Over the past 10 years, I’ve started canning and freezing as much as I can during the summer months. Canning seemed like a very old fashioned and intimidating prospect when I first began, but I’ve come to learn canning can be simple and rewarding if you have the right tools.
Home canning is a great way to keep your pantry stocked with healthy foods all year long. But if you’re new to canning, it can be tough to know where to start.
I’ll share with you the best products for canning at home that I’ve personally used. I’ll also provide some tips on how to get started with this fun and rewarding hobby!
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Why consider canning at home
There are plenty of reasons to start canning at home, but here are a few of the most important.
- For one, you’ll be able to save money by stocking your pantry with canned goods. Now, if you have to buy most of your supplies to get started, then you may certainly feel like you’re spending more.
- Canning allows you to control the ingredients in your food, which is great if you have food allergies, prefer to eat organic, or simply want to know what’s in your food.
- Canning is a skill that is making a big come back in popularity. Not because it’s trendy, but because people are starting to wake up to realize these are skills that may be even more necessary in the coming years.
- Variety- if you’re canning at home, you’ll be able to make jams, jellies, and a variety of other fun things that you simply can’t find at the store.
If you’re looking for more information on freezing as a method of preserving at home, check out my post all about my Freezer Preserving Favorites!
The best products you need to get started canning at home
There are of course lots of extras and fun items that can be used for canning, but if you’re just starting to learn and want the basics, here’s what you’ll need. Note, there are two different types of canners listed here. One for water bath canning and one for pressure canning. Scroll down further for the helpful, but maybe not needed at the very start, list.
- Jars: You can use any size mason jars that you like, depending on what you’ll be canning. I prefer to use the half-pint, pint, and quart size. (I personally use Ball, but use what you have on hand!)
- Lids and rings: These are specially made for canning and the lids CANNOT be reused. The rings can be saved and used multiple times. Canning lids and rings can be found at most stores that sell canning supplies or online. (Find lids and rings here.)
- Jar Lifter/Tongs: Used for handling hot jars; because you do not want to stick your hand in hot water to get jars out. (I love this one made by Ball.)
- Canning pot/Canner: For water bath canning, this is a special pot with a canning rack that fits inside and is used to process jars. You can also use a large pot with a trivet fitted in the bottom. The important note is jars cannot sit at the bottom of a pot while processing; they need to be elevated. Water bath canning is used for pickles, preserves, and various other recipes. Note: this canner cannot be used on glass cooktops. (Find a canner here.)
- Pressure Canner: For pressure canning, this is a special canner that locks closed and has a weight on top to control the pressure inside. This is used for canning meats, vegetables, and some fruits.
- Canning Funnel: This has a wide opening at the end, instead of the typical small funnel spout. This is perfect for getting food into the jars without making a mess all over the outside of the jars. (Find one here.)
- Ladle: Another way to get food into the jars, but can also be used for removing air bubbles from the filled jars Jar
- Sharpie: Trust me, you definitely want to mark your jars with dates and contents. All of my pickles start to look the same after a while, and I don’t want a bread and butter chip when what I was going for was dill.
- Full Kit: Presto has a full 7-piece canning kit that comes with tongs, funnel, timer, and more!
Helpful but not essential canning supplies
If you happen to have spare change laying around, or are really intimidated by pressure canning, but really want to try it, then some of these canning extras may be for you.
- Electric pressure/water bath canner: I was able to order one through my husband’s job, and I love it. It really takes all of the work out of pressure canning. Think of an instant pot, but bigger. It can pressure can up to 8 pint jars at a time and 5 quart jars, giving you the freedom to walk away. This pot also water bath cans, bonus!
- Paper labels: I prefer just writing on the lid in sharpie, but if you’re going to gift others with your canning goods, then consider pretty write-on labels.
- Canning Cookbook: There are plenty of free places to look online for canning recipes, but if you’d like to have a guide or two on hand, then I recommend:
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
- The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves (I love this book, as she doesn’t use store bought pectin, instead uses lemon/lemon juice for its natural pectin.)
- Foolproof Preserving (small batch canning by America’s Test Kitchen)
Favorite Canning Recipes
If you need some recipe inspiration as you embark on your canning journey, here are a few of my favorites:
- Zucchini Ginger Preserves
- Quick and Easy Dill Pickles
- How to Can Carrots (Practical Self Reliance)
- How to Can Green Beans the Easy Way (Melissa K Norris)
I hope all of this info helps you along your way to learn how to can or to take your canning even further! Drop a comment below if you have more recipes or recommendations for us. Happy Gardening!
Friday 22nd of July 2022
Just got my first pressure cooker so I was excited to see this. Been water canning, but can do more now! Wish me
Monday 25th of July 2022
Good luck! It'll be great!