This canning supplies guide is the perfect way to start learning how to economically can your own healthy vegetables, jams, soups and meats.

Canning Supplies Guide cover

I’ve been canning most of my life. I grew up on a dairy farm in Indiana and canning was a part of our daily lives. Whether it be going to the basement to get a jar of something good for supper or putting up particular produce that was in season to enjoy later. The first thing I learned to can is my favorite Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles. My grandma would let me help slice the pickles and onions, then pack them tightly in the jars. To me, they were a treat as good as candy. I would sit down with a fork in hand and eat them right out of the jar.

After I was married I realized what a time saver it was to have food already prepared in jars on busy nights. It also became quickly clear to me that the amount of money I could save canning my own food was substantial. Not to mention the quality of the product was far superior to store-bought.

How do I start canning at home?

Take some time to learn the terms and proper procedures to safely canning your own food at home. Here are some terms to become familiar with.

  • Lid – The flat circle part of the sealing set that goes on top of the jar first. The bottom side has a rubber seal around the edge. It can only be used once.
  • Band – The round part that screws on after the lid is placed on the jar. Some people call them rings also. They are reusable.
  • Headspace – The amount of empty space you leave from the top of the product in your jar to the top of the jar.
  • Waterbath – Method of canning for high acid or high sugar foods like pickles, tomato sauce or jams. Filled cans are boiled in a large water bath canner which resembles a big stockpot. It is filled with water and the jars of food are boiled for a set amount of time.
  • Pressure Canning – Method of canning for low acid foods, like meat and vegetables. A pressure cooker reaches a higher temperature needed to safely preserve low acid foods.
  • Finger-Tight – Tightness of screwing on the band just using your hands.
  • Processing time – The amount of time you need to boil or pressurize jars of food to ensure bacteria is killed and food can safely be stored.

Next, I suggest you purchase or check out from your library a few basic how-to canning books to read. Each book has a how-to guide in the front and then recipes that will inspire you to get started.

Ball Canning Back To Basics
The book begins with in-depth information on water bath canning, the equipment you need, and food safety guidance. Each preserving method is thoroughly explained with beginner-friendly tutorials and step-by-step photographs highlighting key steps. Learn to capture the sweet, ripe flavors of your favorite fruits and vegetables with 100 approachable, versatile recipes for the modern pantry
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ball canning book
The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning: Everything You Need to Know to Can Meats, Vegetables, Meals in a Jar, and More
An overview of pressure canning basics that includes guidance for buying a pressure canner and pressure canning fundamentals and over 80 recipe ideas to inspire you to try.
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pressure canning cookbook

How long does home canning last?

The seal on your home canned goods should be good for years but I follow best practices and try to use my home canning food within a year. Here are some tips for making your canning seals last.

  • Buy only good quality seals and rings. I like to stick with a well-known brand such as Ball or Kerr. Off brands have failed for me. The rubber seal is thinner and does not seal right after canning.
  • Write the date of processing/sealing with a permanent marker on top of your lid seals. That way you will know how long they have been stored.
  • Store in a cool and dry dark area.
  • Follow all best practices for pressure canning or water bath canning.

What can not be home canned?

Most fruits, vegetables, and meats can be home canned with proper sealing techniques. However, there are a few items that can not safely be canned.

  • Milk products such as milk, cheese, sour cream, butter, and yogurts – Milk has a low-acid level and supports an environment that fosters botulism growth at room temperature. Many times, the fat in milk can also protect botulism spores during the canning process.
  • Fats such as lard, oil & mayo – The fat will not allow the heat of the canning process to penetrate the contents, allowing the food to house spores and other harmful bacteria.
  • Refried beans – The thickness of the refried beans is too much for the heat to penetrate the interior 
  • Some vegetables such as brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, and olives should only be preserved via pickling. If not they tend to turn mushy and change colors.
  • Flour products such as cakes, pasta, and bread are very prone to botulism.
  • Nuts – Most nuts have an oily texture and can lead to botulism

CANNING SUPPLIES

Canners

Water Bath Canner
A water bath canner is a large pot with a removable metal rack which makes it easy water bath can in large batches.
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water canner
Roots & Branches FruitSaver Aluminum Steam Canner with Temperature Indicator, 7 Quart Jar capacity
Save time, energy and water by harnessing the power of steam! Seal 8 pint or 7-quart jars per batch; lid with a built-in thermometer for accurate processing times; canning rack included.
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steamer canner
All-American 25 Quart Non-Electric Pressure Canner
This is my favorite canner, the only pressure canner I am comfortable using. With proper upkeep it is so durable you will pass it down to the next generation.
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pressure cooker

Canning Jars & Lids

I have had the same jars for 30+ years. Some were even handed down to me by my grandma. Always run your finger over the rim before using a jar feeling for any tiny chips. If it is not smooth don’t use it for canning.

Ball Regular Mouth Pint 16-oz Mason Jar with Lids and Bands
24 jars, seals, and rings. Ideal for sliced fruits and vegetables, pickles, tomato-based juices, and sauces.
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ball canning jars
Weck Mold Jar Combo Pack
Weck jars are perfect to preserve your food in and give as beautiful gifts.
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weck jars
6 Mini Tulip Jelly Jar with Glass Lids 6 Rings and 12 Clamps
Wide mouth for easy filling. Beautifully displays your preserved and stored foods and home goods.
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weck jars
Ball Regular Mouth Canning Mason Jar Lids 12-Pieces per Pack
Includes 12 lids with metal construction for regular mouth canning jars.
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canning seals
Weck 100mm Rubber Seals / Rings (Set of 10). Fits WECK Models 739 740 741 742 743 744 745 748.
Rubber seals for 100mm (approx. 4″) Weck jars.
BPA free.
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canning rings

Basic Canning Supplies – Utensiles and Tools

Canning Supplies Basic Starter Kit
Canning kit for beginners with 6 pack essential tools for canning and dehydrating, included a canning funnel, jar wrench, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, canning tongs, bubble popper/bubble measurer/bubble remover tool for home canning
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canning tools

Advanced Canning Supplies – Utensils and Tools

Ok, this section is where I can go crazy. There are so many helpful tools and gadgets to make home canning easier when doing large batches. Just start collecting a few items as you need them. Also, keep an eye out in thrift shops or garage sales for them.

Jam Pot
A jam pot is a specially designed wide pan that is ideal for cooking down fruits to your desired consistency. Perfect for making homemade jams, marmalade, and chutney.
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jam pot
OXO Good Grips Cherry and Olive Pitter
Pitting cherries and olives so the fruit remains whole is easy with this time-saving tool.
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pitter
OXO Good Grips Food Mill
A quick and convenient way to grind or puree foods for canning
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strainer
KitchenAid Stand Mixer Attachment Pack Food Grinder/Fruit Vegetable Strainer/Rotor Slicer Shredder
This is a big help if you are canning large quantities of produce.
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kitchen aid appliances

Preserved Food Gift Giving

Gift Tags,120 PCS Kraft Paper Tags with Natural Jute Twine
Perfect for tying around pretty jars of preserves to give as gift.s
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tags
600 Pieces Canning Label Stickers
Easy to clean: the colorful label stickers are made of paper, safe and reliable to use, they are easy to use and clean, you can conveniently peel them off and not leave marks on your jars
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tags

Canning Cookbooks

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
This book includes comprehensive directions on safe canning and preserving methods plus lists of required equipment and utensils. Specific instructions for first-timers and handy tips for the experienced make this book a valuable addition to any kitchen library.
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ball home preserving book
Not Your Mama’s Canning Book: Modern Canned Goods and What to Make with Them
Are you interested in learning how to can food or to try new recipes for canning food? Do you enjoy both savory and sweet canned goods? Rebecca Lindamood has the recipes for you!
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canning book
Beginner’s Guide to Canning: 90 Easy Recipes to Can, Savor, and Gift
The Beginner’s Guide to Canning teaches you everything you need to know about water bath and pressure canning, with plenty of recipes for jams, pickles, vegetables, soups, and more.
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canning cookbook beginers

Estimating Fruit & Vegetable Yields Per Pound Guide

I have created this free printable guide to make it quick and easy to know how much produce you need to pick or buy for your next canning project. Be sure to print for later.

To learn more about canning be sure and visit National Center For Home Preservation. You will find more canning supplies suggestions, safe practices, and recipes.

Put your canning supplies to work with these recipes