Ready to start preserving your homegrown fruits and veggies? Or maybe you scored a few bags of beautiful produce at the farmer’s market? This canning supplies list for beginners will get you off to a great start.
You’ll also want to check out these simple canning recipes:
- Blackberry Jam
- Green Beans
- Honey Pickled Radishes
- Hot Pepper Jam
- Salsa with Lime Juice
- Strawberry Jam
- Tomato Jam
- Tomato Sauce
- Tomato Soup
Canning Supplies List for Beginners
- water bath canner
- jar lifter
- lid wand
- bubble popper
- flat tray
- kitchen towel
- dishcloth or small rag
- pressure canner
1. Water bath canner
Beginners should definitely start with a basic water bath canner. This is the water bath canner I use. I actually have two of them!
After you master the basic technique, you can add a pressure canner to your canning lineup.
2. Jar lifter
This handy tool allows you to lift hot, wet jars safely. One jar lifter will probably last you for years, if not for a lifetime.
3. Lid wand
This is another simple device that does exactly what it’s designed to do and will also last for years. Use your lid wand to remove hot canning lids and rings from a simmering pot prior to adding them to your canning jars.
4. Bubble popper & measurer
I actually don’t own a bubble popper, because my Vitamix spatula does the job just fine. There might be something in your kitchen that would work, too. However, the measuring device does seem handy, especially for beginners.
I also came across this two-in-one lid wand and bubble popper, which seems like a great idea. And if you’re just starting out, you might like to snag an entire canning kit with all the nifty tools you’ll need.
Although you can use any wide mouth funnel, I absolutely love my stainless steel model. It’s both affordable and sturdy, and I expect it to outlive me. My funnel is nontoxic, nonstaining, and easy to clean, and I use it for many purposes other than canning.
By the way, even though it’s called a wide mouth funnel, it also fits in regular mouth jars.
Sadly, my favorite stainless canning ladle broke after almost two decades of use. I’m excited to try this new one, also stainless, and with spouts on both sides. The spouts should be perfect for canning, as well as for ladling soup into mason jars for storage.
7. Flat tray
You may not see a flat tray listed in most canning manuals, but I consider it indispensable in my busy kitchen. Before I remove the hot jars from the canning pot, I prepare a flat tray lined with a clean kitchen towel.
As I lift each jar out of the canner, I place it on the towel-lined tray, lining up the jars as I go. This makes it easy to relocate the entire batch of hot jars without disturbing the cooling process and risking a failed seal.
You could also use a baking sheet or a cutting board, but I appreciate the handles and rim of a sturdy tray.
Technically, it is possible to can without an apron. But I wouldn’t want to! Maybe I’m a messy cook, but if I don’t wear an apron in the kitchen, you can bet my clothes will get ruined. Especially when it comes to berries or tomatoes.
9. Kitchen towel
I like to start a canning session with three clean towels. One goes over my shoulder for drying lids and rings, one is spread out next to the stove as a mat for hot jars, and one is used to line my flat tray.
10. Dish cloth or small rag
When it’s time to fill jars and add lids, you will need a small, clean, wet cloth for wiping the rims of the jars. This step is critical for achieving a good seal. If any food, sauce, or salt, etc. remains on the rim of the jar, it will prevent the lid from sealing properly.
11. Pressure canner
In order to can vegetables, you will need a pressure canner. With the exception of tomatoes, vegetables cannot be canned in a water bath canner because they lack the acid necessary for safe long term storage.
You might also want to try this recipe for home canned tomato soup. My recipe includes a number of pureed veggies, and is one of my most popular blog posts ever.
When it comes to pressure canners, you can opt for a less expensive model and expect to replace the gasket over time. Or you can invest in a pricier all-metal version, and avoid ever having to replace the gasket. I use this all-metal pressure canner.
You will also need:
- mason jars
- rings (also called bands)
- extra flat lids
Obviously, you’ll need jars for all your home canned goodies. If you buy new jars, they’ll come with lids and rings. The rings will last for a while, until they get rusty. But the flat lids must be new every time you can.
Once you’ve canned a jar of anything, that flat lid cannot be used again for canning. Used canning lids can be used for storage in the fridge or for shelf stable foods like dried goods. But you cannot reuse the flat lids for canning purposes.
I typically choose quart sized jars for foods that I know we’ll eat in larger quantities, such as green beans, tomato soup, and some (but not all) of our tomato sauce. I choose pint sized jars for applesauce, tomato sauce, and dill pickles.
During canning season, I make sure to keep a good supply of the following canning staples. Of course, some recipes will call for additional ingredients. But these are the main ones to keep on hand.
And there you have it. Are you ready to get started? I’d love to hear about your canning adventures…leave me a comment below! What are you planning to can next?
Kathleen Henderson is the yankee behind the homestead. Follow along as we grow real food and three boys while renovating a 20-acre farm in northern Virginia. Do you love homegrown food, Paleo-ish recipes, and natural living? You’re in good company! Let’s grow together…