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Top 10 Home Canning Supplies & Tools

By About Chef Austin Chef Austin


Top Canning Supplies & Accessories

 

Whether you're pressure canning fresh snapped green beans or lowering a mess of jam jars down into the water bath canner, there are certain tools that are going to make the job of canning much faster and easier. Everything Kitchens has what you need to get canning. We've compiled a list of things that you'll need to get canning from the necessary tools to handle hot jars to tools that will make prep work an efficient production line. 



Top 10 Essential Tools & Supplies for Home Canning


 

There are tools that are universal to all canning methods. If you're either using the water bath method of canning or the pressure canning method, these essential tools for home canning will save time and effort in the kitchen. 


Top Canning Tools

 

1. Jars - This may seem like an obvious thing you need, but there are many Ball canning jar shapes and sized to choose from. Consider the size of your foods and the portions you want for your food. Do you want small jelly jars to pass out as gifts for the holidays? Or do you need bigger quart jars of tomato sauces for a batch of enchiladas? Taller jars are also great for taller veggies like pickle spears & asparagus. Pint size jars are perfect for a few servings of peaches in simple syrup. You might already have a stash of glass Ball canning jars at home, and as long as they are in good condition, they can be reused again for canning. Be sure to get new jar lids - don't reuse that old previously-sealed lid! Never take the risk of using an old seal that could break and spoil food - always use a brand new seal on old jars.

Chef Austin's Canning Tip: Save lots of time - you may not need to presterilize your canning jars. In recent years, some of the canning guidelines have changed. According to the National Center for Food Home Preservation  "Empty jars used for vegetables, meats, and fruits to be processed in a pressure canner need not be presterilized. It is also unnecessary to presterilize jars for fruits, tomatoes, and pickled or fermented foods that will be processed 10 minutes or longer in a boiling-water canner." For more info, check out their website here.

 

2. Jar & Lid Lifters - Extracting jars from boiling water baths isn't difficult when you have the right tools. Lower and raise your canned goods out of boiling water with a jar lifter. They have a specially shaped rubberized grip made for easily grabbing the top of the jar without slipping. Sanitize your lids in and lift them out of boiling water with a magnetic lid lifter. The Progressive Canning Essentials Kit has all these tools along with a canning funnel.

3. Wide Mouth Canning Funnel - Scooping a hot brine or tomato sauce into a small opening is messy and not too fun when you have to do that 10-15 times in a row. Make the canning life so much easier by making the opening of your jar wider. A canning funnel helps gets the food into your jar instead of it running down the sides of the jar. There are sizes for normal neck jars of 2.25" and for wide mouth jars of 2.75"

4. Bubble Freer & Headspace Tool - This tool removes trapped air in between food and especially in jams & jellies. It also doubles as a headspace measurement tool to easily see if you need to add or subtract food from your Ball canning jars.

5. Canning Jar Labels - How long ago did I can that? You might know it's green beans, but you may not remember how long it's been on the shelf. Be organized and invest in Canning Jar Labels to label and date all your canned goods. This 60 pack from Ball even dissolves under water when you're washing your emptied canning jars.

Chef Austin's Canning Tip: When your canning recipe calls for salt, be sure to use canning salt. Do not opt for table salt or kosher salt - some salts can have additives (like iodine) which can affect the preserving process and color of your canned food. Most tested canning recipes will be using canning salt which is smaller grain and non-iodized.  


6.
 
Ball's Guide to Preserving Book
 - Demystify the canning process. If you haven't canned too many times or really want to become a canning champ, Ball has an amazing guide to get started canning. Their full-color book has picture tutorials to water bath canning and pressure canning and goes into detail of how canning works. Ball's Guide to Preserving also has tons of safe and tested canning recipes to get you started in the canning world! I highly recommend this book if you are just starting to can at home.


Top Home Canning Accessories


7. Immersion Blender - Don't break out the big clunky blender to make a sauce you want to can. Bring the blender right to your cooking pot with an immersion blender. The Braun Immersion Blender is great for quickly making a pureed salsa or pasta sauce out of your tomatoes and other vegetables. Blend just a little bit for a chunky texture or keep blending for a smooth and consistent sauce. If you need an inexpensive immersion blender, check out all the colorful options from KitchenAid.

8. Apple Peeler - Can you peel and core apples by hand? Yes. Will it take forever? Also, yes. An apple peeler like this one can save you time when you need to peel, core, AND slice your apples all at the same time. Make apple butter to apple pie filling in record time and with minimal effort! Apple peelers can also double as potato peelers and slicers like this one from The Sausage Maker company. And there are two styles of peelers - ones that clamp down to the edge of your counter and ones that use a powerful suction cup to anchor to a flat surface.  

Chef Austin's Canning Tip: Fresh is best. Try to use the freshest food available when canning. Fruits and veggies taste the best at the peak of their season and the freshest food will come from your local farmer's market. Food from the grocery store typically is shipped from across the country and can have waxes, coatings, and chemicals on the outside that will affect the flavor and appearance of your canned food. 


9.
 Multi chopper 
When you're doing a major canning weekend, it's nice to cut 30 of those bell peppers to a perfect dice in a fraction of the time of a chef knife. We're not saying you don't know how to chop, but a multi-chopper is going to make slicing and dicing faster and make cuts more uniform. More uniform cuts lead to a more consistent taste for your homemade sauces and salsa when all the onions and peppers are cut the same size. We've used this multi-chopper from Progressive and are very impressed with it, we're sure you will be too. 

10. Food Mill - This is an essential tool if you want to make jellies, jams, and sauces. Not only does it puree the food you put into it, it also strains out fibers, big seeds, and skin because nobody wants stringy peach butter or a seedy jelly. Check out this model from Weston - it's great because it has 3 interchangeable milling disks for ultimate control of your sauces and purees. You also may want to pick up Fine Mesh Strainer to run that milled food through if you want a very fine strain for juices and jellies. 

BONUS - 11. Sauce Maker & Food Strainer - If you're processing flats of tomatoes at a time or want all of the tiny seeds out of your tomatoes, blackberries, and other fruits I'd recommend the Weston Roma Sauce Maker and Food Strainer. It has a fine holed screen to remove those pesky seeds you don't want in your jellies, applesauce, and tomato sauces. Have a KitchenAid mixer? Check out the KitchenAid Food Strainer attachment that fits right onto your mixer, no manual cranking necessary. 

BONUS - 12. WellnessMats - Canning takes a good amount of time in the kitchen and being on your feet. WellnessMats are medically proven to provide relief to your back, hips, knees, and feet while you're working in the kitchen. These comfy, dense, foam mats are what you'll find in commercial kitchens where chefs use them for a more comfortable work experience when they have to be on their feet all day long. 

Chef Austin's Canning Tip: Give yourself time to can. Make a day of canning, it is a lengthy process of processing your food, sanitizing canning jars, and doing batches of food in the water bath. Canning is not an hour-long project you want to jump into - plan ahead and reap the benefits all year long when your pantry is full of canned goods.

 


Read More: Do I need to water bath can my foods or do I need to pressure can my foods?


 

Vegetables like green beans, meats, and soups are low-acid foods (4.6 pH or higher) and must be pressure canned. Check out our Pressure Canning Guide to find out more.

 

Fruits like peaches, apples, jams & jellies, and pickled food are high-acid foods (4.6 pH or lower) and benefit from being water bath canned. Check out our Complete Water Bath Canning Guide to find out more. 

 


 

 

 Top Canning Tools & Canning Accessories

  

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About Chef Austin

About the Author: 

Chef Austin Merath is Everything Kitchen's Culinary Wizard, Kitchen-Gadget Reviewer, and New-Product Tester. He studied under chefs in College of the Ozarks' Culinary Program. It's his job to make sure you choose the kitchen tools that are right for you by testing the best we have to offer. When not cooking, Austin is tinkering with computers or exploring the Ozarks with his wife Amy. Click here for his full bio.