Just like when you are learning any other new skill or hobby, there are supplies that you will need to gather together in order to can safely. It’s so fun and exciting to shop for the tools you’ll be using, but if you don’t have anyone to give you tips and help you get started it can also be overwhelming and turn into an expensive waste of money. You are likely to have many of these supplies already, but here’s a list of the best canning equipment for beginners to help you figure out what you need and what is overkill for what you’re trying to do.
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Step 1: Pick A Canner
One of the most important pieces of canning equipment is the Canner. This is the big pot of water that we process the jars in to kill microorganisms and get the jars to seal.
If you are canning fruit, tomatoes or pickles you will need a waterbath canner OR a steam canner. Both are equally effective at killing microorganisms and are considered safe canning techniques.
If you need a canner to can high acid foods like fruit, tomatoes or pickles, either of these Waterbath canners would be fine. The black canner is the same basic canner that I used for the first 15 years I was canning. The Stainless Steel canner is a better quality canner with a glass lid that allows you to see what’s going on inside the pot without lifting the lid:
Double Check to make sure that your Waterbath Canner includes a rack that you can hang over the edge of the pot! This is the rack I recommend:
Two neat appliances you may be interested in are the Ball Electric Waterbath Canner and the Ball Automatic Canner. I describe both appliances in more detail in my course.
If you’d like to just try canning a few jars of something without investing in a canner, the canning basket is a good option that you can use with a regular stockpot.
In 2016 The University of Wisconsin Extension office discovered that steam canning is equally effective and safe as waterbath canning. If you are canning fruits, tomatoes or pickles and prefer a steam canner, this is a great, basic steam canner.
The steam canner above is the one that I own. I started canning many years before we knew that steam canning is safe, so I own a steam canner and a waterbath canner. If I were beginning my canning journey today, I would go ahead and purchase this mutli-canner which allows you to waterbath OR steam can:
Pleae remebmer, waterbath and steam canners can only be safely used to preserve fruit, tomatoes and pickles. Low Acid foods like vegetables and meat need to be processed in a pressure canner. Either of these two options would be a good choice for a pressure canner:
Before we actually can anything we have to prepare the food going into jars. So for that you’ll need a colander to wash the fruit and vegetables. You’ll need a good knife and cutting board. You may also need a measuring cup and measuring spoons. Depending on your recipe you may need a kitchen scale to weigh your fruits and vegetables, a pot to cook the food in, and a candy thermometer to make sure you’ve heated the food to the correct temperature. I also think having a wooden spoon with a long handle is super handy!
When it comes time to put the food in jars, the first thing you’ll want is a jar funnel. Having a funnel will make filling your jars so much easier! You’ll also want a large ladle, a headspace or bubble tool, a magnetic lid wand to help you get the lids on the jars, a jar lifter (because the jars will be too hot to touch) and really good oven mitts! You’ll need to have clean clothes or paper towels handy to clean the rims of the jars before you put the lids on. And finally, you’ll definitely need a kitchen timer to help you time different parts of the canning process. I recommend using a digital timer if you can because they are more accurate than a dial timer.
I know that’s kind of a long list, but there’s a good chance you already own most of those items!
Norpro Canning Essentials SetSilicon Oven Hot MittsCanning ScoopStainless Steel Analog Kitchen Scale – 11 lbsOXO Good Grips Kitchen TimerMy favorite Knives (Made by the Swiss Army Knife people!)My Favorite 18″ handled Wooden SpponDigital Cooking Thermometer With Instant Read Sensor
And finally, if you have any concerns about cooking on your regular stovetop, many seasoned canners recommend using this outdoor propane burner for canning: