Canning Supplies: A Buyer’s Guide
Canning and preserving have become popular hobbies for the home gardener, and local estate sales are often a wonderful place to purchase canning equipment. However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to know what to look for when shopping for canning equipment at estate sales. Here are a few considerations.
Know your Jars
The first thing to consider when shopping for canning equipment at estate sales is the type of canning jars you will need. There are two main types of canning jars: wide-mouth and regular-mouth. Wide-mouth jars are easier to fill and remove food from, while regular-mouth jars are better suited for liquids. When shopping at estate sales, look for jars with intact rims, as this is an important factor in ensuring a good seal.
Types of Canners
Water Bath Canners
Water bath canners are perfect for canning jams, jellies, and pickled veggies. Water bath canners don’t have to be fancy. You need a pot that is deep enough to cover the jars by at least one inch and has a rack to keep the jars off the bottom. A pot with a removable rack is easier to clean and store, but a fixed rack can also work well.
For a full beginner's guide to water bath canning, check out this blog from the Old Farmer’s Almanac: Introduction to Water-Bath Canning at Home.
A pressure canner is a large pot with a locking lit and a dial or weighted gauge to allow you to regulate steam pressure that builds up inside the pot by turning the burner heat up or down. Pressure canners are more sophisticated than water bath canners and are necessary for canning low-acid foods like green beans, red meats, and broths.
When buying a used pressure canner, you have to consider the canner’s condition. They come up to high pressure and become very hot. You want to make sure that there are no dents, and that it includes the weights that are used to keep the canner at pressure.
A canning funnel come in very handy as you fill your jars. A canning funnel should fit both wide-mouth and regular-mouth jars and have a wide enough opening to accommodate large pieces of food.
Lids and Rings
Canning lids and rings are a crucial part of the canning process, as they help to create a tight seal that will keep your food fresh. In all honesty, buying new lids and rings is the best approach. Canning takes considerable time and effort (especially if you grow the food you preserve) and you want to make sure it’s done right.
A jar lifter is a handy tool for lifting hot jars from a boiling pot. Look for a jar lifter with a wide, stable base and long arms that will fit around the jars you have.
Additional Canning Equipment
In addition to these essentials, other canning tools can make the process easier and more efficient. These include a headspace gauge and bubble freer.
Canning is a wonderful pastime, and you are sure to find supplies to help you get started at an estate sale near you. Check out our upcoming estate sales to see if we have what’s right for you.