A water bath canner is used with all high acid foods.
all fruits, jams, jellies, pie fillings, pickles or condiments and tomatoes
with added lemon juice.
If you have any low acid foods or ingredients you must use a pressure canner.
Any pot will work as long as it is deep enough to have 2 to 3 inches of water covering the tops of your jars as it boils.
It must also have a rack to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot. The water must flow around the jars and the jars must not touch the bottom of the pot.
A pot specifically made for water bath canning makes things very easy. It will come with a rack for your jars.
On a standard canner this rack will have "hooks" on the handles that will hook to the side of the canner and hold the jars up out of the water. Then the jars can be lowered into the canner when ready.
If you are using a stock pot, you can use what ever you have on hand as a rack. It does not need to hang on the side of the canner. The rack can be as simple as a rack from a round roasting pan. What ever will fit in your pot. It's most important function is keeping the jars off the bottom. Canning rack alternative ideas.
|21.5 quart boiling water bath will hold up to seven 1-quart jars|
|Smaller 11.5 quart pots will hold up to seven 1-pint jars.|
|Large,33 quart pots will hold up to 9 1-quart jars.|
The stainless canner is much sturdier and doubles as a stock pot for other cooking. I've heard that stainless steel caners can be used on flat top stoves. I don't have personal experience with this, so check with your stove manufacturer; however the makers and reviewers say it is perfectly safe.
|Victorio Water Bath Canner
This Victorio is the Canner I'd recommend if you are looking at the stainless steel.
There are others available however, I've read in that some stainless canners are not quite tall enough for quart jars to fit and still have enough room for water to comfortably cover the jars by a few inches. This is a larger quart capacity.
It also doubles as a steam canner. See below.
|Finally there is the steam canner. Not to be mistaken for a pressure canner, this type of a canner is sold as a substitute for a water bath. The jars are placed in the shallow bottom portion with water. The top is placed over the jars. The water is brought to a boil which causes steam to build up inside.|
You should know that the USDA does not endorse steam canning. (not to be confused with pressure canning) They have not researched them enough to make any safety recommendations. The concern is whether the steam will bring the jars and contents to the heat level needed to ensure safety.
I don't have one and have no experience with it. However I have heard good things about this canner and I love the idea of only heating a few inches of water. You'll have to be the judge as to whether this is safe for your family or not. Do NOT use these with any low acid product. No Vegetables, and No Meat. Check the instructions that come with the canner for directions and timing suggestions.
Since I put up a lot of jars each year, I wanted to purchase a large capacity pot in order to jar nine quarts at a time. I put off purchasing one because I was concerned about how it would fit on my standard sized stove.
One day I was at an auction and there was a beautiful blue large 9 quart water bath canner--complete with jars! I bid on it and won!! I got it at a great price. I love auctions!.
I have attempted to share safe preserving methods. However, I make no promises. You alone are responsible for your health. Be aware of current safety recommendations.
See my Full Disclaimer here.