Preserving and Canning Equipment

Saving the best of seasonal produce to eat at another time of year is the key to great local eating all year round. Get started with this equipment list.

  • 01 of 10

    Waterbath Canner & Rack

    Making Plum Jam - Jars After the Boiling Water Bath
    RonBailey / Getty Images

    A stock pot or other large pot can be used instead of a canning kettle, and rolls of tin foil can stand in for the canning rack, but if you think you'll process more than 1 batch of jam or preserves or pickles a year, having a water bath canner and fitted rack makes life infinitely easier.

  • 02 of 10

    Jar Lifter

    Womans hands inserting beetroot preserves jar into saucepan
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    A jar lifter helps move hot jars around smoothly and easily. Regular kitchen tongs are an inadequate and dangerous substitute.

  • 03 of 10

    Wide-Mouth Funnel

    Preparing Homemade Cooked Cherries and Canning in Jars
    GMVozd / Getty Images

    A wide-mouth funnel to match wide-mouth jars keeps as much of your jams or pickles in the jar, not on the counter.

  • 04 of 10

    Lid Wand

    Canning lid wand
    Amazon.com

    While not absolutely necessary, a lid wand will help move and secure sterilized lids without burns or contamination.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Half-Pint Jars & Lids

    Half pint jar
    Amazon.com

    We vastly prefer wide-mouth jars for all my canning and preserving. They're easier to fill and easier to empty. What size jars you buy depends on the recipe you're using, which will usually specify jar size. If you have a choice, half-pint jars are great for chutneys and jams, particularly if you plan on giving jars away (you get more per batch!).

  • 06 of 10

    Pint Jars & Lids

    Canned beans on table
    Sidekick / Getty Images

    Pint jars are those most frequently used by home canners. They're perfect for Pickled Green Beans, Brandied Cherries, and Marinated Baby Artichokes, and any chutney or jam you know you like and plan to keep for your own use.

  • 07 of 10

    Quart Jars & Lids

    Preserving jar of gherkins with mustard seeds, fennel seeds and dill
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Quart jars are for serious canners or those making cucumber pickles. As with all canning jars, we prefer these wide-mouth versions over old-fashioned regular-mouth models.

  • 08 of 10

    Quilted Crystal Jars & Lids

    Quilted jar
    Amazon.com

    These are the pretty "jelly jars" you see at State fairs and at grandma's house. They have a lovely, homey, old-fashioned appeal.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Extra Lids

    Assortment of empty canning jars on table
    Hero Images / Getty Images

    Jars are endlessly reusable, whereas lids need to be replaced. Having extras around and ready to go is handy.

    Note: When you buy wide-mouth jars the lids fit all sizes - half-pint, pint, and quart.

  • 10 of 10

    Canning Kit

    Preparing Homemade Strawberry, Blueberry and Raspberry Jam and Canning in Jars
    GMVozd / Getty Images

    Ball Company makes a nice "Home Canning Kit" that contains all the basics, plus a booklet on how to can and a "bubble freer" if you would need to buy all the items listed here.

    Be forewarned: The kit comes with 6 pint jars. Pint jars are the size we use the most frequently (as do most canners), but if you don't plan to use them, buying the necessary items separately may make more sense.