Thursday, May 10, 2012

Canning 101: Supplies Needed

Last year, I was on a mission to learn how to can my own jam as well as other gift items for Christmas; however, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a brand new canning system unless I knew I was going to use it.  Come to find out, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to start preserving!  Please note, the method of canning I will be explaining over the next several months is the water-bath method.  You can can most all fruits using this method as well as tomato-based items.  I have found it is easiest to freeze vegetables instead of canning them (which would require a pressure canner).
The supplies needed to start canning (water-bath method):

Glass Jars

I went onto Freecycle (or you could try Craigslist) in our area and asked if anyone had any mason jars they would like to get rid of.  I was inundated with emails of people who were more than happy to get rid of their mason jars.  One woman gave me so many that the boxes barely fit into the back of my car. The only expense was gas to drive 12 miles to her home to pick them up. I got over 100 mason jars for free!!


Because I had used jars, I didn’t have the lids needed to seal the food inside the jar.  In the spring, I have found that Dollar General and Family Dollar both have little boxes of these lids.  They are $1 for 10-12 lids.  I have found these lids to fit all of the mason jars I have: quart, pint, and some odd brand names that I’ve never heard of.  I had the ring to put on the lids from some of the jars that were given to me, so those weren’t necessary.

Photo Credit

I found a great deal on all of the tools I could ever need for canning on Amazon for less than $13!  They were perfect and exactly what I needed to start my journey into canning!

Photo Credit

Another item I found on Amazon was a plastic basket.  This basket enables you to process (cook) 4-5 half pint jars or 2 quart jars at a time.  This is not the type of equipment for those who are looking to can hundreds of jars of food a year, but it was perfect for my 50-60 jars of homemade jams, applesauce, and pie in a jar!  This cost less than $12, and it even came with 3 pint jars along with canning recipes inside.

Stock Pot

While canning with the pint jars, I used a stock pot that I had available.  When canning using the water-bath method, you want to have a couple of inches of water over the top of the glass jars.  This is easy to do with the pint jars; however, I borrowed a huge stock pot (turkey fryer) from my dad to can the quart jars.

This is all you “need” when it comes to canning!

The initial cost is less than $30 (even less if you use SwagBucks like I did!) I am so excited to start canning again this year!

Have you ever preserved your food by canning?
If not, would you like to learn how?


  1. The stock pot rules. Although I find myself often just making spaghetti in mine! :)

    1. I'm with you on that one, Antonio! I love. love. love. spaghetti! :-)

  2. Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings

    The most recent edition - - open until Thursday 6/7.