My Favorite Canning Supplies

posted by Andrea | 05/13/2019

I grew up watching my mom and grandma preserve all sorts of goodies every single year — peaches, pears, applesauce, salsa, jams, tomatoes, grape juice, and more! So when Dave and I got married, I just sort of assumed canning would be part of my kitchen duties. 

 

For the most part, canning and preserving local fruits and veggies has been very enjoyable for me.

It IS a lot of work, but that’s only because I’m essentially preparing a year’s worth of a specific food at one time — sort of like a massive freezer-cooking day that I won’t need to do again for a full year. 

However, even if I didn’t enjoy it, I probably would still preserve many of our own fruits and vegetables because it TASTES SO MUCH BETTER than any canned or frozen food from the store. 

 

As our children get older, as our vegetable garden gets larger, and as I have more “free time” for activities I enjoy, I hope to increase the types and quantities of food I preserve each year. 

This year, I’ll be doing a bunch of jam (strawberry rhubarb, strawberry, raspberry, triple berry), tomatoes, tomato sauce, pickles, pepper relish, maybe some salsa, and lots of applesauce.

Since we’re entering the time of year when canning and preserving are becoming hot topics of conversation again, I thought it might be perfect timing to share some of MY favorite canning resources (the ones I’ve used year after year for as long as I can remember). 

Of course, before you go out and buy a whole bunch of supplies, it might be worth asking a friend or relative if you can borrow anything first. And also make sure you scope out local thrift stores as they might have just what you need! 

Years ago, I inherited one of my canners from my mom’s friend, and LOTS of extra jars and rings from my mom and grandma. So my initial investment was fairly minimal — I basically just had to purchase lids and produce (and I was already growing much of my own produce in our vegetable garden!)

It might seem like a lot of extra stuff to buy when you’re just getting started, but keep in mind I’ve been using the same canner, jars, rings, food mill, etc. etc. for 13 years now — it’s a small investment up front, but you can reuse almost everything! 

My Favorite Canning Supplies

A great list of my favorite canning supplies for anyone interested in canning and preserving (especially those just getting started).

21 Qt. Enamel Canner

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

A simple enamel canner is all you need to get started. Make sure it's at least 21 quarts so you can fit 7 quart jars inside.

The smaller enamel canners are great for smaller jars, but you CAN process smaller jars in a larger canner.

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Quart Jars

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

Quart jars are the preferred size for larger fruits, tomatoes, applesauce, and pickles!
I'd suggest starting with at least 21 quart jars as a canner can hold 7 jars in each batch.

The sets that come with rings and lids are great for newbies. Otherwise, keep an eye out at thrift stores for used jars (but don't pay more than $1 per jar)

You'll want to pay attention to if you get regular mouth or wide mouth jars as you'll eventually need specific lids and rings for each type.

I personally prefer regular mouth for applesauce, but like wide mouth for everything else as it's easier to get my hand or a utensil inside.

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Regular Mouth & Wide Mouth Lids

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

The lids are the one thing you'll need to purchase new each time you can food.

Take note whether you need wide mouth or regular lids based on whatever jars you're using.

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Stainless Steel Bands/Rings

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

These metal rings can be reused each time you can. I like to keep both regular and wide mouth rings on hand as I use both types of jars.

Make sure the rings are very dry before putting them into storage as they can rust over time.

I always keep lots of extra rings in the house as I put rings on any jars I'm gifting (just in case the recipient doesn't have rings).

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Plastic Jar Lids

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

These plastic lids are my absolute favorite to use AFTER we open a jar of canned food. They are easy to wash, don't rust, and are really durable.

I use them for my pantry storage as well -- perfect for all my different grains.

I keep several wide mouth and regular mouth lids in my kitchen at all times!

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Wide Mouth Jar Funnel

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

I use a variety of funnels in my kitchen, but a wide mouth funnel is ideal for filling canning jars.

I should mention that even though it says "wide mouth funnel" it will work for both regular and wide mouth canning jars!

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Fruit Pectin

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

Fruit pectin is what I use to help thicken and set my jam.

I buy in bulk as it's cheaper than individual packets.

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Pickling Spice

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

Packages of pickling spices are our favorite quick and easy way to make pickles!

We also like using Mrs. Wages refrigerator pickle spices that come in smaller packets.

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Food MIll

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

This food mill is IDEAL for making applesauce, tomato sauce, salsa, baby foods, or any other puree as it separates the skin and seeds from the flesh with ease!

It takes a little bit of practice to set it up and take it down, but it saves SO much time!

Also, make sure you wash AND dry it really well otherwise the mesh screens will rust and you'll need to buy new screens.

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If you’re ready to hit the ground running, here are a bunch of my favorite recipes and resources. 

Like I mentioned above, it might be worth trying to borrow a few supplies first, then buy later once you’re sure you are willing to put in the time to can delicious seasonal produce (and then clean up afterward!) 

What are your favorite home-canned goodies (or what would you like to learn to can)?

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11 comments

  1. Melanie

    05/15/2019

    I can so many things! Peaches, pears, applesauce, salsa, tomatoes, pickles, chicken, whole potatoes…to name just a few! It’s a lot of work, but SO worth it!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, it is some work up-front, but then it saves SO much effort later in the year!

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  2. Lindsey

    05/14/2019

    You keep motivating me in the food area! I’ve been interested in canning but heard you have to have a gas stove or one without the glass top that’s typical on electric stoves. Is this true? What kind do you have? Thank you for all the help you’ve already been to our family with your blog!

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    Andrea Reply:

    you can DEFINITELY can on glass top stoves — my mom has done it for YEARS with no issues!

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  3. Margaret

    05/13/2019

    I’m a big fan of using my pressure canner (bought used 30 years ago) for everything. If I lock the lid down but don’t put the weight on it functions like a water-bath canner, but I only need to put an inch of water in it–it has 1 to 2 pounds of pressure without the weight–which means it boils much faster and doesn’t make the kitchen nearly as hot and stream-y. There is a short wait for the pressure to drop, but it’s much less than the time it takes to boil a full canner. Recommended.

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    Andrea Reply:

    interesting — I’ve never thought of using the pressure canner for NON-pressure canner needs. Now I’m intrigued. I’ll have to look for a used one or see if I can borrow one to test it out this summer! Thanks!

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    Brenda Reply:

    I’ve used my steam canner in place of the water-bath and it is faster (less water to bring to a boil). And I’ve thought to use my pressure canner as a pot big enough to water bath, but I think I would have still filled it up with water like a regular water bath. Now you have me thinking….

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  4. Katie

    05/13/2019

    My mother always made strawberry jam, bread ‘n butter pickles, zucchini relish, tomato sauce, and applesauce. She also made sure to can peaches. My parents also used their Seal-a-Meal to freeze fresh corn, peppers, and green beans from their huge garden, as well as blueberries from their bushes. Having a huge garden and a personal orchard certainly encourage taking advantage of summer’s bounty! I remember many hours growing up in a steaming hot kitchen, turning the crank on the food mill, or making sure to put a peach pit in each jar πŸ™‚

    I’ve only ever done strawberry jam, mostly because I haven’t had the garden myself – my own adult lifestyle has involved a lot more work outside of the home and travel – so I’ve not gotten the garden going the same way. But the zucchini relish is my favorite!

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  5. Gramma CC

    05/13/2019

    It’s fun to can with a friend. My 2 oldest sister’s do this. They use their own jars & split the cost of any produce, etc. Newbies starting out can do this, too!

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  6. Rhonda

    05/13/2019

    We live one mile from a strawberry patch in Wisconsin (which does “pick your own” also). Looking forward to it in about 4-6 weeks! I usually make 1-2 batches of jam. I don’t have a pressure cooker or “canner”. The first year I tried the water bath using a big pot (so messy, and probably dangerous). When I talked to the farmers at the patch, she told me that I could just put the hot jam in the hot jars, put on lids, then turn them upside down for 10 minutes. It does work! After they go right-side-up, they eventually do all “pop” down. Since I don’t really do a ton of canning, this works for me. (They only other thing I “canned” last year was the refrigerator pickles after you did that post – those were delicious!)

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, we are already excited for u-pick berries here in MI too!

    And yes, I believe I mention it in my posts about jam, but I do not “can” jam in a hot water bath. I just flip the jars upside down like you mentioned. SUPER easy!

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