Canning Essentials - Canning Books, Tools, and Supplies for the Novice or Experienced Canner

Canning Essentials:  Books and Tools for Hobbyists and Enthusiasts Alike

It's been rumored we are passionate about cooking and gardening.  So, it stands to reason that we are into canning too.  The act of canning brings these two passions together and seals them up in a crystal clear jar.  Yea, it's more than true… we are kinda canning nuts.  Every fall we put up sauces, chutneys, salsas, jellies, jams, pickles, and more.  It's how we eat through most of the winter.  

Over the years we have had a lot of questions from friends, students, and guests to the blog about items they should purchase to get them started on the road to canning bliss.  Rather than writing you each back individually we compiled a list of the top items you may not already have in your kitchen (we assume you'll have towels and measuring cups…).  From our favorite books to fancy jars and pressure canners, following is a list of items that you may want to invest in to make your canning easier.  Click on the photo or the link for each item to view the item on and purchase it. 

Books and Recipes

As far as instruction books for the beginning canning enthusiast go, we always recommend The Blue Book Guide to Preserving.  This is the one must have book for anyone canning.  FIlled with instructions that are easy to follow and recipes that are straightforward this book is your gateway into a love affair with canning.

Then we move onto the big brother of preserving instruction manuals.  The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has 400 recipes for you to try. From jellies and jams, to chutneys, pie fillings, and ketchups and mustards (Notice the plural there) this is the book we reach for.  Yea, we really do!
Again, its easy to find what you need and instructions are perfect.  You can not fail if you just follow the steps laid out.


Here is a nifty gadget to have around for those of you experimenting with canning or are planning on just making a few cans of jelly for yourselves.  This kit, the Ball® Home Canning Discovery Kit, is one of the cooler items out now.  The polypropylene basket, is large enough to hold three pint jars (included in the kit), and turns any stockpot into a waterbath canner.  We tried this out a few years ago and LOVED it.  If you are interested in trying out canning but are not ready to buy larger equipment this is the way to go

There are a few ways to go when it comes to waterbath canners.  You can opt for buying the main utensils, (funnel, jar lifter, and headspace gauge) separately then purchase the canner.  Or, you can just get it all in in one kit.  
Personally, I believe if you are going to waterbath can, get everything at once… just my opinion though.


Canning jars can be found in most grocery stores.  Depending on what you are canning, and how much you make, you may need multiple sizes (e.g. half pint, pint, and quart).  When buying in sets like these you will get your lids and bands along with the jar.  WIth respect and proper handling you'll be able to  re-use the jar and bands for years to come and easily buy the lids each season.
One Note: Do not use cleaned out mayo jars.  It's tempting, but don't.

Pressure Canner

And finally we come to the big mama of canning… the Pressure Canner.  Do not confuse this with a Pressure Cooker.  Whereas a Presser Canner can be used for cooking, a Pressure Cooker should never be used for canning.  Pressure Canners are specially calibrated to provide the exact pressure needed for canning low acid foods and meats safely.  

No, it will not blow up the kitchen like your grandmother's did that one time… we have a few of those stories from our childhoods too.  Modern Pressure canners are equipped with numerous safety valves, are VERY easy to use, and will ensure your family has canned green beans, fresh corn, and butternut squash all winter long.  Oolongs (that's a technical term for a whole lotta) of recipes for this device can be found in the The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving too.

These are just a handful of the magnificent items you can play with when you decide to take up canning.  Again, the process of canning is easy to learn and fun to do.  Give it a try!  Leave us a message here telling us what you end up canning this year.  
RIght now we're off to can some Spicy Asian Plum Sauce.  

talk to you soon!
Jason & Shannon
The Shibaguyz