There’s something special about a crispy pickle made from your harvested cucumbers and a homemade jam toasted on fresh bread on a winter day. With the right canning knowledge and equipment, you can preserve food and make them available all throughout the seasons.
Canned goods bought from the supermarket is great, but you know these are packed with nasty preservatives and additives that you don’t like your body to ingest. Canning your own food is a better alternative, so you can make sure that the food you preserved is healthy and delicious.
For canning to be possible at home, here are the only things you need:
1. Cooker or canner
Canning at home can be done in any large pot with the use of a canning rack. However, if you plan to do canning more than once, it’s better to buy a canner specifically for this purpose. Canners come in all sizes and are available with or without canning racks. Water bath canners are perfect for beginners since they are cheap and easy to use. If you’re an experienced canner, go for pressure canners for more advanced canning. You may also prefer an electric model, but those are far pricier.
2. Canning jars
You need something to put your canned food on. Home canning jars come in all shapes and sizes, so choose ones that are appropriate for the items you will be canning. Make sure to choose jars that are functional, well-made, and economical.
Canning jars usually come in regular mouth and wide-mouth varieties, and in sizes such as pint, half-pint, and quarts.
3. Canning lids
You’ll need lids that are both in regular mouth or wide mouth to match your jars. Lids are not reusable, except for using as storage lid, after being used in a canner because it may start to rust after a while, ruining your canned food.
4. Canning rack
Canning racks help make the jars ready when raising or lowering from and to the canner. It’s also a crucial thing to use when canning because if the jars touch the bottom of the pot, the glass will break or shatter from the heat.
5. Canning funnel
You need a funnel for easy transferring of food from the mixing bowl, pot, or container to the jars. Use only stainless steel funnel when dealing with hot food and boiling water.
6. Steel ladle
A ladle is used for transferring food into your jars. Like in choosing a funnel, it’s best to pick a stainless steel ladle so it can handle hot foods with no problem.
7. Jar lifter or tongs
To get the jars out of the water pot, you need tongs or jar lifters. Regular kitchen tongs with rubber ends are great for taking out the cans with less possibility of the jar slipping off. Never use purely steel tongs as they can be slippery. But if you’re going to be canning regularly, it’s safer to invest in a jar lifter to make the process easier and safer. Jar lifters have rounded ends coated with rubber that can grab a jar in hot water without slipping.
8. Magnetic lid lifter
A magnetic lid lifter is not a want but a need. It makes it possible for you to pull a hot lid out of the water without burning your fingers.
9. Strainer and food mill
Food mills and strainers will help you grind or puree foods conveniently for canning.
10. Cooling rack
You may probably have cooling racks already in your kitchen, so you may not need to buy one. You need a cooling rack that may fit a regular pot or your canner.
11. Kitchen towels
Canning is a messy job, so you need lots of kitchen towels for it. You need one for wiping the rim of jars, and for cleaning up messes in your countertop.