Canning Supplies - What You Need to Get Started

Ready to give canning a try? Here are all the supplies that you'll need to get started:

Water Bath Canner

Water Bath Canner
Water Bath Canner. Photo courtesy of Amazon

If you plan to can fruits, tomatoes* and other high-acid foods, a water bath canner is the canner for the job. 21-quarts is the most common size, but you can also find larger versions. If you decide to buy one second-hand, make sure it still has its lid and rack. You can buy replacement racks, but they cost almost as much as a brand new canner.

*Some newer tomato varieties are lower in acid than most and may need to be processed in a pressure canner or have additional acid added to them.

Buy a Water Bath Canner on Amazon

Pressure Canner/Cooker

Pressure Canner
Pressure Canner. Photo courtesy of Amazon

If you plan to can vegetables, meats, seafood and other low-acid foods, you'll need to purchase a pressure canner. This type of canner is capable of reaching 240 degrees Fahrenheit – the temperature required to kill bacteria.

Buy a Pressure Canner on Amazon

Canning Rack

Canning Rack
Canning Rack. Photo courtesy of Amazon

Most canners come with a rack to hold the jars, but if yours is missing or worn out, you can purchase one separately. I recommend going with a wire rack. The plastic racks aren't as sturdy, and they don't hold anywhere near as many jars.

Buy a Canning Rack on Amazon


Canning Jars
Canning Jars. Photo courtesy of Amazon

Glass jars with lids and rings are required for foods that will be stored at room temperature. Glass or plastic freezer jars can be used for foods that will be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Keep an eye out for canning jars when you're out yard shopping. As long as they aren't chipped, they can be reused again and again.

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Jar Lifter

Jar Lifter. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Jar lifters are used to safely lift hot jars out of the canner. They're a definite must-have.

Buy a Jar Lifter on Amazon

Magnetic Lid Lifter

Magnetic Lid Lifter. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Magnetic lid lifters are used to lift canning jar lids out of boiling water. You can get by with a pair of long-handled tongs, but this works much better.

Buy a Magnetic Lid Lifter on Amazon

Wide-Mouth Canning Funnel

Canning Funnel. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

A wide-neck canning funnel make filling jars faster and less messy. Just stick it on top of a jar, and pour. Stainless steel and plastic funnels are available. I recommend going with a stainless funnel. It shouldn't ever have to be replaced.

Buy a Wide-Mouth Canning Funnel on Amazon


Pectin. Photo courtesy of Amazon

Pectin is a liquid or powder that is added to jams, jellies, and other fruit spreads to make them gel. It's usually derived from citrus peels or apples. You can buy pectin in individual packets (enough to make one batch of jam/jelly) or in larger, multi-use containers. The large containers usually work out to be cheaper. If you plan to make freezer jam, make sure you buy freezer pectin. It's formulated differently than regular pectin. If you plan to make a low-sugar or no-sugar jam/jelly, be sure to buy no-sugar or low-sugar pectin. Pomona's Pectin is one example. Some jam/jelly recipes do not call for any pectin. That's because they're made with fruits that are naturally high in pectin.

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Jelly Strainer

Jelly Strainer
Jelly Strainer. Photo courtesy of Amazon

A jelly strainer is a handy tool to have, if you plan to make jelly. Just clip it onto a bowl or pot, and pour your jelly through the strainer bag to remove seeds and fruit pieces from your finished jelly.

Buy a Jelly Strainer on Amazon

Food Mill

Food Mill
Food Mill. Photo courtesy of Amazon

Invest in a food mill, if you plan to make your own applesauce or tomato sauce. It makes quick work of separating the seeds and skins from your finished sauces. You can use it to strain your jellies, too.

Buy Your Canning Equipment for Less

Canning Kit
Canning Kit. Photo courtesy of Amazon

If you don't own any of this equipment yet, consider buying a canning kit. It'll probably be cheaper than buying each item individually.

Buy a Canning Kit on Amazon

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Photo courtesy of Amazon

Need a good canning reference book? The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is the one to have. It includes canning instructions, tips, and over 400 recipes. If you have a question about canning, this book has the answer.

Buy the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving