Canning & preserving supplies

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

What are the absolute essentials you need to start preserving your food at home?

Maybe you’re interested in preserving or you’re just starting out in preserving/canning food for your family. There is a wealth of information available and a lot of products to use and it can make us overwhelmed but what do we really need or where should I start or even I must buy it all!

I hope to help simplify this for you.

If you’re short on space or finances, it doesn’t take all that much to get going. In fact you really just need a few basic items to start canning at home.

Why preserve your own food

This is my personal opinion, one reason I’m pro-canning at home because you get to be in charge of the ingredients! Food should be simple and not full of fillers, junk, or chemicals/preservatives.

What should you preserve first?

I think the easiest foods to preserve are fruit for jams and jellies or salsas and pie fillings.

Tools & Equipment You Need:

-jars and lids: Currently, there’s 3 brands I would use for jars. Ball, Kerr, Weck make jars safe for canning. All other brands, I have personally not tried. But these are the gold standard right now. Weck makes a product where you use clips, rubber gaskets and a glass lid. I love this option because it’s reusable and it reminds me of what my grandparents and great grandparents would have used. All other lids, I use FOR JARS. I’m fact, I have a discount code for you: FLOUR10 helps you to save 10% on all purchases at the FOR JARS website. For Jars is a Christian company making lids in the USA. They have an incredible customer service and I’ve been incredibly happy with this brand.

ladle, funnel, lid wand, jar lifter

-canner: steam canner, water bath canner, pressure canner (WORKHORSE and the BUDGET FRIENDLY options)

-COOKBOOK/RECIPES: I use Pomona’s pectin (linked below) so I prefer THIS book as a resource. If you use any other pectin, you’ll want THIS or THIS book. (Books linked for USA, if you need a different country link, send me a dm HERE.

-PECTIN: I use Pomona’s pectin. I buy it through Azure Standard but you can also find it on Amazon. I like and prefer Pomona’s because you don’t use as much sugar. Most recipes call for equal amounts of sugar to fruit (8 cups of fruit & 8 cups of sugar) when you use PECTIN. Pomonas pectin allows you to do a 4:1 ratio. (4 pounds of fruit to 1 cup sugar). Additionally with Pomonas, you don’t have to use JUST cane (white) sugar. You can use maple syrup or sugar, honey, agave, or coconut sugar. You can also use low calorie sweetner but I steer clear of those. I buy Pomona’s in BULK. You can buy it in a smaller quantity through AZURE or AMAZON. So why less sugar with Pomona’s it’s because of the naturally occurring reaction when you use Pomonas pectin and the calcium water you add. Don’t worry! Pomonas contains both packets of pectin and calcium. You’ll also more than likely need some citrus juice (like lemon or lime)

types of canning/difference in canning methods

Steam canning: steam canners use water in the bottom to boil, create steam that helps to seal jars. This is a super simple explanation but it’s great when you have low processing times (in my opinion under 20 minutes) and uses less water. Steam canners are a bit smaller so you can process a smaller amount of jars. If you’re trying out a recipe or making small batches then the steam canner is a great option.

Waterbath Canning: utilizes water to surround your jars (usually with 1/2-1 inches of water to cover your jars as you process your jars in a rolling boil. Waterbath Canning is the method I grew up with. Water bath canning is safe for high acid foods like jams, jelly, tomatoes, marmalade, pie fillings, sauces (tomato sauce or apple sauce).

pressure canning: pressure canning allows you to preserve low acid foods. This means you can (no pun intended) preserve vegetables (i.e. potatoes, carrots, green beans), meat, stews, soups, broths, etc. Available for pressure canners are the WORKHORSE and BUDGET FRIENDLY models. Pressure canning uses a weight, longer time, and pressure (within the canner) to properly seal jars as well as kill any bacteria present in low acid foods. I love this video from Fiddle Head Acres all about pressure canning and botulism. Lia does an incredible job explaining this topic of food safety.

Ultimately, You need to decide which method is the best for you, your family, and ease of starting out. I personally think waterbath canning is the way to go. Because, you learn by doing. And when you DO, you start to become educated and empowered in what you’re doing.

-YOU CANNOT NOR SHOULD YOU TRY TO PRESERVE DAIRY! there are rebel canners who say you can but please just don’t. If you want to preserve dairy safely, I would HIGHLY suggest you freeze dry it.
Don’t forget to adjust the overall processing TIME! When you read a recipe, it will usually tell you how long to process your jars for. For example, you might read “process your jam for 10 minutes. However, that processing time is set for sea level and canning recipes need to be adjusted for your specific altitude.

Feet Above Sea Level Increase in Processing Time for Waterbath
1,001-3,000 5 minutes
3,001-6,000 10 minutes (this is where I’m at)
6,001-8,000 15 minutes
8,001-10,000 20 min

pressure canners use a weighted gauge. See above

Failure to adjust for elevation could lead to improper sealing or pathogens (bacteria) not being killed off.

-NEVER USE YOUR INSTANT POT, friend this is NOT a pressure canner but a pressure cooker and they’re two very different things.

-NEVER USE SPAGHETTI SAUCE JARS OR RECYCLED GLASS FROM GROCERY STORE FOOD, they’re just not the same as mason jars. DO however use these for leftovers, organizing spices in the pantry or to make pantry soup jars like my friend Steph made.

WHEW! This is a lot of information but I truly hope it breaks down the essentials of what you need, explains the different methods of canning, empowers and encourages you that YOU CAN DO THIS! (pun intended!!)

Share this with your friends as a reminder to safely preserve your food.

follow along for more Simple From Scratch Nourishing Recipes and more food preserving tips @theflouringhome

Comment and let me know your thoughts, preserving questions, and feedback.


Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

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