It’s TIME! If you want food in your pantry and freezer for the fall, winter, and spring, you’ve got to be thinking about it NOW! I want to share with you some of the tools that I have for canning and preserving. You’ll want to have the appropriate tools on hand. You don’t want to wait until the day you get fresh berries to figure out what tools you need. Berries only have a short window of freshness, and you will need to make something out of them quickly. You don’t have time to go shopping and search for the perfect tools while the berries wait on your counter to be processed.
A Water Bath Canner
If you are only going to can jams and tomato products, you won’t need a pressure canner, a water bath canner is all you need. Just be careful that you aren’t using hybrid tomatoes, because they are bred for low acidity and you may end up with moldy salsa and ketchup. 🙁
To start canning, this is the main tool you need: a water bath canner.
A Pressure Canner
If you want to preserve green beans or other low-acid foods without subjecting your family to a potential case of botulism, you will want to use a pressure canner. There are various sizes of pressure canners, and they fit different quantities of jars in them. If you plan to do a lot of canning, you might want to get the largest model (41 1/2 quarts)!
A jar lifter
Of course, if you’re pulling jars out of boiling water, you’ll want a tool to help you! The jar lifter was made just for this purpose!
The first year I canned, I didn’t think I needed this very basic tool. Let me tell you–you do! Pouring hot jams and sauces into jars is difficult. If you aren’t absolutely accurate, you will waste some of your awesome recipe by spilling it all over your counter…or down your counter, all over the cupboards, and onto the floor….Trust me, you need a funnel!
If you don’t already own a decent ladle, you’ll want to get one. Once you make your sauce or jam, you will want a way to get it into the jars quickly. This kind of ladle is super nice because it is easy to pour from.
A Jelly Strainer
You can get a stainless steel jelly strainer, or a cheaper version with a cloth bag on it. Either way, it’s a handy tool if you’re working with fruits that contain seeds or skins that you don’t want to end up in your finished product.
Of course, you’ll need jars! You can often pick these up at garage sales or from friends. You’ll need to wash them and then sterilize them by heading them up in boiling hot water. And make sure that you have brand new lids that have never been sealed before. This is critical, not optional! You don’t want your hard work to go to waste with moldy jam!
You can get super cute labels, basic labels, or simply use a sharpie. Whichever method you choose, you’ll want to mark your bottles so that you know what they contain. You don’t want to be opening mystery jars in January, when you’ve long-forgotten what exactly you canned the summer before!