Before beginning to can at home, it is important to have the right equipment on hand. There are two types of homemade canning: boiling water canning and high pressure canning. However, aside from the style of pans used for canning, the rest of the supplies are identical.
Essential Supplies Needed for Canning
The following are the supplies and equipment you will need to successfully can meats and produce at home:
Pressure canner Or Dutch oven
Large kettle to pre-boil equipment in
Proper canning jars
Wide mouth funnel
Heat proof rubber spatulas
Different sized bowls
Bakers cooling rack
Filtered water (preferably also distilled)
Food to can
Waterproof labels and label marker
Use the Right Kind of Canner
A boiling canner is used for high-acid foods such as fruits, jams, tomatoes, pickles, relishes, preserves, and tomato based salsa and sauces. High-acid foods only need to be brought up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of boiling water, for the specific time specified in the recipe.
A high-pressure canner is used for low-acid foods such as vegetables, meats, grains, noodles, and low acid sauces. These low-acid foods need to be brought to a temperature of 240 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit for the time specified in the recipe.
With either type of canning, it is important to carefully follow the directions for the type of food being canned to ensure quality and food safety.
The Importance of the Right Jars and Lids
It is important to only use jars purchased for canning. Standard canning jars are tempered, and the mouth is specially threaded for canning at home. Do not reuse jars which originally housed store-bought foods, these are not tempered for the canning process and may crack or explode when boiled or pressure canned or even while being handled.
Use flat lids with screw bands made specifically for the brand of canning jars purchased. Do not reuse the flat lid part or reused jar lids from store-bought foods as these may not seal properly and will allow bacteria and spoilage of the food canned.
Carefully inspect the jars for chips or cracks, especially around the rim of the mouth and discard any cracked or chipped jars. Also, carefully inspect the lids for rust or damage and discard any lids with cracks in the rubber seal, a non-existent rubber seal, rust, dings or bends. These lids may not seal correctly and allow for food spoilage.
Other Canning Equipment Needed
When purchasing other canning equipment, use products that are made for home canning, especially when it comes to the pan inserts used to keep the jars upright and the tongs used to remove hot jars from the pans. Not having essential equipment can cause the jars to fall over during the canning process and get water in them. Not having the proper jar tongs can lead to burns or dropped and broken jars.
Other than purchasing replacement jars for broken or chipped jars and purchasing new flat-lids, the rest of the equipment is a one-time purchase and is really an investment. Once purchased, it can be reused multiple times.
Getting the proper equipment before beginning the homemade canning process is indeed a must to save time and money.
Want to learn how to preserve your own food through the home canning method?
With the costs of canned food rising, and the urge to be self-sufficient by growing, home canning is making a resurgence in today's society. Homemade canning is a most enjoyable experience to save money and eat healthier.
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