Most people think that canning takes a TON of equipment, and that simply isn’t so. I hope to show you that there are only a few necessities, and a few more nice-to haves, in this ultimate guide to canning equipment. This Ultimate Guide to Canning Equipment will share all the canning equipment, used by beginners and experienced canners, with explanations anyone can understand.
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The first item that everyone thinks of when they think of canning is the big, speckled canning pot. My favorite tips for beginners is that they DON’T need that pot! What?! That’s right. You don’t need it.
Here’s what you need instead. You need a regular stockpot, or a pot that’s 3 inches taller than the tallest jar you plan to can. A pot that you could boil artichokes in is probably large enough. Think this type:
You don’t need the lid. Yeah, it’s helpful if you have it but it’s not absolutely necessary. THEN, you need this gem:
This is a silicone trivet, they come in a bunch of cute colors, and they sit in the bottom of the regular stockpot and prevent the mason jars from rattling around and breaking. They are useful as a regular trivet, inexpensive, collapse for storage, and once I got one, I NEVER pulled the giant speckled canning pot out again.
The canning jars that are best for a beginning canner are wide mouth pint canning jars. You want to get wide mouth canning jars because they are easy to clean, by hand or in the dishwasher, they the most versatile size for the widest number of recipes, double as drinking classes, and you can freeze in them- just fill to the fill line on the top edge!
Ultimate Guide to Canning Equipment continued: If the canner in your life has jars already , or maybe has canned a time or two, you should DEFINITELY get them several boxes of NEW lids. Lids can only be used ONE time through the canning process so a canner goes through them fairly quickly. They are a great gift item that a canner will always use in the same way a cooking enthusiast would always love a great bottle of olive oil. Here are the wide mouth lids that fit the jars above.
A beginning canner needs a set of tools that are usually sold together called a canning utensil kit.
Here’s my pro tip: That little wand that has a magnet at the end is called a lid lifter. They are used to lift lids out of simmering water before putting them on jars. If you’ve not canned much, or even if you’ve canned a lot, you might think that because that thing is sold in the kit, you need it, right? Wrong. You actually do NOT need to have that lid lifter and I wrote a blog post about why here but the short reason is that the lids haven’t had to be simmered since the 1960’s.
If you or someone dear to you wants to learn how to can, I cannot recommend enough that they join the Start Canning Course. This premium video course teaches STEP BY STEP exactly what to do when!
I teach how to can:
- Strawberry Jam
- Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
- Strawberry Syrup and Strawberry Butter
- Tomato Sauce
- Roasted Bell Peppers
Plus once you know how to make the basics, you can take your newfound skills and use them with different types of fruit and vegetables. It’s like having an entire farmer’s market on your pantry shelf!
Next in the Ultimate Guide to Canning Equipment is the best food mill around. This food mill processes cooked foods and removes skins, seeds, peels, cores, and makes a super smooth sauce in one step. There’s no motor that will fail, or no junky plastic parts that will fail in a year or two; this is a well made, easy to clean tool that will last years and years.
Next in the list of Ultimate Guide to Canning Equipment is the beautiful preserving pan by Kilner. This is a pan for cooking jam, jellies, and more. It is heavy bottomed, and basically perfect for making preserves. It would last a lifetime, prevent jam from begin scorched, and allow it too cook low and slow, and thicken perfectly.
These jars may look “French Countryside” even though they are German in origin. An experienced canner would love to try their hand at canning with these Weck jars. They are a little different than standard Ball jars- the lid has a removable rubber flange and there’s no satisfying “pop” sound like when canning Ball lids & jars, but they work with the same processes and same recipes. They are beautiful and chic, as well.
They come in these many other shapes as well, which is so fun:
Next up in Best Home Canning Equipment for an Experienced Canner is the newest development in the canning world, the Steam Canner. These pots were approved for use by the USDA in 2015 and they make canning SO MUCH FASTER. They work exactly the same way as regular canning but they heat up much less water, so they are ready to go in 5 minutes instead of 30. If I could give every canner ONE gift, it would be one of these. I NEVER pull out my regular water bath canning pot anymore because they work so well and save so much time.
You don’t have to worry; they are NOT hard to use, and they aren’t at all like a pressure canner. I wrote a blog post on my sister site about them here called 29 Reasons You Should be Using a Steam Canner and there’s another great post I wrote called Steam Canning for Beginners.
Once a canner has canned a few seasons, they know that it would be really nice to keep track of which recipes they loved, which they didn’t, how many jars each recipe yielded, etc. I have a free Canning Log that’s beautiful and printable, and you can print it off right here to give to the canner in your life!
A steamer juicer is a contraption that your grandma probably used for canning grape juice. They are a really useful device and can be used for juicing elderberries, grapes, currants, and more. You don’t NEED one for canning, of course, but if juicing is something that is something you’d like to pursue, this is a wonderful tool. This one is the same brand as the steam canner that I love so I’d suspect it would be the very same high quality. I’m still steaming in my grandma’s steamer but if I had to ask Santa for one, this is the one I’d love:
This item is a lower price point, but if you had to can many pounds of cherries, you’d probably pay 10 times whatever a pitter cost to have it. A cherry pitter can save so much time and make the job of canning one of the most delicious fruit so much more fun. This kind is hand held, in the same brand as the food mill I’ve had and used for several years.
This cherry pitter is by Norpro, which is another brand I trust, and it suctions to the tabletop. I have the very similar model, that I got at a yard sale, but mine screws to the table ledge, and has scratched it more than once. I have not used this suction one but I bet it would work perfectly AND it wouldn’t damage your countertop. I like this style of model because it is really nice to have several cherries in the hopper so you can just bang-bang-bang pit them and then grab another handful.
This little strawberry huller is a great stocking stuffer if your canner preserves a lot of strawberries. This little guy does his one little job very, very well and if faced with a mountain of berries to preserve, the canner in your life would thank you.
This ladle is called a “strainer ladle” and they are wonderful for canners because they allow you to control how much liquid and how much solid (salsa+ tomato juice, for example) ends up in each jar that gets filled. It’s under $20 and I love mine.
This little jar is only 4 ounces, which means it’s perfect for the canner in you life to fill with hot sauce, chocolate cherry jam, or any other perfectly gift-able preserve and give as gifts.
And for the canning enthusiast, they need these super cute canning tee shirts.
As any experienced canner knows, Canic is the fear brought on by having tons of quickly ripening produce, but not enough time to can it all. It’s a very real thing, and the canner in your life needs this shirt.
Many canners have little Berry Picker helpers- these shirts are awesome for those littlest helpers whose motto usually is, “one for the basket, two for me.”
And for hauling produce home from the farmer’s market, this Love Into Jars tote is perfect; and it always fits 🙂
I hope this Ultimate Guide to Canning Equipment was helpful. If you are excited about canning, you’ll be thrilled to hear that I’m working on a book, Love into Jars and you can sign up for the waitlist right here; you’ll be the first to know when it is available for pre-order, get sneak peeks, and exclusive content!