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Water bath canning is the simplest type of preserving as it only requires a few items (the correct jars and a pot that’s big enough to hold the jars safely in boiling water). If you're just getting started with this method of canning, Williams Sonoma's Multi-Use Waterbath Canner is a great product to start off with.
A temperature gauge in the lid shows the correct temperature for canning at different altitudes, and the lid is clear so you can monitor the canning without lifting the lid. The included rack makes lowering and lifting the jars easy, and it can be reversed for steaming. And, because the pot is made from stainless steel, it can be used as a stockpot when you’re cooking in large quantities.
While you can use a water bath canner for pickles or tomatoes, a pressure canner is required for non-acidic foods like soups, meats, and non-acidic vegetables. This canner from Presto, one of only two brands recommended for pressure canning by the National Center for Home Food Preservation, is made from heavy-gauge aluminum and has a deluxe dial pressure gauge for easy control and proper canning.
It also has an air vent, cover lock, and rack—three other necessary features of pressure canners. At 23 quarts, this canner handles large batches of 24 half-pints, 20 pints, or seven quarts. And of course, it can be used as a standard stockpot or a water bath canner.
If you already have a large enough pot to hold your canning jars, you don’t need to buy a separate water bath canner. All you need is a rack, like this one, that keeps the jars off the bottom of the pot and keeps them from crashing into each other as the water boils.
The rack is reversible, so you can flip it one way to hold 4-quart jars, or flip it the other way to hold 7 pint or half-pint jars. Even better, it can be stacked so you can have two layers of jars, as long as your pot is tall enough to hold all of them underwater. The rack is 10 1/4 inches in diameter so fits most 16-quart or larger pots, and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
If you’re talking to anyone about canning, the Ball brand is likely to come up, since they’ve been in the business for over 100 years and make a wide variety of canning supplies. These pint jars are handy for everything from pickles to salsa, since they’re not too small for most foods, and not so big that food will spoil if you can’t use it fast enough after it’s opened. The wide-mouth size makes filling easy, and they come with rings and lids so you’ll be ready for canning. The pint size is also handy for other food storage, as casual drinking glasses, and for taking lunch to work. Ball also makes jars in a variety of other sizes.
When it’s time to remove hot jars from a deep pot filled with hot water, you’ll need something better than oven mitts, and obviously Ball knows all about jars and how to handle them. This jar lifter makes it easy to put the jars into the hot water and to take them out when they’re done processing. It offers a firm, sure grip on the jars so you won’t worry about dropping them and has a comfortable top grip. The spring-loaded hinge opens automatically, so it’s easy to let go of the jars once they’re in their proper place, so you can use this lifter one-handed.
Before you start canning, the jars, rings, and lids should be sterilized. It’s simple to do, as you just boil them in your canning pot before you start filling. However, retrieving the lids and rings can be tricky since they’re hard to grab with tongs or other tools, but this magnetic lifter makes it simple. Just let the magnet do its work to grab the metal. To release the lids without touching the hot metal, just tilt the lifter to remove the lid from the magnet’s grip. This lifter comes at a bargain price, so if you lose it at the back of your gadget drawer, it’s easy to replace.
It’s important to keep your jar rims clean, so you get a tight, reliable seal. A funnel makes the job much easier since it keeps you from splashing food onto the rims when you fill the jars. This funnel does much more than a basic model since it has extra features that canners will love. It not only protects the rim of the jar, but the double-wall construction also helps protect the outside of the jar if you get a little sloppy. In between batches, you can set this on the counter and only the outer wall will touch the counter, while the inner portion is safely above the surface. Sure, it can still drip onto your counter, but you won’t be contaminating the funnel’s mouth with previous drips on the counter. It fits both wide-mouth and narrow-mouth canning jars and has measurements so you can see if your jars are filled properly.
Best Canning Cookbook: Ball Canning Back to Basics: A Foolproof Guide to Canning Jams, Jellies, Pickles, and More
Sure, you can find cookbooks with complicated and unusual recipes, but sometimes all you want is the basics, and that’s exactly what this book provides. The recipes are deemed foolproof, so new canners can be confident that their salsa will be safe and their pickles will be perfectly delicious. This has 100 recipes, so there’s plenty for everyone.
If your canning projects include fermenting—making sauerkraut, kimchee, or fermented pickles—it’s important to keep the food below the level of the liquid during the fermentation period. These glass weights are perfect for that, but they can also be useful for other canning when you’re working with fruits and vegetables tend to float. The ridged top makes it easier to grab the weight when it’s time to retrieve it. This includes six weights that are designed to fit wide-mouth canning jars.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
From pickles to salsa, cookbook author and The Spruce Eats writer Donna Currie knows her way around canning jars. She’s made her own sauerkraut, preserved batches of lemons, and whipped up jams and jellies, so she knows which canning supplies are handy to have, and how to find the best quality picks.