Canning 101

Want to Can Your Own Food? Here’s How to Get Started With Home Canning


Welcome to Home Canning 101! Use these links to jump directly to a specific section:


Home Canning 101

What You *Need* to Start Canning

To get started canning, you really need very little! You need the freshest produce, a safe recipe, some canning jars, a large boiling pot and a few necessary tools to get started with water bath canning. With a little bit more knowledge and a pressure canner you can even can meats and non-acidic vegetable recipes, (among other things.) You can process as much or as little at a time as you want. That all depends on the size of your pot, your free time, how many canning jars you have and your storage space.


Water Bath Canning

Water bath canning is the quickest to learn and the one most people feel comfortable learning first. It does have it’s limitations, since your recipes have to be above a certain acidity level to be canned in a water bath as opposed to a pressure canner.  (If you’re confused: “water bath” simply means boiling it in hot water for a specified amount of time, we’ll get into that.)

Supplies for water bath method:

21.5 Quart Steel/Porcelain Canning Pot w/Rack, $29.45 on Amazon

Classic Housewife Affiliate Link

Presto 6pc, 7 Function Canning Kit, $14.99 on Amazon

Classic Housewife Affiliate Link

… OR …

Your own large thick-bottomed pot and:

Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit, $10.88 on Amazon:

Classic Housewife Affiliate Link

And your own kitchen tools:

A long handled magnet to pick up lids, a plastic orange peeler works well to check for air bubbles, and a mini ruler or sewing/seam gauge works well for checking head space.

Articles and information for water bath method:

Our favorite water bath recipes to begin with:

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Pressure-Canning

Pressure canning isn’t much more difficult but you do need more equipment, it does take longer and there are more “rules” to follow. If you have your supplies and follow the rules, it’s no big deal. Also, we usually get a larger batch out of our pressure canner which offsets the longer processing time at least a little. (Newbies: Pressure canning is done in a pressure canner — which is SIMILAR to a pressure cooker, but is NOT THE SAME as the pressure cooker that you cook your roast in. We’ll get to that, too.)

Additional supplies needed for pressure method:

Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner, $74.97 on Amazon (best deal we’ve found so far.)

Extra canning rack for stacking pints: Presto Canning Rack, $9.99 on Amazon:

Articles and information for pressure method:

Our favorite pressure canned recipes to begin with:

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Other Canning Supplies

You may be able to find these more economically from your local store or Wal-Mart. However, if you don’t have them in your area (or they’re overpriced,) they’re available on Amazon – and most of them are eligible for Prime shipping. Check the prices in your local stores and compare them with these:

Of course you need canning jars!

You can choose between wide and regular mouth. I prefer wide mouth pints and quarts but then you need to carry lids and rings for both sizes. I’m totally cool with that, but the choice is yours.

Ball Wide Mouth Quart Jars, 12, $12.73 plus shipping
Ball Wide Mouth Pint Jars, 12, $12.99 plus shipping
Ball Half-Pint Jars, 12, $13.49 (Prime Shipping available)
Ball Quarter-Pint Jars, 12, $15.69 (Prime Shipping available)
Replacement Lids,12, (Choose wide or regular mouth.) $5.42 or $4.25 (Prime shipping available)
Dissolvable Labels, 60, $6.33 (Prime shipping available)

Pectin and other things:

Powdered Pectin, 4.7 ounces, $7.78 (Prime Shipping available)
Liquid Pectin, 6 ounces, $5.97 (Prime Shipping available)
Citric Acid, 1.3 ounces, $7.49 (Prime Shipping available)
Clear Gel, 1 pound, $12.20 (Prime Shipping available)

Pickling Salt, 3 lbs, $13.02 (Prime Shipping available)
Pickling Lime, 1 lb, $5.19 plus shipping

Mrs. Wages Salsa Mix, 1 pack, $8.22 w/ free shipping
Mrs. Wages Pasta Sauce Mix, 6 packs, $28.94 plus shipping
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Recommended Canning Cookbooks and Websites

Now you’ve got your supplies and you just need something to make right? We’ve collected a variety of great, trustworthy cookbooks and websites with recipes. Many of the recipes cater to the small batch canning that we do (small amounts at a time) but some are recipes for very large batch canning (like a year’s worth of tomato sauce all at once.)

Trustworthy Recipe Books

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Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, $8.55 and up on Amazon:

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, $13.35 on Amazon:

So Easy to Preserve, $18.00 from University of Georgia Cooperative Extension:

Better Homes & Gardens: You Can Can!, $11.40 on Amazon:

Better Homes & Gardens: Can It!, $11.38 on Amazon:

Put ‘Em Up!, $12.36 on Amazon:

The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving, $13.22 on Amazon:

Trustworthy Canning Sites/Blogs

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Canning Jar Has a Nick? Can’t Be Used For Canning?

Once the mouth of the jar has been damaged, it can no longer be used for canning purposes. If you do it might not seal properly and that could allow bad and/or deadly bacteria to grow in your food!
Aas long as the nick or ding isn’t sharp and dangerous, there’s a variety of OTHER ways to use those canning jars that don’t involve canning foods! Use them for decoration, grow herbs in them — just make sure they don’t get mixed up with your good jars again.

Repurpose Old Canning Jars:

I have a Pinterest board dedicated to using canning jars in creative ways. I’ve also included some creative canning labels and things.

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Our Canning Journey

Check out some of the things we’ve made:
(More coming soon! Though we’ve been canning, we haven’t been blogging it.. yet. But I’m starting now…)

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