Having the proper equipment for home canning is essential, allowing you to can your produce efficiently and safely. I have collected my canning supplies through local stores, online sales, and second hand. I bought my pressure canner online, for example, but got my tools (funnel, jar lifter, lid lifter) at a local hardware store.
My jars have been from a variety of sources, including new from the store and (much more cheaply) used from yard sales. Lids can only be used once for canning, so those have come primarily from the store, but bands can be used again and again and thus don’t need to be replaced every year.
Must-Have Canning Supplies
Stock pot for water bath canning: the canner with rack pictured above is a good example of a simple pot for waterbath canning. They usually cost around $20; a large, wide stock pot can also suffice as long as you have a rack to keep the jars from resting against the bottom of the pot.
A pressure canner is essential for canning non-acid items such as meat broth, low-acid tomatoes and green beans, which can not be preserved safely using just a waterbath. A good pressure canner will cost about $90 – $500 depending on capacity. I bought mine for about $250; if you find one second hand you can save some money.
Glass canning jars, also called mason jars, are the only containers in which to preserve home canned foods. Never use commercial pasta sauce jars or other non-canning jars for your home canning. Check your canning jars before use to make sure they are free of cracks and there are no chips on the rims of the jars; chips may prevent proper seals.
Lids and bands are essential for processing your canned foods. As mentioned earlier, lids may only be used for canning once, but bands can be used many times until rusty or damaged.
A canning funnel is used to fill wide-mouth and regular canning jars with the food and is a huge time saver as well as mess-minimizer.
The jar lifter tool allows you to quickly and safely removed your jars from the water bath or pressure canner once they are done.
A lid lifter is are a plastic wand with a magnet on the end, a tool to help you retrieve jar lids and bands from their boiling water sanitizing bath to be placed on the jars as you fill them.
Canning is a simple process, and those are the basic tools of the trade. For food processing to prepare your fruit, vegetables and other items for canning, you can delve into food processors, blenders, and juicers, but the actual canning process requires just the basics.
Buying canning supplies online is a convenient way to assemble your tools and equipment. I recommend browsing the Amazon Canning Store for a wide selection of canning cookbooks, canning jars, canners and tools.