Radish Stew

A Central Texas Gardening Journal

Monday, October 26, 2009

Canning Equipment

The equipment which I use for canning is pictured here. On the left is the granitewear pot which is specially made for canning. The white rack in the middle front fits into the pot and holds the jars in place. One may certainly can without this tool, but I encourage its use for safety and convenience. This pot is sized for pint jars, but I have another for quarts. The canning pot holds seven jars. The blue enamel pot in the back and the stainless pot next to it are used to cook the  vegetables and the vinegar solutions. The pointy strainer is popularly called a china Cap and is a heavy duty strainer. The green plastic tool in the front is used to fill jars. Tongs are important for handling hot jars, lids, and caps. Another tool, standing in front of the stainless pot, is a jar lifter. Even though the rack for the canning pot has handles which can be used to lift the entire batch of jars out of the boiling water, I prefer to lift them one by one with the jar lifter.

The jars shown are pint with a regular mouth, pint with a wide mouth, and half pint which has a regular mouth. I usually use wide mouth for pickles and regular mouth for relishes and jellies. The wide mouth jars fit very tightly in the canner, making the regular mouth easier to handle. Jars are sold by the dozen. They can be reused if they are in perfect condition. The rims hold the lids in place during canning. They can be removed after the lids are sealed, but I always leave them to be used after the jar is open. The lids are not reusable, but the rims are. It is possible to buy lids only or lids and rims together for times when you reuse jars.

When I am canning, I always have another pot of boiling water on the stove. I use it to boil the jars before filling them and to add to the canning pot to cover the lids of the jars if I have underestimated the amount of water necessary.


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