Thursday, June 5, 2014

What Do You Need To Start Canning Your Own Food?

Canning, by and far, is one of the easiest things I know how to do. That may be because I steer away from complicated recipes, but I find it so rewarding to pick food from my garden or trees and preserving it myself. Many people are overwhelmed by canning, but with a few good pieces of equipment you can do it too.

Canning is not fancy if you choose it not to be, but some basic equipment is necessary. I got a lot of my canning equipment from my mom and garage sales. I got a lot of jars from my grandmas and friends. You do not have to drop a lot of money on canning unless you want to. The list below is what I consider the essentials of canning. This is all I use to can.

The Essentials:

1. Jars. I use half-pint, pint, and quart jars. The half-pints I use for butters, jams, and jellies. The pints and quarts I use for just about everything else. I have a tendency to can using portion and meal size for my family.

2. Lids and Rings. You will need many more lids than rings. I started out buying a quite a few lid and rings kits. Now I buy mostly lids unless I have rings starting to rust.

3. Water Canner. You want one that will hold at least 6-7 quart jars. You also want one that has a canning rack to hold the jars still in the canner.

4. Pressure Canner. You will need a pressure canner to can low-acid foods to make them safe to eat later. There are many options out there, but like the water canner you will want one that holds at least 6-7 quart jars and comes with a canning rack.

5. A Canning Kit. This kit includes a jar lifter, a lid lifter, an air bubble tool,  and a funnel. I went a few years without this kit and, trust me, this kit comes in handy. Very handy.

6. Canning Books. I highly recommend a good canning resource book. I use my Ball Blue Book all the time. I also use my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook a lot for recipes.

Another great resources is At Home Canning and Beyond by Kendra Lynne from A New Life on the Homestead! 

That is it! Canning doesn't look that intimidating now, doesn't it? You can do this!

Thanks for reading!


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