With summer starting to wrap up, and the garden harvest in full swing, it's nigh time to break out the canning supplies and start canning that summer harvest. For many folks who can, it's been a family tradition for years and years, and there are those who were introduced to canning by someone who already had all the supplies. But, to those of you who have not canned or it has been years since your last canning experience, knowning where to start and what you need to start can both be a rather daunting task. Well, you're in luck, sit back, take a few minutes to read below and you'll know both where to start and some basic supplies to get started.
First thing first. There are two main methods of canning: Water Bath and Pressure.
Water Bath canning is by far the easiest to approach for a beginner or someone a bit out of practice, and it tends to be the most affordable. This kind of canning is more for your jams, jellies, salsa, pickles; foods high in acidity.
Pressure canning is more for foods that require a higher temperature to be safe. Some examples would be meats, fish, green beans, other vegatables, etc. You do need a special pressure canner to achieve the 240 degrees required for this method of canning.
Since water bath canning tends to be the easier of the two, we'll focus on that one.
- Jars - Size and style depends on what it is you are canning. There are wide-mouth and regular jars. Wide-mouth tends to make the process of filling the jars easier and less messy.
- Rings & Lids - The rings can be reused. However, the lids should really only be used once to ensure a clean and full seal when you can.
Photo by Mel's Kitchen Cafe
- Pot - There are a lot of canning pots out there. Depending on how much canning you plan on doing, and your stove, will dictate the size of pot. Most pots are large enough to fit 7 quart-size jars and about the same pint-size jars.
- Funnel, jar tongs, magnet stick - Any kind of funnel will work. This helps eliminate the mess of filling the jars. The jar tongs will keep your fingers from getting roasted when getting the jars out of the water bath after they seal. The magnet stick is a handy tool to help in getting the lids that sit in the hot water to place on the jars.
Photo by Mel's Kitchen Cafe
- Stove - Many people opt to use their household stove, which is fine. The downside is that it does take a bit more time to heat the water and between it and the steam from the waterbath, makes for an extrememly hot house. We recommend using an outdoor stove like a Camp Chef Expeidition 2X or Tahoe. Both stoves have the ability to produce nearly three times the heat your household stove can do so heating the water will go much faster. Plus, it's outside, so you don't heat up your whole house and if you make a mess, it's outside instead of on your kitchen floor.
- Pectin - This particularly comes in handy if your doing jams or jellies. Pectin allows you to do jams and jellies with less sugar and can help reduce the cook time of the jam or jelly.
All right, you now know the tools you need, and a bit more about canning than you did just a few minutes ago. Now for the important part...how to can. For that we have some help from Mel of Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Check our her step-by-step process on water bath canning below. For the Jalapeno Jelly recipe, click here.
Leading image from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, used with permission.