I would like to start canning- what do I need? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 04-08-2011, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would like to start canning this year. We grow tons of tomatoes, so pasta sauce and other tomato products will be big on my list of things to can. I'd also like to can pickles and beans. What kind of canning equipment will I need? What are the "start-up" costs? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

 

 

 

 

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#2 of 10 Old 04-08-2011, 08:49 AM
 
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If you want to do pickles, you're looking at pressure canning. An aluminum pressure canner (I've read up and Presto is a recommended brand, and I bought one) will double as a pot that you can do boiling water bath as well.

 

If you have the means, consider a stainless steel model, which is safer for your food than aluminum. I don't have the means, though. My canner (which was a birthday and Christmas present from MIL rolled into one) was around the $100 mark, maybe $110.

 

You will need jars, lids and rings. Sizes depend on your preference and what you're canning. You can buy them new by the flat (roughly $12-18 for a flat, with numbers varying on jar size, but roughly 12 per pack, they include the lids and rings) or you can try to score used ones off Freecycle or Craigslist (you'll still need to buy lids and probably rings).

 

Strongly recommended are: a canning funnel (a funnel that makes it easy to dump things into a jar), and a jar lifter. Ball makes a little package of these things plus the items I'll mention next, I think around $12.

 

Optional are: a stirrer (that helps break up bubbles) - or you could just use a chopstick. And a headspace gauge.

 

Towels/rags are useful. Oh, you'll need a timing instrument as well, but you may already have one (a timer, or a clock in the kitchen - just remember to be accurate, if a recipe calls for 20 minutes, it's 20 minutes, not 19).

 

And you'll need recipes. The Ball Blue Book, for example.

 

Good luck! I'm a new canner too, and I was intimidated but very glad I got past that and did it.

 

Oh, one random little tip - take the rings off after your jars have cooled (next day) before you store them. They have a tendency to rust. If you store them in a dry cupboard, you'll get a lot more use out of them, plus they won't rust on your canned goods.


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#3 of 10 Old 04-08-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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Many pickles do not need to be canned at all, they can just be fermented and stored in a cool place. If you want to have them shelf storage safe you can can them, but most pickles are not low acid and so are fine with a basic boiling water bath method. In fact I've never even eaten a homemade pickle that was pressure canned. I grew up eating home made pickles.

 

What kind of beans are you talking about? Legumes or green beans? Both are low acid naturally but both also store better either dried or frozen. I haven't gotten around to pressure canning any of my beans, since I find the freezer perfectly fine and for legumes you can presoak and then freeze and they thaw extremely quickly in hot liquid.

 

If you've never canned before I would start with boiling water bath canning, tomatoes are very easy. All you need is a big stock pot. I have a 20 quart one I have had for years, make sure it has a lid. You need canning jars. For tomatoes I like to do both pints and quarts so I can choose depending on what I'm cooking them in. The case of jars comes with rings and seals so you don't need to buy those initially. You need a wide mouth funnel and a jar lifter.

 

I do love my pressure canner for canning homemade stock but I don't BWB can in it. Aluminum is fine because you are not going to eat any food that touches the pan, it's all in the glass jars.

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#4 of 10 Old 04-08-2011, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We would like to have everything shelf storage safe. Our fridge and freezer get too full (we buy local shares of meat that take up all our freezer space and tons of fresh foods in the fridge). Our pantry is pretty empty, so I'm looking to fill that space.

 

I would like to can pinto beans (maybe refried) and black beans. I can get a lot canned at once and have them ready to go, but only partly cooking them and then needing to find the time to finish the job before dinner will just never happen.

 

 

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#5 of 10 Old 04-08-2011, 02:47 PM
 
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For beans and other low acid foods you need a pressure canner http://www.amazon.com/All-American-921-All-American-Pressure/dp/B00004S88Z/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1302299341&sr=8-2 . For tomato sauce, salsa, jelly, pickles, and many fruits you can just get a water bath canning pot with a rack to hold the jars http://www.amazon.com/Columbian-Home-0707-1-Porcelain-Water-Bath/dp/B0001UZL8A/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1302299210&sr=1-1 , tongs and a canning funnel http://www.amazon.com/Back-Basics-286-5-Piece-Canning/dp/B0002BF1WY/ref=pd_bxgy_k_img_b , and of course your jars and lids (available at grocery and hardware stores, jars also at thrift stores, flea markets, estate sales, craigslist, etc).

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#6 of 10 Old 04-09-2011, 07:39 PM
 
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For pickles, plain tomatoes, jams and any fruit packed in syrup, a water bath works just fine. What you really MUST have is a large pot deeper than your jar by at least an inch. Any (tall enough) stock or pasta pot will work. Jars, lids, screw bands. A ladle or other scoop. That's it really.

 

Nice to have - the things that I reach for... silicone tipped tongs (for lifting jars). These are just my everyday tongs, but because they're silicone coated the wet jars won't slip. A canning funnel. A magnetic wand to lift the hot jar lids out of the water. A stack of clean towels, a few hot pads, and a clean rag. I have a round cake rack in the bottom of my pot (to keep the glass from touching the bottom), but extra canning rings will do the trick too.

 

I really wouldn't spend a lot on supplies for canning until you've done it and know you'll use the stuff. I've been canning for decades and still haven't invested in a pressure canner (although it's in the buying plan for this year). I don't even have a special canning pot, just a tall soup pot. And we're still learning what we'll get through and what we won't - which I'm sure will change as DS gets older.

 

Where you want to spend the money to start is on the jars. And maybe on a good book or two.


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#7 of 10 Old 04-10-2011, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post

For pickles, plain tomatoes, jams and any fruit packed in syrup, a water bath works just fine. What you really MUST have is a large pot deeper than your jar by at least an inch. Any (tall enough) stock or pasta pot will work. Jars, lids, screw bands. A ladle or other scoop. That's it really.

 

Nice to have - the things that I reach for... silicone tipped tongs (for lifting jars). These are just my everyday tongs, but because they're silicone coated the wet jars won't slip. A canning funnel. A magnetic wand to lift the hot jar lids out of the water. A stack of clean towels, a few hot pads, and a clean rag. I have a round cake rack in the bottom of my pot (to keep the glass from touching the bottom), but extra canning rings will do the trick too.

 

I really wouldn't spend a lot on supplies for canning until you've done it and know you'll use the stuff. I've been canning for decades and still haven't invested in a pressure canner (although it's in the buying plan for this year). I don't even have a special canning pot, just a tall soup pot. And we're still learning what we'll get through and what we won't - which I'm sure will change as DS gets older.

 

Where you want to spend the money to start is on the jars. And maybe on a good book or two.


Any recommendations for a book?

 

 

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#8 of 10 Old 09-23-2012, 08:21 AM
 
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THANK YOU so much for posting this!!!!

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#9 of 10 Old 09-23-2012, 02:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ammiga View Post


Any recommendations for a book?

 

 

The Ball Blue Book is a good basic starter book.  I also have and like the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. 


Kristy, wife to Josh proud mama to Katie: since 3/08 and Emma since 8/12.

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#10 of 10 Old 09-23-2012, 03:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristyDi View Post

The Ball Blue Book is a good basic starter book.  I also have and like the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. 


If you have a copy of the Joy of Cooking lying around, it has a pretty decent section on canning as well.


Diane, SAHM to DD (June 05) and DS (April 07).
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