How to Get Started Canning


Preserving Your Fruits, Vegetables, and Soups by Canning

Like our great grandparents, who preserved their farm and garden produce, many people  preserve by canning. And you can too!

Below I will list and explain all the necessary hardware to can the fruits of your garden labor.

Get Started With Canning Starter Kits

You can buy very highly rated starter kits for canning and then pick up the specialty equipment that the kit may not have included.

I prefer to start out with a good quality starter kit because I can get the basics and then add the fancy equipment, as needed.

Norpro 2478367600456 7-Piece Home Canning Set
Norpro 2478367600456 7-Piece Home Canning Set

All the basics and you can buy your favorite steam-pressure canner.


Boiling Water Canners

First up are the boiling-water canners which are are for boiling water, at 212°F, to can high acid foods. Boiling-water canners come in many varieties and should include a deep enough base to hold the jars, plus 1 to 2 inches of water to cover them.

Preferably the boiling-water canners should be able to hold at least 5 jars, without touching the sides.  It should also include a snug lid and a rack to keep your jars off the bottom.

The most common type are enamel. However, you can also buy very high quality stainless steel.

Granite Ware 21-1/2-Quart Steel/Porcelain
Granite Ware 21-1/2-Quart Steel/Porcelain
All American 921 All-American 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner
All American 921 All-American 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner | Source

Steam Pressure Canners

The most recognizable piece of equipment is the steam-pressure canner. These pressurize-able pots may bring back old stories of food stuck to the cieling of Great grandma's kitchen after having exploded.

Those were the good 'ol days!

But these days are even better!

Modern steam-pressure canners are much, much more safe than the antiques from yesteryear.

Steam pressure canners can reach the desired temperature of 240ºF, which as mentioned will kill the botulism bacteria.

The first thing to understand are the pressure gauges. There are two types, one being a dial gauge and the other a weighted gauge. The dial gauge is most appreciated by those living in high altitude areas, in which a 1/2 pound adjustment is necessary for each 1000 feet above sea level. However, the dial guages must be tested once a year for accuracy. The weighted gauge has three markings; 5 pounds, 10 pounds, and 15 pounds of pressure. It does not need to be tested for accuracy, unless it is damaged. Spend the extra money and buy a weighted gauge. Take care of your weighted gauge and it will take care of you.

The gauges tell you how much pressure is being generated by the steam-pressure canner. The pressure is very important, in that it determines the length of time to boil the jarred ingredients.

The Basic Canning Utensils

Although these are not essential tools, they are designed for canning and make the work much easier.

The most helpful tools are the jar lifter, jar funnel, the bubble remover & headspace tool, and the magnetic lid lifter.

The jar lifter allows you to remove the hot jars safely. These tongs can handle any size jar.

The jar funnel is either plastic or metal and lets you can fill the jars easily. A translucent plastic is usually best because you can see the fill level, which means there is less mess.

The bubble remover & headspace tool is a flexible measuring device for getting the right amount of space at the top of the jar, and it helps you remove bubbles from each jar before boiling.

The magnetic lid lifter (or jar wand) is a simple magnetic wand used to remove lids that have fallen into the hot water.

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Comments 5 comments

Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Great information here about canning options and equipment. I hope to try my hand at it this year. I think I'll try the boiling water type canner for my first time. Thanks for the comparisons. Great Hub.

Hipprintz 5 years ago

Great article, we grow our own veggies and can every year. Thanks for the info

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, this is familiar to me, at least listening to my family, I had a relative that went to live in Vancouver Island in the last century who opened their own canning factory! lol really interesting, thanks nell

tritrain profile image

tritrain 5 years ago from United States Author

@Nell Rose

Canning (preserving foods) is/was especially popular in Canada and the US as a way to preserve food, but began to die out with the decline of farming and the advent of refrigeration. Thankfully it's making a comeback.

@Hipprintz, @Becky Puetz, @Victoria Trix

Thank you!

I hope you give it a try! Boiling-water canning is an excellent way to get started. :)

mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 5 years ago

Great information. I probably need to master growing fruits and vegetables more successfully and in larger quantities before I tackle this though!

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