It’s time to start canning!
Canning season is here, which means it is time to get those supplies out of the closet. For you beginners, this post should help guide you to get the supplies needed.
The first step is to determine what you want to can. Depending on what you want to preserve you will either need a boiling-water canner or a steam-pressure canner or maybe both, like me.
A boiling-water canner should have a wire rack bottom and a tight fitting lid to maintain the proper temperature. High-acid foods, such as tomatoes, fruits (peaches, pears, apples, etc.), fruit juices, soft spreads, and pickles, can be processed using a boiling-water canner.
A steam-pressure canner has a weighted gauge or a dial gauge and a sealable lid. The sealable lid uses pressure to create a high temperature, which is required for safely processing foods. These foods include low-acid foods, such as vegetables (corn, green beans), meats, poultry and seafoods.
The nice thing about the steam-pressure canner is it can also be used as a boiling-water canner, read your instructions to determine what you may have to remove or add to do so. The downfall of my steam-pressure canner is it isn’t tall enough for quart size jars, so I end up using both of my canners. My steam-pressure canner can fit 10 pint size jars.
Canning jars, sometimes called Mason jars are made out of glass and come in a variety of different sizes and are either regular or wide-mouth.
The largest canning jar size is a half gallon, followed by a quart, a pint and one-half pint (I have seen canning jars bigger than a half gallon, but I am not sure how you would can them at home). I mainly use pint size jars because it is the perfect serving size. Quart jars I generally use for grape juice and tomato sauce. One-half pint is good for foods that don’t get used as fast, such as relish and jelly, to name a few.
After you determine what size jars you want to purchase, you will then need to get the right size lids and screw bands. If you are buying your first set of canning jars usually they are already fitted with lids and bands. These two pieces together (lids and bands) are what create the vacuum seal. The lid have a sealing compound while the band keeps the lid in place during processing.
These particular lids are not reusable, so new lids are required each time you can. I am always in a scramble to find a store that carry’s just the lids! Reusable canning lids do exist, but I have never tried them, I would love to hear from anyone who has though!
Other useful items:
A canning funnel, which fits both regular and wide-mouth canning jars and is used to help fill your jars easier.
A jar lifter, which safely removes hot jars from the canner. One side is usually covered in rubber to help grab the jars while the handle is on the other.
You may also want to use a lid wand, spatula (to remove air bubbles) or butter knife, labels and markers to decorate jars or put what the content is and the date,
food mill, which can be used to separate seeds, a food processor!, and also remember to check your recipe for other necessary supplies. Some recipes use canning & pickling salt, pectin and many other ingredients!
Hopefully this list will help you get started canning! There are many great books that are just dedicated to preserving, such as Ball Blue Book of Preserving.
I would be happy to answer any questions and let me know if you have a must have supply that I didn’t list.Follow @farmhousemag