Food preservation is not hard, but it does require special canning equipment. Learn what basic canning equipment, tools, and supplies you need to replicate our canning results. Canning can seem overwhelming when you first start and more than anything we want you to realize that preserving your own food is not as hard as it may seem.
Canning Basics: Equipment, Tools, and Supplies
Below is a comprehensive list of canning equipment, tools, and supplies which will help you on your food preservation journey. Remember, not all items are necessary for every recipe, but having these items on hand will no doubt create the best (and least stressful) canning season to store up all manner of produce.
Steamer Juicer – A steamer juicer uses steam to remove juice from fruits and vegetables and holds it in a reservoir to be placed into your canning jars through the spout. A Steam Juicer is essentially nesting pots and a lid. Each section plays an important role in collecting juice from your fruits and vegetables.
Pressure Canner – used for canning low acid foods like meat and vegetables. A pressure canner is a large pot that has a lid that locks onto the pot and a dial or weighted gauge that allows you to regulate steam pressure that builds up inside the pot by turning the burner heat up or down. The pressurized steam is much hotter than boiling water.
Boiling Water Bath Canner – used for canning high acid foods like fruit and pickles. A boiling water bath canner is a large pot, with dimensions to hold at least 7-quart jars and allow them to be submerged in water by 1 to 2 inches. The canners usually include a rack with handles to make it easier (and safer) to put the jars in and take them out of the boiling water. Note: Boiling water bath canners DO come in smaller sizes.
Tools and Supplies:
Scale – for weighing recipe items. We prefer a non-digital scale, also known as an Analog or Mechanical scale. These scales are the simplest way to measure weight. They operate on a spring mechanism that doesn’t require batteries and generally feature large foot platforms and easy-to-read dials. One that can be zeroed with a bowl on top is very nice.
Large Bowls – for mixing the larger recipes. Large mixing bowls are extremely useful when collecting your produce or mixing your recipes for multi-jar batches.
Colander – for washing/straining fruits and vegetables.
Canning Jar Funnel – makes it easier to fill your canning jars with foodstuff.
Strainers – used for certain recipes to separate liquids and solids. Often used to remove seeds from jam or to filter out large chunks of byproducts or impurities.
Cheese Cloth – also used for straining foods. A Cheese Cloth is a tightly woven mesh cloth used for fine straining. A Cheese Cloth is frequently used in conjunction with a strainer.
Sieve / Food Mill – similar to a strainer but has a revolving arm that presses out more of the liquid. Commonly used with tomatoes. The Sieve / Food Mill is the perfect tool for preparing homemade jams and jellies, applesauce, tomato purees, creamy sauces, and much more.
Small sauce pan – for boiling lids before using on jars.
Lids – this is the portion that has the rubber gasket and provides the seal of the jar. Canning jar lids come in two types; single use lids and reusable lids with seals.
Rings – the canning jar ring is the portion that goes over the lid and screws onto the jar holding the rubber gasket on until after the seal has been achieved.
Canning Jars – canning jars come in multiple shapes and sizes. Ensure your jars are canning rated. These come in both wide mouth and regular mouth sizes. The most common canning jar sizes are pints and quarts, but there are also half pints, half-gallon, and gallon jars.
Large Ladle – for pouring liquids into jars. I prefer the 8oz size for canning.
Tongs – for moving hot jars and lids.
Lid Magnet – for removing hot lids from boiling water.
Thermometer – for use in certain recipes.
Headspace Measuring Tool– to measure your headspace. (Go figure.) Headspace is the amount of space you leave from the food to the top of the jar. The backside of the headspace measuring tool is for moving food around in the jar and release trapped air bubbles.
Jar Lifter – for lifting jars into and out of the canners. (Surprised?)
Chopsticks – can be very helpful for moving food around inside a hot jar and releasing air pockets.
Strawberry Corer – for removing cores from strawberries.
Cherry Pitter – for removing pits from cherries. (Essential if you are planning on canning a lot of cherries.
Apple corer, slicer, peeler – (Do we really need to say anything?) The name says it all. This tool is amazing when processing apples.
Corn Stripper – for removing corn off the cob. A mandolin slicer is also useful for this purpose.
Not all items on this list are needed at once, but if you have them you will be able to readily store up food items for long-term storage.