Summertime! Gardening time, vegetable time, cheap produce time. What does this mean? It means that canning time is upon us!
I’ll be honest, I’ve never been much of a “canner”. But this year, with the changes I am making to our household shopping habits (think: using less coupons) I’m taking the plunge in order to start canning much more of our food.
Paul and I have grown a garden every single year since we married, and we’ve tried our hand at just about everything. Our favorites include tomatoes and jalapenos (great for Paul’s Cream Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos!) and cucumbers and okra even! Gotta love some fried and pickled okra. And, now my mouth is watering. 😀
Aldi consistently kills it on produce prices – this week they have cheap blueberries for example (see produce deals, updated weekly) so I’ll be canning some blueberry jam.
7 Items You MUST Have For Canning Foods
1. First, you need to get yourself some mason jars. The #1 item needed for canning foods. You have to have something to store the canned goods in, after all. We typically find deals in off-season times, or you can score a deal on a variety of different sizes – all depending on what you’re canning and how much of it you need in one jar.
2. Invest in a water bath. You’ll need this to submerge the jars for canning, and this is the perfect solution. You could also get an electric model, but those are far pricier and I’m going to have to get some experience under my belt before I get too fancy on myself.
3. You need a canning rack. If the jars touch the bottom of the pot they’ll break and/or shatter from the heat.
4. A magnetic lid wand makes it possible for you to pull the piping hot lids out of the water without burning your fingers. This is not a want, this is a need.
5. In order to get the jars out of the water pot, you’ll need canning tongs.
6. If you have bubbles in the jam (or whatever you’re canning) you’ll need one of these bubble removers. In addition to helping remove bubbles, this helps you to gauge how full your jar is, instead of eyeballing it. Hey now, are you eyeballing my tomatoes?!
DO NOT REUSE the lids!
7. Once you have used the lids, you need to toss them. The good news? Replacements are cheap!
Are you a beginner like me? Get all of the necessary items at once, including the water bath, the magnet, the tongs, the funnel and the rack and more – everything you need to get started.
If you already have a pot to use, you could score yourself a very nice deal on this six piece set to get you started and you could even invest in some dissolving labels for your jars. Keep in mind that this particular set does not have the rack you need for the pot.
Use and reuse the glass jars, and these dissolvable labels have room for the product, the date made/canned and room for a note if you plan to give the jam away as gifts. “Thanks for a great school year” type of thing.
Remember that you can not stack the jars when storing, as the weight and pressure could break the seal.
Quite possibly the best investment? The Ball cookbook. While inexpensive (woot!) it also has directions and safety tips for beginners plus hundreds of recipes that have been tested and are FDA safe. I NEEDED this, so I grabbed one. Would be nice for a gift too, I think!
Here’s a photo from Barb with her canned goods. I can’t wait to get a canned goods stockpile growing myself!
Thanks, Barb for your help getting me started! 😀
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