Want to can... a little intimidated!

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by CarriBrown, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    I know a lot of you can... I am bound and determined to do it! I bought the Ball Blue Book (on eBay, used for $2! [​IMG] ) and I've been looking around online. However, I have some questions.
    What do you really "need"? I see all sorts of jars, I see steam canners, pressure canners, wire baskets, hand tools, lids, wax, washers... The list could go on. I really want to dip my toe in this before I go jumping in because I'm afraid I'll kill my family! [​IMG]
    Our neighbors across the street have been canning for years and years (they are in their 80s) and we visit and keep an eye on them. We went over there last night and they gave us canned pears- the BEST pears I've ever eaten! I about dropped dead. They use a wax seal, and they steam in the microwave, but this is all so new and over my head.
    Help me! [​IMG]
    What I'd really like to know is, What do I need to get started, and what are the things that I can live without buying?
  2. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    id like to know too!!
  3. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA
    I have been making jams for several years now and I never give them a "steam bath". Have never had a problem with it going bad, etc. If I could only get the strawberries to set.....[​IMG]

    I would get a pressure canner if you plan to do any veggies. You can do pickles in a steam bath.

    Just follow the directions in the book they are very detailed.

    It is up to you what kind of jars you want to buy. It also depends on how big your family is. I use alot of quarts for green beans. My kids love the canned ones and eat them cold.[​IMG]

    But you can get quarts, pints, little jam and jelly jars. There are also wide mouthed and regular mouthed jars. It is basically a personal preference. I was told also to use new lids on everything. You can re-use the rings but not the lids.

    I did get one of those jar lifters because those puppies are hot when you are removing them from the canner.

    If I were you I would start out with making jams and doing some green beans this year. I think they are the easiest.

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2008
  4. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    Alot of it depends on what you want to can. You will need the basics - a water bath canner with a rack, mason jars in the sizes you need, and seals and lids for the jars. The special tongs they sell for picking the jars up out of the rack are a plus, as is a wide-mouth funnel.

    Depending on what you want to can, you may need a pressure canner. This is for things like beans that have no acidity. Tomatoes, pickled beets, pickled peppers, etc - these can be done in the water bath canner because they either contain acid (tomatoes) or you add vinegar for the acidity (pickled items).

    Whatever you can, just be sure to closely follow the directions. If you don't choose the right processing method, you could end up with food poisoning.

    I also found there are two different types of white vinegar, and one is more acidic than the other so keep that in mind too.

    It's alot of time but it's well worth it when done right! Good luck!
  5. nccountrygirl

    nccountrygirl Songster

    Jul 31, 2007
    Sanford N.C.
    Hey Carri, caning is not hard at all. I use a water bath for every thing I can. I freeze corn and tomatoes but can all else. You will need:

    I water bath canner or/ and pressure canner
    funnel made to fit in the mouths of canning jars
    tongs to lift out the hot jars, I use heat resistant gloves my DH has for frying turkey's
    canning seals, they come with the jars if you by them, but they are a one time thing and have to be replaced if you use that jar of food and want to can something else in the jar.
    Any spices you might need, Example: Dill and pickling spices if you are making pickles.
    Sure Jell or Certo if you are making jellys or jams.

    If I can think of any thing else I'll let you know.
  6. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA
    I also found there are two different types of white vinegar, and one is more acidic than the other so keep that in mind too.

    Now see, I have learned something. I stopped making pickles because I thought they were too acidic.

    Please share with me how to tell the difference so that I may once again try to make some pickles.[​IMG]
  7. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    Thanks everyone! I think I'm slowly figuring out that there are different methods (bath, steam, and pressure, right?). I'm looking on www.canningpantry.com and they have some good info.
    Should I get a pressure canner to make sure I can can everything? Or would I need a pressure canner and a steam canner? I'm really only thinking about fruit right now. I'm not too into pickled things and I don't know how much of it I would make.
    Another thing I'd like to do (eventually) is make baby food and can it. My mom did that with me, although I'm not sure she canned it. She would use fresh fruits and veggies instead of buying the canned baby food.
  8. nccountrygirl

    nccountrygirl Songster

    Jul 31, 2007
    Sanford N.C.
    If you are only going to do fruit I would use a water bath caner.

    Edited to Add: check eBay for a pressure caner. All American is a great one but very expensive. There are other brands that will work just as well. My grand mama canned every thing and I never remember her having any thing other than a water bath caner.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2008
  9. Nuggetsowner:)

    Nuggetsowner:) Songster

    Aug 2, 2007
    I water bath everything I can. I usually do tomatoes and some spaghetti sause, fruits and jams, and pickels, as well as some other pickled vegetables. I always have had good luck, learned from my Grandma.

    There is only one thing I want to do that I have not tried and that is canning meat. You need a pressure cooker and to be honest it scares me a little.
  10. spatcher

    spatcher Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    For canning you need the 5% acidic vinegar.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: