Saturday, January 22, 2011

Getting Started In Canning

Presto Pressure Canners

Are you afraid to use that canner you bought two years ago? Is it sitting there in the cupboard next to those cases of canning jars you bought to start your journey into canning your own foods? Why are you afraid? Are you afraid the canner will explode? Or maybe you are canning using a water bath canner, preserving fruits and tomatoes, but are afraid to get into the pressure canner.

The first step is to buy a good canning book. The Blue Ball of canning is the most popular and is easy to follow. It shows you how to get started. It has detailed instructions that you will need to follow when learning how to can. This is the same book that I learned from. Your pressure canner if bought new, will have an instruction book that is another good source of instructions. Presto has their manuals available for free downloads on their site. Mirro has instructions for using their canners available on their site also. Many times when purchasing a used canner the owner will have the manual that came with their canner. Read it and read it again. Become familiar with your canner!

Canning Equipment

The other items you will need are:

A rack that sets on the  bottom of the canner, comes with the canner but if you purchased a used one it may or may not be there. Make sure you have one.

Jar lifter

A jar lifter is what is used to lift the jars, which will be hot, into the canner and out again when you are finished. These can be found in kits with some other useful equipment.

One other item I like is the lid lifter. It has a magnet on the bottom to pick up the lids out of hot water. It usually comes in those kits or can be purchased separately.

The pressure regulator and the dial gauge 

A pressure regulator will come with your canner. If you buy a used one and it doesn't come with it, you can find one and purchase it online. My first canner, which I found at a garage sale for ten bucks was missing the pressure regulator so I had my local hardware store order it for me.

Quart jars

Of course, jars, rims and lids are the next item you will need. I got lucky when I was starting out and answered an ad in the newspaper for used jars. I bought over 40 jars for $30.00 from a lady who's husband had died and she didn't need so many jars anymore. Over the years I have bought some new and some used. I find them everywhere. Now I really don't need anymore. Sometimes I have cases of empties, then later in the year I fill them up.


When you are done you will be proud of your work. NOTHING compares to your OWN home canned foods!!! You can start out buying from local farms or farmer's markets. Many times you can find some great deals from someone who produces it and doesn't want to haul it to the farmer's market every week. Sometimes they will give you extras if you are a regular customer. Often I find something on sale in the grocery store and can that too.

Canned Pumpkin

I hope this helps my readers who have been thinking about learning how to can. You can do it and I think you will be surprised by how easy it is once you learn how. The biggest job of all is cleaning and cutting up your vegetables to be processed. It is more fun if you have someone to work with you. Many times, my husband sees me doing it and will come out and get a cutting board and knife and go to work. Talking while working makes it an easier job.

I wrote a post a couple of months back giving you an idea how to do this in my post, Canning Pumpkin From My Garden. In the future I will detail canning more since so many people have contacted me about how to learn to do it. It is a job that should be taught to all people. At least if you know how to do it then you can preserve food without refrigeration or freezers. Tastes great too!

Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
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