Thursday, June 10, 2010

Canning: What You'll Need (It's not as much as you think)

If your excuse not to can anything this summer is that it's too hard or that you don't want to buy tons of canning equipment, I've got good (or bad, if you're looking for an excuse not to can :-)) news for you.

1) Canning is not hard.

2) You do not need tons of special stuff.

3) I'm going to show you exactly how to do it.

There are basically 5 things you will need and that's ALL.  This is what we have and we manage just fine to put up plenty.  Here is what you will need...

1) Canning jars.  These are jars made for canning (hence the name).  Used mayonnaise jars don't count.  Having some of different sizes (quart jars, pint jars and jelly jars) is nice.  Some jars have regular mouths (or openings) and some have wide mouths (which are larger than regular mouths).  Wide mouth jars are handy if you are packing peaches or dill pickle spears so you can reach your hand down in there and not squish the fruit or veggies.  You do not need both sizes.

 (Right picture)  Regular mouth jar on left, wide mouth jar in right.

2) New lids with rings that fit the size jars you have.  They sell regular lids and rings and wide mouth lids and rings.  Lids are only used once.  Rings are taken off when the canning process is complete and can be used over and over.  If they show signs of rust- pitch 'em.

3) A large pot (that you can fill with water up to the neck of a quart canning jar) or canner (we are not talking pressure canner here).

Large pot (on the left).  Most canners (on the right) don't look like this one.  This one was my Grammie's.

4) Jar lifter.  You hold the end with the black handles and use the other end to lift your jars into and out of your canner.

5) Jar funnel to fit a regular jar mouth (it will also fit a wide mouth).

If you are going to use a big pot instead of a canner, you'll also need a dish towel.  You'll also need a few paper towels or disposable napkins and a ladle.  But, I'm guessing that if you're contemplating learning to can you already have a dish towel and some paper towels or napkins and a ladle lying around.  Just a hunch.

That's it, my dears.  Don't be scared.  If you'd like to can some things with me this summer, get what you don't have and meet me back here.

Don't go far- I will post Canning Prep & Method later this afternoon! Pin It


  1. Wow, I love your Grammie's canner, that's really something. I must say that even though I put it off for years and years learning to can was one of the smartest moves I ever made. Excellent always.

  2. What do you think of the Tattler re-usable canning lids? I've been thinking about them b/c I dislike buying new lids every year (and new bands when they get rusty).

  3. Mr. H, Thanks so much- it means so much coming from folks as experienced as you:-).

    Stephanie, I can't wait until I can afford to try them. When I do, I will most definitely write about my experience. I agree, reusable lids sound wonderful- I just want to try them first before I sing their praises to make sure they are as great as they sound:-).

  4. I am taking the challenge. You were kind enough to answer my questions when i emailed you last month - and once i get through this move - watch out canning jars HERE I COME.

  5. Thy Hand and Stephanie: I reuse the metal lids as long as they don't have any rust spots on them or are dented. Sometimes a lid will get reused many times before it goes bad and sometimes (if it was used for dill pickles or something super acidic) is gets thrown out after 1 or 2 uses. I know this is not recommended but I just thought I'd let you know that it has worked for me for the last 4 years, and I can a LOT. Also, the rings can still be used if they are rusty...just smear a little oil on them and they glide on like new! Of course, who wants an extra step in the canning process when you are sweating bullets in that 101 degree kitchen?!

  6. Love to can or should I say I love looking at my shelves filled with good things to eat that we canned! Sometimes the canning part isn't always fun! It seems it always comes all at once.

    My husband has taught me how to can - I love that! He canned growing up, a lot! They lived off their land too. He often says canning has become a lost art.

    I saw the comment about re-usable canning lids - hmmm that is a novel idea.

    Love that pan of your Grammie's. I have never seen one like that. My husband's uncle gave us all the supplies we would need to can when we were first married. He had accumulated them over time from thrift stores, yard sales. I think if you look around enough you can get supplies pretty cheap. I am sure there are a lot of basements, garages, and attics filled with old canning jars and supplies.

    Look forward to reading more about your adventures with canning! :)

  7. I notice your canners are sitting on a ceramic top stove. Is that the stove you use for canning? I have a ceramic top (that came with the house, and I haven't used it for heavy canning (just a few jars of jams) because I'd been told that the ceramic can't support the weight of a huge canner of liquid. Have you ever heard this? I WISH to can big time, and had been considering getting an electric stove for the basement, just for that.

  8. Ashley, I do all my canning on my ceramic top stove. I do make sure to use a flat bottomed canner because I've read that the flat top stoves have a hard time giving even heat to canners without flat bottoms. I've been canning on my stove (using a two-burner canner) for the six years we've been here without trouble. That's been my experience. I hesitate to recommend it for everyone, because I imagine ceramic tops are different and I would hate to be the reason someone's stove top cracks. I hope this has been helpful!:-)

  9. this will be my first year canning...ever!!! I was there anything you have to use a pressure cooker to can? I have to say those things are a bit intimidating and the whole canning process has me a bit befuddled lol.

    1. Yes, there are certain things that you need a pressure canner for. You don't need one for canning fruits, tomato projects (that are almost entirely tomatoes), jams, and items that have a lot of vinegar, like pickles. Look online or pick up a canning book to be sure you're canning things properly. I don't use a pressure canner, so everything on here has been canned without one. Vegetables other than tomatoes and all meats need a pressure canner. Good luck- you'll do great!!

  10. I have been trying to get up my nerve to can for about 6 years! I was so fearful of a pressure cooker. But, unless I skimmed and misunderstood, looks like I can use a large pot. Ok, I know you seasoned canners are laughing and I am laughing with mother never canned, although my nana did and I really want to teach my children to be more self sufficient that I am....wish me luck ladies! Kimberly

    1. Good luck! You can do it! Just remember, some things must be pressure-canned but all the canning recipes on here do not:-).


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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