It is that time of the year that we are seeing lots of produce ready for harvest in our gardens, community gardens or farmers markets. Knowing the proper canning method and equipment needed to preserve the produce for your family is important.
When putting food up using a canning method there are some specific types of tools and equipment that you will need:
- You do not need a special piece of equipment to preserve jams, jellies, pickles, or canned fruit.
- You will need a large stockpot with a tight-fitting lid.
- The stockpot must be deep enough to accommodate a rack underneath the jars and have room for 1 to 2 inches of boiling water above the jars.
- If you are using an electric stove the bottom of the stockpot must have a flat smooth surface.
- Pressure canners come in 2 variety’s: dial gauge and weighted.
- Dial gauge canners should be tested before their first use and yearly for accuracy.
- Pressure canners must be large enough to hold 4-quart jars.
- Pressure canners are used to preserve vegetables, beans, fish, and meat.
- A rack sits on the bottom of your canner for your jars to sit on.
- This allows the water to boil without moving the jars.
- You can purchase a dedicated rack or fashion one from your own canning rings.
- Mason jars are preferred with a two-part lid system.
- Jars may be reused if they are clean and free from cracks or chips.
- Lids and Rings
- It is recommended to use a two-part lid system that includes a ring and a self-sealing lid.
- The self-sealing lids can only be used one time for processing.
- The ring or screw bands can be used repeatedly if they are not dented, deformed or rusty.
- Jar Lifter is a tool that is dedicated to grasping jars, moving jars in and out of boiling water.
- Funnel is used to put produce into the canning jars.
- Bubble Freer is used to remove the air bubbles from the produce in the jar.
- Ruler or plastic head space tool for accurately measuring headspace
Tested recipes are canning recipes from trusted resources that have been properly tested for safety. These tested recipes provide adjustments needed for high altitude/elevation. Some sources for tested recipes are the National Center for Home Food Preservation, Preserve Smart, So Easy to Preserve or the Ball Blue Book. You can also contact your local Extension Office for assistance in locating a tested recipe or to ask about more questions about food preservation.