Eating food that you have canned yourself is healthy since you are in control of the ingredients. You also determine the ingredients to add and the proportion you wish. For instance, if you do not like excess sugar, you will add your favorable quantity.
“As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through links in this post”
To do this, you need to know the equipment and ingredients required. If you are wondering, “What Do I Need to Start Canning” this article will get you started.
What Equipment Do I Need to Start Canning
These are the necessary tools that you will use to prepare a canning recipe. Some of them are readily available while others may need to be purchased.
1. Canning Jars, Lids and Rims
Canning jars, lids and rims are essential for pickling, preserving and storing. These jars, commonly known as mason jars, are readily available and are of different shapes. Some have a regular mouth and some have a wide mouth.
The regular mouth jars are small in size and measure between 4oz to 32oz. They are suitable for liquids that can be poured such as soup.
Wide mouth mason jars can measure up to half a gallon. They are suitable for canning whole vegetables and meat due to their large size. The wide mouth also makes these jars easy to clean. Jars and lids are sometimes sold separately. Therefore, make sure you have both.
2. Water Bath Canner
The water bath canner is kettle like and necessary for canning. Fruits and vegetables with high acidity are placed into jars and heated to a food temperature over 212 degrees Farenheit.
Once the jars are removed from the water bath canner and cooled, a vacuum seal is created, thereby safely preserving the contents. Make sure that you also have a canning rack useful in stabilizing your jars and prevent them from cracking while at the bottom of the pot.
3. Pressure Cooker/ Canner
The water bath canner works to preserve foods like pickles, fruits and jams. However, food with low acidity such as meat, corn and poultry will require a pressure canner. Many pressure canners will also double as a water bath canner so you may not necessarily need to purchase both.
Related: Best Pressure Cooker for Beans
4. Jar Lifter
You will need a jar lifter to place or remove your jars from hot water in a pot. It is coated with rubber at its grip to help you set and lift out the jars without getting burned. They make work more comfortable since the spring-loaded hinge can open automatically and slowly place the jars at the place you want them to be.
5. Stir Stick or Chopstick
A stir stick is used to get rid of air bubbles from a jar before you can seal it. You need to slide the stir stick down on the inside edges of the jar to eliminate the bubbles.
Chopsticks can be used as an alternative. You can also purchase an official bubble popper that will help you to get rid of bubbles in your food.
6. Wide-Mouth Funnel
It is essential while transferring liquids and sticky substances. The reason why they need to be wide is so that they can accommodate all kinds of foods. The best one to use is a stainless steel funnel since it does not wear out quickly, especially when used in excessive heat.
7. Sharp Knives
Sharp knives are another item you will need to begin canning. They are used to prepare canning food and to cut parts that you do not want in vegetables or fruits. Chef’s knives are more preferred.
8. Magnetic Lid Lifter
If you are an excellent canner, you can attest that this tool makes canning more fun. You can avoid getting burned by lifting your lids from hot with a magnet. You can also use it to make the whole process sterile.
9. Squeeze Strainer
At some point, you will need to separate a liquid from the pulp. This tool helps you to squeeze the juice out of a fruit so that you have a liquid and the sauce separate.
10. Slotted Spoon
A slotted spoon is useful when you want to drain liquid from pieces of fruits or tomatoes. Its purpose is similar to sieving and can also be used to serve canned fruits and vegetables.
What Ingredients Will I Need to Start Canning Food?
Apart from the above pieces of equipment, you will also need ingredients necessary in canning recipes. Of course, you will need the food you would like to can but you also will need the following pantry items in your canning process.
Pectin is useful when you want to get a thick paste from a fruit, and you can use it in jams and jellies. Some fruits such as apples, oranges and plums have enough pectin so you won’t need to add any more. If you wish to buy pectin for canning, it is available in powder and liquid form.
2. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is essential to provide the necessary acidity that is required in food preservation, especially when one is using a water bath canner. However, it is advisable to use bottled lemon juice since its acidity is regulated.
Alternatively, you can buy and use citric acid, which is a powder-like for the same purpose. Vinegar and apple cider can also be used to achieve a particular acidity level.
3. Sugar or Honey
The primary purpose of sugar or honey is to sweeten jams and jellies. At some point, you will need to sweeten your canning recipe so that it has a sweet flavor or for preservation purposes. Also, sugar is important in the gelling process.
4. Color Enhancers
Once you have preserved your food, with time, it can change its color, yet it is perfectly fine. No one is going to want food that is not attractive; the same way food without a flavor is not pleasant. Using color enhancers will ensure that the food has a beautiful color that makes one want to eat it.
Salt helps to add flavor to food. You will realize that in most of your canning, you will not need salt. Apart from adding a flavor, salt is a preservative since it inhibits the survival of some bacteria and also promotes the growth of others.
Some foods, such as fruits and vegetables, will not require salt. However, some of your canning recipes, particularly sauerkraut and pickles will require salt.
However, be careful about the type of salt you use. Table salt is ok for most canning but not recommended as it contains anti-caking additives that may leave sediments at the bottom of the jar and cause the contents to become dark. For this reason, canning salt is recommended.
Now that you know what equipment you need for canning, you’ve made the first step to taking control of the quality of the foods in your pantry.
If you are a beginner in canning, it is great if you have someone experienced to help you measure the appropriate quantities of canning ingredients and take you through the entire process. If not, there are many books available that will have you canning like a pro in no time!