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Adam_MA

Canning supplies

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Adam_MA   

OK, I need to learn how to can. I have been doing some research and while the price of the Presto pressure canners looks much easier to swallow, I have a feeling you get what you pay for. Therefore I think the All American unit is the way to go. I am thinking the model 915 should be adequate for my needs. I have found a few different places on the net that sell these, and would like to know if you have any preference with any suppliers. Also, is it better to buy my jars locally, or on the web, and what jars are best? I have been hearing about the Ball Blue Book. Is that the best one for me to get, or are there better ones out there? I know I will need some tools, and have seen kits that have a funnel, lifter, jar wrench. Are all of these tools necessary, or could I save some money by getting just the 1 or 2 things I need. Also, what other accessories, and supplies should I be getting right away?

 

I know it's a lot of questions, but I'm new to this.

Thank you in advance

Adam

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Vic303   

I'd say get the Ball book, and if you want the AA canner, GREAT! I wishI had one, but my Presto was free, so it works for me. I suggest you look on ebay for an AA canner a bit cheaper. You may find one there. Also check out your local garage sales for jars, as well as the local Salv.Army/Goodwill stores. Rings & lids can be had at Walmart cheap. On jars be sure they are REAL canning jars (ball or mason or kerr) and not chipped or cracked. New can be had at walmart for pretty cheap too. I prefer widemouth jars. Funnels are cheap in a 4pack at walmart, and I took the biggest & hacksawed off the bottom, to make a wider opening so stuff like salsa or chunky spag. sauce would flow through.

 

I don't use a jar wrench, I do wish I had a jar rack or at least a proper jar lifter. The grill tongs work...sort of! I did buy a huge tamale pot to use as a waterbath canner. $20 IIRC.

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Darlene   

Adam, we're so glad you've joined us and we look forward to sharing the journey with you as you learn how to home can.

 

Now, with THAT said...a canner pretty much is a canner, is a canner, is a canner, BUT here are my own personal preferences.

 

I own 4 All American canners...2 941's, 1 920 and 1 910. I learned to can on my mom's old traditional canner and it did fine but, the All American's are the Mercedes and tanks of canner, and the only one I would personally invest in with the volume of canning they do. The weighted gauge is also the only way I'd go, that way I never have to deal with getting my dial gauge checked for pressure, and in TSHTF scenarios, the last thing I wanna worry about is whether my dial pressure gauge is accurate or not. The 915 is a great model and size, with the 7 quarts/10 pint capacity. The AA's tend to weigh more because of how they're built, so the 915 will be easier to move around, especially when it's filled with jars.

 

FP0915.jpg

 

The jar funnel is a MUST for me. I started canning without having one (I didn't know that they even had them lol) and it's alot more difficult getting the foods into the jars. I have several of them (metal and plastic) and they all work fine.

 

bl%2D10400_BIG.jpg

 

You can find canning kits that sell the funnel, sealing ring lift want, jar lifter and bubble freer that pretty much will be the range of tools you'd need to home can. The sealing ring lift wand has a magnet at the bottom, so when you steralize the seals and rings to put on your jars in hot water, the magnet helps to pull them out one by one. The only problem I've run into with them is that the magnet can fall out of the wand. The jar lifter is priceless. I started canning without one (another tool I didn't know they made) and used to lift my jars out of the canner with just pot holders which got messy because the pot holders would get wet and the heat would just scorch through them while lifting the jars to set on the counter. The bubble freer is a nice gadget, but I've found many things I already have in the kitchen that can do the same job it does. After you fill your jars, you want to get out the bubbles left inside, and you just run that plastic tool down the inside glass part of the jar to free up the bubbles.

 

bb%2D286_BIG.jpg

 

The Ball Blue Book of Canning is an excellent resource for canners, whether they be new or old, so yes, I would suggest you get a copy of that also. Another reliable resource for home canning processing times is the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Their url is http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/ .

 

prod-0000248-zoom.jpg

 

As far as water bath canners goes, they have specific types of pots to do water bath canning in. Personally, I don't have a traditional water bath canner. I just use my huge cooking pots and my turkey roaster to accomplish the same thing.

 

bl%2Dcankit_BIG.jpg

 

As far as the jars go, Jardin Home Brands is the maker of the Ball, Kerr and Golden Harvest canning jars. It appears that which model of canning jar just depends on which area of the country you live in. They are all fine to use. I think if you can locate a supply of canning jars in your area, you will save alot of money buying them that way, than to order them off the net. I've never found a cheaper place to buy them on the net other than ordering them directly from the manufacturer (which I did a couple of times, but they have to be ordered in pallets). Walmart, Big Lots, grocery stores, etc all sell the canning jars. Another place to potentially get jars from is at www.freecycle.org . That is a place where people either offer up, or post wanted ads for items they are giving away or want. I know that westie and a few other people have landed many cases of free canning jars from people who no longer wanted them.

 

bl%2D62000_BIG.jpg

 

The rings are reusable over and over again, until they lose their protective coating and begin to rust. The general rule of thumb on the sealing lids is to only use them once because there is a greater risk of improper sealing if used over and over, but many of us have taken that risk and been successful at it. I would suggest you use new seals till you get the hang of home canning before you start to push the envelope.

 

bl%2D30000_BIG.jpg

 

It sounds like alot of stuff for a start up, but the jars, canner, rings and tools are something you'll use over and over again. I hope this helps you to get started on collecting what you need to begin your home canning journey.

 

This is so much fun! (at least for me lolol)

 

curtsey

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Darlene   

Adam, I personally don't have any experience with the canningpantry.com, but maybe others do. They appear to have some good prices also. You might also want to check out ebay for some of these things.

 

And yes, you could use your canner as a water bath canner.

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Shawna   

Hello Adam and welcome5

 

This is my personal take on being new to canning:

 

I have been water-bath canning for probably 12 years, going on 2 years pressure canning. Things you absolutely need are ;

 

-Jars

-Lids and bands

-a big pot for water bath....or if you're taking the plunge, a pressure canner

-a jar lifter

-funnel

 

That's it to start! This is the bare minimum and is what I started with. I did not have a rack for my canner, so I used a dishcloth in the bottom of the canner so the jars were not touching the bottom of the pan. I (still) use a pair of barbecue tongs to lift my lids out of the water. I have never used a jar wrench or the little thingy to get air bubbles out (I use a small spatula for the air bubbles).

 

As for a book, the Ball Blue Book is the basic. I had one years and years ago, but have learned that the interneet is the mother of all canning books grin I have a three-ring binder that I keep all my canning recipes in (that I print off the 'net) and it serves me very well. It's specific to what *I* can and I can find any recipe, any canning time by doing a quick search.

 

Jars: Well, put the word out that you're gonna be canning!! You'd be amazed at how many people have jars they are not using and are happy to offload them. Put a post on your local Freecycle site....I just got scads of jars by posting on there. Watch yard sales and auctions....you can usually pick up jars dirt cheap! Only thing you have to check for is that the jars are not cracked and that they don't have any nicks at the opening.

 

The lids you'll need to stock up on depending on how much you're going to can. Bands you can use over and over....I have a few dozen each of wide-mouthed and regular bands. You only need as many bands as what you can can in a day.....after your jars cool and sit overnight, you just remove the bands anyhow, so you can just re-use them.

 

OK, that's my 2 1/2 cents on the subject!! LOL!! As you progress in your canning you can start to get all the goodies that make life easier. But for just starting, this is my take on the minimum.

 

Good luck!! Keep posting and letting us know how it's going!!!

 

star

Shawna

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Adam_MA   

Thanks for the extra info Shawna. I didn't know that you remove the bands for storage. Isn't there a risk of air leaking into the jar without the band being on tight?

 

I ended up ordering all of my stuff just a couple of minutes ago. I went with the All American pressure canner, one of the tool kits, and the Ball Blue Book.

 

I think I might start with that salsa recipe I just looked at in here!

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Vic303   

No, you're supposed to store canned jars without the bands--too tight and you can disturb the seal. I like to leave them on, but loose. That way when I open the seal, I can close the jar for storage in the fridge (salsa in particular).

 

Now Darlene, how on earth do you remove the lid without damaging the thin metal? I have to PRY mine off, and they all get dented or bent.

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here is some thoughts...

 

go to http://freecycle.org

 

find your state then cities nearest you

 

join and ask for canning equipment.. jars, canners, books, anything! I got 30 cases of brand new jars last year, 10 cases of used jars, 2 water bath canners, glass funnel, jar puller, and a few other related items.

 

Doesn't hurt to ask and it is free.

 

one of the things that happens with the lid lifter is the hot water causes the glue to unstick and the magnet falls out of the end! I prefer using a stainless steel funnel because I like the way it cleans up and it lasts forever.

 

do you need any of these items? not really, but it saves time.. a jar puller is quicker then ladeling the water out so you can grab the top of the jar with a towel.

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Shawna   
Originally Posted By: Vic303

Now Darlene, how on earth do you remove the lid without damaging the thin metal? I have to PRY mine off, and they all get dented or bent.


I don't know how Darlene removes hers, but I use a bottle opener (like the kind on the end of a hand-held can opener) and it doesn't damage the lids.

HTH!
Shawna

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Shawna   
Originally Posted By: Adam_MA
Thanks for the extra info Shawna. I didn't know that you remove the bands for storage. Isn't there a risk of air leaking into the jar without the band being on tight?

I ended up ordering all of my stuff just a couple of minutes ago. I went with the All American pressure canner, one of the tool kits, and the Ball Blue Book.

I think I might start with that salsa recipe I just looked at in here!


The bands are just a tool....sort of a means to an end...they simply hold the lid in place until the seal is formed. After the seal is made, the bands really serve no purpose, unless you use them to hold the lid on after opening! I like to use the plastic lids to store opened jars (someone here turned me onto the plastic lids about a year or so ago and they are great! You can find them online or at places like hardware stores that sell a nice line of caning supplies.)

grin
Shawna

http://www.canningpantry.com/bareplstca.html


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FYI, check discount stores as well. I know Old Time Pottery carries canners occasionally, and I got the red set that Darlene posted for 6 bucks at Big Lots. The Ball book I got at WM for less than 6.

 

Without reading the replies (or all of them, anyway) keep in mind, whilst you can't use the lids more than once (though some argue you can) you can however hold onto the rings and reuse them until there is excessive rust. Another thing, once your items are sealed, you can remove the ring. All it does is hold the flat in place til it seals.

 

I'm so excited we have another canner on board. Those first pings you here will be the best ever! LOL

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Originally Posted By: Shawna
Originally Posted By: Vic303

Now Darlene, how on earth do you remove the lid without damaging the thin metal? I have to PRY mine off, and they all get dented or bent.


I don't know how Darlene removes hers, but I use a bottle opener (like the kind on the end of a hand-held can opener) and it doesn't damage the lids.

HTH!
Shawna


I slide a butter knife just under the metal edge and twist. As long as you can get air in there, you'll here the infamous suck sound & pop.

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Darlene   

I leave the rings on all my jars lol...but after they've cooled and are ready to be put up, I unscrew all the bands and wash the filled jars and bands, dry them, then put them back on.

 

I personally think they protect the seal better.

 

Different strokes for different folks.

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Adam_MA   

Thanks for all the extra info, this is all great stuff.

 

When I buy a case of new jars, does it come with the lids and rings in the box, or do I have to buy the first set separate from the jars?

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MomM   

The new jars come with the lids and rings on the jars. I try to buy an extra box of lids for each case of new jars. Have fun.

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Adam_MA   

I hope I'm not driving you all crazy yet..

 

I can see in the picture that the canner I purchased has a dial gauge, but does it also have a weight gauge as well? It seems that from what I am reading, the weight would be better, because I wouldn't have to have the gauge verified every year.

 

Thanks

Adam

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Darlene   

Adam, don't worry about asking questions...we love helping people learn the skills that others took the time to pass onto us over the years.

 

Yes, your canner will have a dial gauge and a weighted gauge. I guess it's kind of a plus, to be able to visually see the approximate pressure, while relying on the weight to gauge it acurrately.

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