Home canning is a great way to preserve fruits, vegetables, and even meat. Not only does it allow you to enjoy your garden harvest all year round, but it also helps you save money and reduce food waste. However, to start canning at home, you need the right equipment. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll cover all the essential canning equipment you need to get started, as well as some optional items you might want to consider.
Canning jars are the most important piece of equipment you need for home canning. These jars come in different sizes and shapes, but they all have one thing in common: they’re made to withstand high temperatures needed to preserve food. Choose jars based on what you plan to can, and make sure they’re suitable for canning (some jars are only for storing food).
Lids and Bands
Canning jars need special lids and bands to seal properly. These come in two types: metal lids with a sealing compound or reusable plastic lids. Metal lids should only be used once, and the bands can be used over again. Plastic lids are more expensive but can be reused many times.
A canning pot is a large pot with a tight-fitting lid that’s used to process jars of food. A good canning pot should be big enough to hold your jars with at least an inch of water above them. It should also have a rack or basket that keeps the jars off the bottom of the pot.
A canning funnel is a handy tool that helps you fill jars with hot food without making a mess. Look for a funnel that fits your jars well and has a wide mouth.
A jar lifter is a tool that helps you safely lift hot jars out of the canning pot. It has gripping tongs that hold the jars securely, without damaging them.
Bubble Remover/Measuring Tool
A bubble remover is a long, flat tool that helps you remove any trapped air bubbles in your jars before processing. It’s also useful for measuring the headspace (the amount of space between the food and the lid).
To ensure that your food is processed safely, you need to keep track of the temperature inside your canning pot. A simple cooking thermometer with a long probe is sufficient for most home canning.
Processing times for canned food vary depending on the type of food and altitude. A timer is a handy tool that helps you keep track of time and make sure your food is processed long enough.
While the above equipment is essential for successful home canning, there are a few optional items that can make the task easier and more enjoyable.
A pressure canner is a specialized pot used for canning low-acid foods like meat, poultry, and fish. It uses pressure to reach a higher temperature than a boiling water bath canner, which is necessary to kill bacteria.
Food Mill/Food Processor
A food mill or food processor is a handy tool if you want to puree or grind your canned foods. It can also save time by chopping and slicing vegetables and fruits before canning.
With the right equipment, home canning can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Once you have all the essential canning equipment, you can start preserving your favorite foods and enjoy them all year round. Remember to follow safety guidelines and always use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best results. Happy canning!