A canning rack will eventually tend to rust and will need to be replaced.
I used my rack for years and years. I finally replaced it last month. My new one is so nice and shiny. Remember that if you are buying a new canner, there should be a rack included with it!
A canning rack can be purchased most anywhere you can get canning supplies. Amazon will have them, and your local Ace Hardware stores often have canning supplies as well.
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Alternate Canning Rack Ideas
Here is a question I received:
“I am going to try canning, and have a large pot to use, but I don’t have a rack for the bottom. Is there anything else I can use as a sub for that rack. I don’t want to have to buy the pot if I don’t continue to can.” ~Christina TN
Christina, here are some options.
Any kind of rack will do. It just needs to keep the jars up off the bottom of the pot. It is nice if it will separate the jars too, but not essential.
Do you have another pot that has a rack that will fit in the bottom of your deep pot? Do you have a round roaster that has a rack that would fit?
I occasionally use a rack from a small pressure cooker that fits in the bottom of my blancher. But that is only for small loads.
This is kind of unusual, but I have a neighbor who is from the Ukraine. She uses a thick piece of board in her canner. I am not sure what kind of wood it is but that is what she has.
Maybe these ideas will give you an idea of something you already have.
I don’t know if you like second-hand shopping, but check out your local Goodwill. They just might have something you can use for practically nothing…OR better yet, they may even have a canner.
Measure your pot and see if a regular rack will fit. You can purchase just the rack pretty inexpensively.
I have also seen mini canning racks that are smaller than standard.
Be Creative for Canning Racks
You can be creative when it comes to the rack if you want to use a stockpot for water bath. The only rules are,
- The jars must be covered with water by 2 inches.
- The jars must be held up off the bottom of the canner.
Creative Canning Rack Ideas from My Readers
A comment on the question about what to use for a rack on the bottom of a canner: Recently, I needed another rack because I was stacking pints in my pressure canner. Couldn’t locate the second rack – husband was enlisted for help. He came back with a very used table saw blade – 10 inches across.
It worked very satisfactorily. It is now stored in the canner – ready for next time. Thanks for a great site!”
Now that is a man’s idea! Sounds like something my husband would think of. I’ll bet it worked great. You could even place a few screw bands under it to lift it off the bottom of your pot and use it as your bottom rack if needed. (She also reassured me that yes, she cleaned it up first.)
And here is another from Cherie:
“I have a regular bath canner, a pressure canner, and on the weekend purchased an very old and large enamel canner with no rack. I used the rack from my pressure canner in it, but the rack is too small. My husband suggested the BBQ pizza pan that we do not use. It has holes in it. It fit perfectly in the regular size canner.
I went to our local Canadian Tire store and found a larger pizza pan with small holes. It fit in the large canner, which is 15 1/4 inches across. I drilled some of the holes larger. I cannot wait to try it out.”
“I like to put my jams in 4 oz jars and give assorted gift packs at Christmas. My problem is that my water bath rack is for bigger jars and it is a pain to use with the small ones. They fall through the cracks, so to speak. Do you have any suggestions?”
~Anna F., San Francisco Bay Area
Canning Rack Tips & FAQs
Is It Okay to Use Old/Antique Canning Racks?
I’m just starting out canning and don’t yet have either a water bath or pressure canner. I’m going to start with jams and other high acid foods since I can use my big stockpots for that for the time being.
However, I don’t have any racks.
I did find a Ball ‘Discovery Kit’ that has a plastic rack in it, but it will only fit up to pint jars.
A friend of mine is an antiques nut, and she has a few old canning racks. They don’t appear to be rusted, just very old and the metal is dull.
My question is, is it okay to use them until I get a canner with a rack? Maybe I’m overly cautious, but I didn’t know if by using the old racks that something might leach into the water, and if it could be harmful? Thanks for a GREAT site!”
Yes, Trudi, you can use any rack that will hold your jars off the bottom of the pot. Antiques are often great tools!
Water Bath Canning is Fun and Easy! SimplyCanning walks you through the steps.
Lose the fear on pressure canning and educate yourself on the different brands available, safety features, and how they work with the help of SimplyCanning.
Traditionally, canning jars have been boiled and “sterilized” before filling and processing. Many ask if sterilizing jars is necessary, if they’re boiled anyway. SimplyCanning answers this question!
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Page last updated: 10/7/2021
I used a rack made for my ip, a dehydrator rack
If it’s rusted I put mine in the kitchen sink with vinegar or lemon juice and sprinkle baking soda in it wait 30 minutes and wash off
I just tried this with a very rusty rack that I was going to replace and it worked like a charm. Thank you!
So glad it was helpful, Stephanie! Happy canning. 🙂
-Rachel (Sharon’s assistant)
In a pinch you can use a bunch of canning rings placed next to each other on bottom of pot.
I use a silicone trivet as a bottom rack which frees up my metal rack so I can stack a second layer. Amazon has a gazillion silicone trivets in every size, shape, color, style, etc. Be sure to get a round one that fits the diameter of your canner.
When I want to do just 2-4 jars in my tall pot that does not have a rack I throw a handful of paper clips into the bottom of the pot. It keeps the jars off the bottom and I have never had an issue with jars breaking.