Excerpt from the Popular Kitchen Series magabook Canning & Preserving with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, an division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Canning & Preserving here.
Here’s what you need to have in your kitchen before you begin canning.
- A pot with a lid: for processing high-acid foods with a pH level of 4.6 or less, such as fruits and pickles, via the boiling-water canning method
- A canning rack: to keep the canning jars in place in the canning pot
- A pressure canner: for processing low-acid foods that have a pH level of 4.6 or more, such as vegetables and meat
- Jars, lids and screw bands: You can reuse screw bands and jars, but always use new lids. The seals on jar lids are not meant to be processed more than once. Inspect the jar rims for nicks or chips that could prevent sealing.
- A stock pot: for sterilizing jars, lids and screw bands in boiling water before canning
- A wide-mouth funnel: for pouring food into jars. You’ll want a wide-mouthed funnel made of metal or ceramic so it can be sterilized.
- Jar-lifting tongs: for removing the hot processed jars from the canner
- Small tongs: for removing lids and screw bands from boiling water once they have been sterilized for use
Useful but optional items include a timer and labels. You can time the processing with a clock or watch, but the timer’s signal is a safeguard against losing track of the minutes and over-processing. Although you can write directly on the jars or lids with a pen, labels add a decorative touch to jars of food that might be given as gifts