This post will share the canning tools that I use and love for water bath canning. These are the tools that I would recommend to a friend that was just getting started, and in the post I share some tips for avoiding that dreaded giant canning pot.
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If you are a learner who prefers video over reading, watch the YouTube version of the post here:
You can download the equipment checklist I mention in the video here!
I use these wide mouth pints all the time and they are the jar I recommend for a beginner. They are the most versatile because they are small enough to fit into a pasta pot water bath set up. They double as a drinking glass, are easy to clean by hand or in a dishwasher, and two cups of anything is a sizeable portion. It isn’t that often that I need four measuring cups of jam at once and these are just two cups. They are my favorite.
The other jars that I really like are for giving as gifts. These tiny four ounce jars are perfect for sharing a rich spread like tomato jam, a spicy hot sauce, or shipping preserves in the mail. Jars are heavy, and especially when shipping internationally they are expensive to mail, so tiny jars are essential in these situations. I made sunny Meyer Lemon jam for my cousins in Switzerland in these jars; talk about California in a jar! Get these little jars and put Love Into Jars this season!
Want the equipment checklist to get started? Download it here!
I recommend this jar lifter and funnel set. Normally, I’m in favor of recyclable items but this funnel is see-through which makes eye-balling the headspace really easy as opposed to impossible with an opaque funnel. A jar lifter is mandatory; you must have one to water bath can and really should have one for steam canning.
You always need brand new lids. Used lids can be reused to store dry goods but CANNOT be used for canning. Get NEW lids like these for every single batch you preserve.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this steam canner. If you already have a water bath canning set up and like it, that’s fine and dandy but if you don’t OR if you find your traditional canning process slow and cumbersome, listen up: STEAM CANNING IS FAST. It is ready in five minutes, while a traditional water bath takes about thirty minutes to be ready. I’m not a math teacher, but that seems like a big difference, right? You can read my post about steam canners here but you’ll definitely want to get your own steam canner after reading. I love this one.
A food mill is not necessary to can, exactly, but I use mine in nearly every recipe. I use so often because it is so effective in creating a super smooth puree, it is easy to clean, it is not an appliance that is going to break and be expensive to replace, they are all or mostly metal (read: durable) and I love that mine has 3 plates that can be swapped out. You know the 4 sides to a box grater? That’s what the interchangeable plates do; you can have a super fine puree, or just a medium one. The best example of it’s utility is making applesauce. I can cut a whole apple- core, seeds, skins, stems, everything- into quarters, add water, and boil till the quarters are really soft, and then plop the quarters into the food mill and all the cores, seeds, skins, and stems stay on the top and all that falls through is smooth applesauce. It is really a marvel of a tool.
Here’s a video of it in action to show you exactly what it does!
A silicone trivet is a really versatile way of turning any old pot you already have into a water bath canning pot. You have to have a rack or buffer on the bottom of the pot to prevent the jars from breaking and the silicone trivet is an affordable and useful amendment. You can use it as a trivet, of course, when you aren’t canning, and when you are, it simply sits in the bottom of a stock or pasta pot.
You’ll be able to put Love Into Jars using these simple tools; amazing, right?