Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 20 of 57 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I want to start canning.
Can anyone recommend a good brand of canner?
Some ideas to can for beginners?
And any advice from your previous canning experiences.
Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,468 Posts
Pick up the Ball canning book. It will walk you through A-Z. Start with something easy like tomatoes (the acid makes it partially self-preserving) then move up to Jelly or sauce (lots more prep work, but still self preserving).

Don't cut back on sugar or salt or vinegar in the recipe. These things are needed to help preserve the food. Even substituting a different fruit can change the amount of pectin or moisture in the end result, so stick to the recipes. (Ok, I break this rule all the time, adjusting spices other than salt or making more brine if my tomatoes are too dry, but in general it's best not to stray far.)

You can get a decent canner in a garage sale, get the seals tested by the co-operative extension office and replace the seals if needed. Make sure it has a rack to keep jars up off the bottom of the canner, some used ones are missing racks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
I would start with things you can process in a water bath canner. Tomatoes, jams & jellies, applesauce. Ball Blue Book will outline it for you. Then once you are comfortable with that you can move on to Pressure Canning. Have fun!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,468 Posts
Salt is also required for safe fermentation. Salt controls which microorganisms can live in the culture. (Not 100%, but it excludes some nasties.) So sauerkraut, fermented pickles, etc need the salt levels called for in the recipe.

In Jam the sugar is critical, in tomato sauce it's not, but for a newbie it's better to just follow the recipes and learn about the whys and what can be tinkered with when later.

(Even sugar in jam can be messed with, with enough pectin and lemon juice, but that's an advanced topic.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,468 Posts
We should also probably point out that older recipes may have the wrong vinegar amounts, as modern vinegar is weaker than they used to make it. Be leery of any old recipes that use vinegar as a preservative.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
979 Posts
For canning - A water bath canner is affordable at places like walmart. Apple pie filling, apple sauce, jams/jellies, relishes, pickles, etc can be done in a water bath canner. Here is a link to what a typical one looks like http://www.amazon.com/Granite-0707-1-Porcelain-Water-Bath-21-5-Quart/dp/B0001UZL8A

If you want a pressure canner, then I would recommend an All American pressure canner. I have the model 921 and like it. It is well built and will do the job for a long time. Here is a link to what they look like - http://www.amazon.com/All-American-921-2-Quart-Pressure/dp/B00004S88Z The nice thing about the All American is that there are no rubber rings/gaskets between the lid and pot. Plus, if it matters (to some it does, to some it doesn't), the All American's are made in Wisconsin.

The Ball Blue book is like the bible of canning. There is another book by ball (The Complete Book of Home Preserving (??)) with other recipes, and a few other canning books out there too.

If you want something easy - I could post a thread with pictures showing how to make chunky apple sauce (my young 'uns even helped :) ).

If you decide to make apple pie filling (or another recipe) - if a recipe calls for corn starch (many apple pie filling recipes do) then don't use regular corn starch as they say it isn't safe for canning. I use Ultra Gel - here is a link to what the package looks like http://www.amazon.com/Cornabys-Ultra-Gel-Gluten-Free-Thickener/dp/B00910LUQS You can also use Clearjel - but I use the ultra gel as it is non-gmo (it matters to some but not to others :) ).

Welcome to the world of canning. :thumb:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,060 Posts
First, Hurray and awesome for you for wanting to start canning.

Yup, get that Ball book.

Then stop by garage sales & second hand stores 'til you find an old pressure canner. Be sure the lid fits firmly. Probably cost you five bucks, a new one is $150. Don't forget to sneak a peek for used canning jars, a canning funnel, tongs for pulling hot jars.

Now go to your hardware store, get the rubber seal that fits your lid and a new pressure gauge. You're all set with equipment.

When you find something you want to can, carefully follow the instructions in the Ball canning book.

It's easy peasy and sooooo satisfying to see your own home canned food on the shelf.

Just go for it and keep us posted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
First, Hurray and awesome for you for wanting to start canning.

Yup, get that Ball book.

Then stop by garage sales & second hand stores 'til you find an old pressure canner. Be sure the lid fits firmly. Probably cost you five bucks, a new one is $150. Don't forget to sneak a peek for used canning jars, a canning funnel, tongs for pulling hot jars.

Now go to your hardware store, get the rubber seal that fits your lid and a new pressure gauge. You're all set with equipment.

When you find something you want to can, carefully follow the instructions in the Ball canning book.

It's easy peasy and sooooo satisfying to see your own home canned food on the shelf.

Just go for it and keep us posted.
Thank you. I'm excited. I haven't had any luck finding any used, just the jars. Will probably have to buy it new,
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,622 Posts
When you're just starting out, I would suggest a Mirro canner. A 12 qt. model will do 10 pints or 7 quarts at a time and only cost you about $65, whereas an All American of the same size will run about three times as much.

One of the best things about the Mirro is that you don't have to deal with a gauge that is constantly having to be recalibrated. The Mirro works with a weight and they never have to be recalibrated.

I have 6 canners - three 12 quart Mirros, will do 7 qts, 10 regular mouth pints or 13 half-pints each,

Two 22 qt Mirros will do 7 quarts, 20 pints or 38 half-pints each,

and a large Presto (not sure of size). I prefer the Mirros (could you guess?)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,205 Posts
I paid $25 for my Mirro canner at a yard sale. Had to replace the gasket but that was less than $20 for two.

Gauges are supposed to be tested and calibrated regularly. In some places you'll have no problem getting that done. In other places nobody has any idea what a pressure canner gauge is.

Watch the prices of second-hand jars. I've seen them for as little as a quarter each to $1 and more each. I can't understand why anyone would think $1 each with no lid and ring is a better deal than 12 jars for $10 brand new at the store.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,622 Posts
Thank you. I'm excited. I haven't had any luck finding any used, just the jars. Will probably have to buy it new,
Put an advertisement up in your local church bulletin board, laundry mat, pet store and even the newpaper, especially if you have a "shopper" type paper. Many people, especially older people, don't have the desire to can any more and will give you for free or very cheap, their canners. I've found several at the auction in my area.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,205 Posts
SS is your gasket the grey one? Mine was. Tried it before actually canning with it, good thing because it leaked like crazy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,965 Posts
I would second sniper69's comment on the All American for a pressure canner. He/she stated some of the reasons why it is worth the cost, an additional one is the duplication of the pressure gauge and the weight. I thought it was redundant at first, but now I count on it/them.

I don't know where you are in Indiana, but if you would like company when you get started, I live about an hour s/w of Indianapolis and would be glad to help. I'm in the middle of some recuperation right now, but should be good to go after the holidays. This is the perfect time of year to be canning meats and beans in a pressure canner. You can get a great head start on filling your pantry before you even plant your garden. :)

Welcome to the forum!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Vosey and sniper69
1 - 20 of 57 Posts
Top