important, because low-acid foods can not be water bathed. If you want to can homemade broth, carrots, meat, soups or stews, you are going to need a pressure canner. We have two different pressure canners that we use on our homestead. One we use for smaller batches (you can find that here) and the other we use for bigger batches (that can be found here).
A good funnel will help when it comes to pouring your delicious food into the jars. It’ll reduce the risk of you getting burnt by spilling and splattering hot sauce or jam all of the place. Plus, your counters will thank you because they won’t get all messy. We just switched to this one and we love it!
Your going to want to find a ladle that has a long handle and a medium to large size cup. You really don’t want to be pouring hot jellies, jams, tomatoes, etc. into glass jars. You can find one like our’s here.
Having too much air in the jar could cause the jar not to seal properly. If a jar doesn’t seal properly, the food will spoil. At best case scenario, you’ve wasted time, money and energy. Worse case, you or someone you love could get very sick from eating what’s inside the jar. You can get one here!
Magnetic lid lifter and a jar lifter
When canning, it’s good to keep your lids in a small pot or bowl of very warm water. The best way to get those lids out is with a magnetic lid lifter. This way, you won’t have to worry about burning your fingers. Also, by not touching any part of the lid, you are keeping the lid free from germs. You don’t want to spread any bacteria to your food as it will spoil very quickly. When your jars come out of processing, they will be extremely hot. You do not want to be handling them, so a jar lifter comes in handy! You can find a lid lifter here and our jar lifter here.
Whatever you do, relax, have fun, read the safety manuals on your equipment and only use tested recipes from sources you trust! Is there a tool you use in your canning kitchen, that you feel would be a good addition to the list? Let us know in the comments below!