What are some Super Practical Canning Supplies that will make your life easier?
Some of the canning supplies I have purchased recently have surprised me. For good or for bad, here’s what this year’s canning season has been teaching me.
It’s That Time of Year
Now is the best time to stock up on canning supplies. Retailers will be marking them down for the end of the season, so keep your eyes open for great deals!
Check your favorite websites and pay attention! You can save a ton of money!
Stainless vs Plastic canning funnel.
Not all that long ago, I really wanted a stainless steel funnel. This desire came after the handle broke on my Ball canning funnel, so I figured that the stainless one would last a lot longer. I’ve been using a stainless steel canning funnel, and I like it OK, but when I started doing more canning, I realized that for me, stainless steel is not the most practical.
The main reason is because when working with boiling liquids, the metal funnel just gets too hot and I end up burning my fingers on it if I’m not careful. I went back to the standard turquoise blue Ball-type canning funnel, and I really just feel like it’s a good one. It’s simple, cheap, and works well. The neck of the funnel is long enough so that it doesn’t slip out of my jars when I’m filling them, which, sometimes my stainless steel one does, because the neck is so short.
*I do like my stainless steel funnel, just not so much for canning.
A Step Up
There is one funnel that I actually believe might be a little bit nicer, for canning, but so far I have not splurged to buy it. This is a funnel that has a little space so that you can see the distance to the top of your jar, and the funnel actually goes on the outside of the jar to keep all the mess off of your jar completely. The funnel is like $20 though so maybe sometime in the future, I will give it a try. If anyone has one, I would love to see what you think about it because it does look really great. ￼￼￼￼￼￼
Big over the sink strainer–Now I won’t do without this one!
I think this is one of the most useful kitchen tools that I’ve purchased for awhile. Makes canning easier and keeps the fruits/veggies up out of the water.
Pressure Canner–Large vs Smaller
This will be personal preference, but I like to have both!
For years, I used a 23-quart Presto canner. I got it so I could stack up the jars. You can stack 16 pints inside with a second rack, which is very nice. It still just holds 7 quarts.
If I only had one pressure canner? I’d get the big one.
This year I found a second, smaller pressure canner at a thrift store, so I grabbed it for $20. It is a vintage Mirro Matic and holds 16 quarts liquid, 7 quart jars, but has less headspace than the 23 quart canner.
I like the smaller size when I want to do less, because it has less space to heat up, making it slightly faster. Having a second canner is nice so you can do two batches at once.
I’ve never used a huge capacity pressure canner, but our friends have one where you can stack quarts.
There are several brands of pressure canners, and I don’t know that one is all that better from another.
Some like the All American best.
My mom used to have this type with the metal to metal locking lid, and back when I first got married, I didn’t understand the value of this, and didn’t snatch hers up! Now, a couple pressure cookers later, and multiple seal failures at just the wrong moment, I understand how valuable that system is.
These All American canners are very sturdy, have almost universal great ratings, and are an investment for your self-sustaining future.
I have pretty much always used Presto canners. The price point is much easier on the budget, and they do work very reliably. Keep a spare seal handy, because trying to find one in the middle of your salsa run is no bueno.
Look for the features that you desire, and do your research. I think I prefer the weighted gauge a tiny bit over the dial gauge, but I have both, and I’m happy with both types. 😊 I do like having two, with the outdoor stove (see below)
Everywhere that sells canning supplies sells the thin canning spatulas/bubble poppers intended to remove bubbles. These spatulas are very simple tools, and easy to lose. I recently learned that you can just use a thin ruler, or, my favorite, a straight rubber spatula instead.
Sturdy Milk Crate
The strong Mayfield type milk crates will hold 9 quart jars perfectly and they work really well for transporting hot jars to wherever you want to process them. The crates are strong enough so that you don’t have to worry about jars, falling and breaking after all your hard work.
A second tray for your big canner.
I got a really nice but inexpensive set of two trays on Amazon, and I like them really well. They are strong, they are stainless steel, and I’ve used mine a lot already this year to double deck my pint jars.
Large Capacity Canners
- An outside, propane burner
- A large water bath canner.
A couple of years ago we invested in a large ￼homemade box made out of strong metal, that we can fit 42 pints, or 28 quarts. We use a propane burner underneath this large box to make a giant water bath canner. Of course it’s rare that I would ever have 28 quarts of anything ready at the same time, but one thing I like about it is that I can just have it simmering and when my jars are filled, I can put them in that hot water and they maintain their temperature.
I can do a few or a lot, it doesn’t matter and it’s much better than just doing 7 quarts at a time in my regular water bath on the stove top.
Another idea–some friends cut a metal barrel in half and made a big canner for use over their campfire. I could technically do that with this one, I just haven’t had the ability to do large scale canning at home, so have not tried.
We have been canning other places besides our property, since we are still in our camper, and it is pretty tight quarters. So I have been doing my large scale canning at my mom and dad’s. I’m still doing small batches, like salsa, and tomato sauces at home.
Since ours was custom made, you won’t find one quite like it, but you can find very large water bath canners to purchase.
- This one, made by the Amish, holds fifteen quarts, 18 pints, or 36 pints if stacked. It sets on top of a sturdy stove, not recommended for a glass top, and will take quite awhile to heat up on an electric stove. A gas stove would work well, or an outdoor propane double burner (see below) would heat this very fast. There are cheaper copies made abroad, but generally, quality made equals better performance. If you’re going to make an investment, make sure it’s a good one. Note that this canner had a spout to drain the water out, which is a very handy feature, as these get very hot and heavy when filled.
Two burner propane stove
- One thing that I got this year is a two burner propane stove for outdoors, which holds two pressure cookers at the same time. This doubles my speed, since pressure canning takes quite a while. I have friends who have pressure cookers that hold a ton of quarts, and those would be really nice too if I had a lot of things to pressure can. Most of the time 14 going at once is plenty for me.
- We bought the Camp Chef Expedition, and it really heats up fast! You can fit two large pressure canners on it easily. The only problem I’ve discovered so far is trying to use it on a windy day–too dangerous!
Super Practical Canning Supplies.
I hope these super practical canning supplies have been a benefit to you.
Sometimes we think we need one thing, and it turns out that something different works better. That’s how life goes.
Be sure to check out my original post on Canning Supplies to Get Now for Frugal Homesteaders for an extended list of basic supplies to get you going.
There’s still time for applesauce!