Canning may look like a difficult feat to attempt, but with a little knowledge and experience, anyone can learn how to can at home. Saving seasonal produce by canning just so you can eat it when it is unavailable at other times of the year is one of the best ways to ensure that you are eating fresh foods all through the year.
Basic Canning Equipment
Eating food that you have preserved yourself can be rewarding and healthy. When you can, you are fully in charge of the ingredients, which means that you can make jam that does not have too much sugar or you preserve a can of pickles at the height of the season so that they can remain fresh all year round. If you are interested in caning, there are a few basic canning equipments that you will require that consist of:
1. Water bath canner
Water bath canners are used for preserving high acid food such as pickles and fruits. A 21-quart water bath canner is the most common variety but there are versions that are much larger available. If you buy a used water bath canner, ensure that it comes with the proper lid and rack.
2. Pressure canner
Pressure canners are essential for preserving low acid foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, and veggies. Pressure canners can reach 240 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature needed to fully kill food spoiling bacteria.
3. Canning rack
Most canners, whether pressure or water canners, typically come with canning racks that are responsible for holding the cans of food to be preserved. If your canning rack is old, you can replace it easily. Wire racks work better than plastic racks because they last longer and can hold more food.
4. Jars for canning
To can a wide variety of food, you will need to invest in jars of different sizes.
- Half-pint jars: Half-pint jars are ideal for chutneys and jams
- Pint jars: These are the most commonly used and are perfect for a range of foods such as cherries, green beans, artichokes, chutney or jam.
- Quart jars: Quart jars are the largest and are used commonly for pickles and meats.
You should always be on the lookout for used jars at yard sales to reuse over and over again. But you must always use a fresh lid for every canning cycle. Never buy jars that are cracked or chipped.
Although you can re-use your jars time and time again, your lids must always be replaced. As such, you should have a steady supply of replacement lids.
6. Jar lifter
Jar lifters are essential for lifting hot jars from the canner safely.
7. Magnetic lid lifter
These are used to safely remove canning jar lids from boiling water.
8. A wide-mouth canning funnel
A wide-mouth canning funnel helps you fill jars without causing a mess.
9. A rubber spatula
Rubber spatulas are used to release trapped air bubbles. Rubber spatulas are used around the inside edges of a jar that has already been filled to remove bubbled.