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Do you want to preserve your food but have no clue what canning supplies you really need?
Canning season is getting closer, and it is time to get ready! If you’ve never canned before, you need to gather the essential supplies to get started. Don’t worry; it’s easier than you might think.
You want to know what is necessary and what is just nice to have. No one wants to spend money unnecessarily. Summer is busy on the homestead, so you want to get prepared now before you have a countertop full of produce ready for canning.
I love canning season, and I love watching my pantry shelves filling up with new jars with fresh food. So, what do you need to get started? Let’s take a look!
9 Canning Supplies You Need to Have
1. Water Bath Canner
The first thing you need is a water bath canner. It looks like a large pot or kettle, but it is made specifically for canning. The canner comes with a canning rack that stabilizes the jars and prevents them from cracking.
A water bath canner is necessary if you want to can things, such as jams, jellies, sauces, and pickles. You should only can foods with high acidity for your safety.
2. Pressure Canner
A pressure canner is necessary if you want to can vegetables, soups, and meats.
Most newbies start off with water bath canning, but I think you can jump into both types! Using a pressure canner isn’t as scary as some people think.
3. Canning Jars and Lids
Regular mouth jars are perfect for liquids, such as soups and salsa, or jams. Wide mouth jars are better for vegetables or cuts of meat. They are easier to clean as well unless you use a bottle brush scrubber.
You want more lids than jars. Jars will come with one set of lids for each jar, but jars are reusable. Lids cannot be reused unless you purchase Tattler lids. Those are different from the typical lids you get with your canning jars. Make sure you have a few extra boxes of lids on hand.
Canning jars also come in different sizes, and the sizes are ideal for different foods.
- Half-Pint: This size is best if you want to can jams and jellies. They’re a perfect size, which is why they’re referred to as jelly jars.
- Pint: Pint jars are great for canning vegetables, such as green beans, salsa, relishes, meat, or diced tomatoes.
- Quart: You can use quart jars to can tomato sauce and soups.
- Half-Gallon: This size is NOT meant to can with, unfortunately. However, you can use half-gallon jars to store dried beans and dehydrated food.
4. Canning Funnel
When you ladle soup or jam from the both into the jars, a funnel makes the job a lot easier. You won’t lose as much over the sides of your jar.
5. Lid Lifter
A lid lifter lets you lift the lids without burning yourself. Lids need to be placed in hot water before used. If you purchase a canning set of essentials, a lifter will be included.
6. Jar Lifter
A jar lifter is like a pair of tongs, but they are designed specifically to lift hot jars out of the canner. This item would also be in the above set of essentials.
A small spatula or bubble popper is necessary because it gets rid of all the little air bubbles in the food. Air bubbles can lead to spoilage, so pop bubbles before you put the lid on the jar.
8. A Large Stock Pot
Whether you are making jam or soup, you need a large pot where you can cook the food. Soup needs to simmer. Of course, this pot isn’t just for canning, but you need to make sure you have one on hand!
9. Canning Cookbook
This isn’t totally necessary, but a canning cookbook is great to have on hand. Nowadays, you can find hundreds of canning recipes on the internet. A new canner might feel comfortable using a book with proven recipes rather than trusting the internet.
Canning Supplies That are Nice to Have on Hand
These items aren’t totally necessary to buy right off the bat, but you will find times that it’s beneficial to have these items.
1. Bottled Lemon Juice
You need to use lemon juice in tomato-based recipes to ensure the acid level is appropriate. Some people use citric acid instead, but lemon juice is easier to find in the stores.
2. Canning & Pickling Salt
When you want to pickle or can something, it’s best to use salt meant for canning. You also can use this salt if you learn how to ferment foods at home.
So, you want to make some jams and jellies? If so, pectin is typically a necessity. There are ways to can without pectin, but to be honest, those recipes didn’t seem to work well for me.
I prefer a low-sugar pectin. You use half of the sugar needed for recipes, but you can use whatever you prefer!
4. Pickling Crisp
I like crispy pickles that have a crunch when you bite into them. Pickle crisp helps to keep that crunch in pickles. You don’t want mushy pickles – gross!
When you’re straining jellies, having cheesecloth is so helpful. It makes the process easier. You also can use cheesecloth when you make cheese or even sauces, so keep a few on hand!
When you make any type of pickles, you need vinegar on hand. White vinegar works for most recipes, but some do call for apple cider vinegar.
You don’t need to buy all of these supplies at one time. Start with a water bath canner, jars, a canning supplies kit, and you can start building up your canner’s pantry with all f the right canning supplies.
Canning Recipes to Try
Now, you are ready to get canning! Need some inspiration? Here are some of my favorite recipes!
- No-Fail Strawberry Jam
- Watermelon Jelly
- Mulberry Jelly
- Zucchini Salsa
- Zucchini Relish
- Zucchini Bread & Bread Pickles