With Sharon Peterson
Canning Kits are a great way to pick up everything you need in one package. Especially if you are just starting to collect your canning equipment and supplies.
There are kits available that include everything you need, these will include a waterbath canner and have all the specialty tools included. Often they’ll have blanchers, timers and other handy items to have around.
Some canning kits have the whole set up including the canner.
In my opinion a Stainless Steel waterbath canner is the way to go…. see this page for a review of a great one.
But I also realize that if you are just starting out you may want to keep costs down. Most canning kits that come with a canner come with the black or blue speckled granite ware canner as well as a variety of hand tools. These canners are not as nice as the stainless…. but they do get the job done.
Some canning kits have just the hand tools.
If you already have your canner there are smaller canning sets that will come with just the hand tools like a canning funnel, magnetic wand and jar lifter. For a new home canner I recommend that you be sure your kit includes those three hand tools; the jar lifter, a magnetic wand, and a canning funnel.
The other tools you’ll often see in these sets are helpful but not essential.
A canning funnel has a larger opening to fit your jars. This is really something that would be hard to do without. It makes it a cleaner task to fill your jars. Keeps the rims cleaner. You must still wipe the rims to be sure you have not spilled, but there is less mess using one of these.
Not just for canning. I like to store leftovers in canning jars. The clear jars make it easy to see what I have. The funnel is useful for filling jars.
I can’t imagine doing this neatly can you? What a mess it would be. Of course it is kind of messy anyway… but imagine without the funnel.
Jar Lifter and Magnetic Wand
The jar lifter is a tool that grasps your hot jars to safely take them out of a hot canner after processing.
The rubber coating on the jar end of the tool keeps it firmly and securely wrapped around the neck of your jar while you move it to a cooling area.
A magnetic lid lifter (I call it a magnetic wand) is a plastic stick with a magnet at one end. Use it to lift your canning lids from the hot water they should be in as you place your canning jar lids before processing.
I did not have a magnetic lid lifter for many years. I made due with tongs. The tongs worked ok. But the magnetic wand is so inexpensive and so handy. I’d suggest picking one up.