We all know that homemade jams, jellies, preserves and pickles are much better for you than store-bought versions. It’s also much more sustainable to select your own local produce and can it at the peak of ripeness, cutting down on food waste. Plus, homemade canned foods have a very long shelf-life and can be used to stock your pantry for the winter or give as a thoughtful gift to friends and family.
To get started, you’ll need canning supplies like jars and a boiling-water Canning Products. These items are often available at thrift stores, big box stores and hardware stores for dirt cheap prices. You can also find canning kits that include all of the essentials for water bath canning.
Wide-mouth canning jars ($14 for 12; Target), pictured on the left, make it easier to pack whole fruits and vegetables and are perfect for making pickles. Regular-mouth jars ($24 for 12, Amazon), on the other hand, are great for things like sauces and soups because they have narrower mouths.
From Farm to Jar: Exploring the World of Canning Products and Home Preservation
A boiling-water canner ($29, Ace Hardware) heats the jars to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature needed to kill microorganisms and preserve food. Canners have racks that allow water to flow beneath jars for even heating and handles to lower and lift jars in and out of the hot water. Some canners have a traditional speckled enamel finish while others are sleek and polished steel.
Some additional canning supplies that you’ll want to have on hand are a pair of kitchen tongs, a magnetic lid wand and a ladle to help remove air bubbles during the canning process. You’ll also want a set of clean towels to use for setting hot jars on the counter while they cool and to wipe the rims of jars before sealing them.