Preparing for the Upcoming Canning Season
If you love to do jams and jellies then most likely you have already started on your canning for the year. I honestly intended to do jams this year but with the arrival of a new grandchild, and a father in Law having a triple bypass time just got away from me. Still it is time to start taking stock and getting ready for the new Canning season. If you have never canned before you might want to pick up a book as your first expense, not only will it show you all the right equipment that you should get for your canning but it will also give you a nice list of starter recipes to get going with. Alternatively you can visit a few of the more reliable sites online to get the facts you need. I have been canning for a lot of years, but I still love browsing recipes and getting new ideas, I have a few websites I really like to follow and will visit them year after year.
Make a List of Canning Supplies
As I am thinking about canning this year, I am making a mental list of all of the things that I will need to make sure I have, any extra canning jars I need, canning lids, pectin and the spices that I use in pickling. All these things add up fast, so making a list will make sure I don’t have to go out and buy it all at once. Fortunately I have plenty of jars, but will need to pick up a lot of lids; I find that the earlier in the year I do it the easier they are to find and the cheaper I can get them. If I wait too long the discount stores run out and I have to go to the more expensive grocery stores to buy them. If you go shopping early enough in the year you can get canning jars from yard sales, thrift stores and even ask around with neighbors, this will save you a lot of money and allow you to get really stocked up on canning jars.
Make Another List of Things you Plan to Can
You might even want to plan this list before you do your supply list, or at least do both at the same time. This way you can make sure you have everything on hand, and you won’t have to go running out to the store for sugar, salt or spices at the last minute. Canning is hard enough work when the season is in full swing without having to worry about running back and forth to the store. What I usually do is make a list of things I know I am going to or have to can from the garden. Things like tomato sauce, green beans, salsa, and relish are always at the top of my list. I try to add a few new things to make the list a bit more robust, this year I think I am going to do what I have been thinking about for the past couple of years and try some new picked vegetables. With a hubby that grew up in England anything pickled is always a popular choice. I make a final list of things I would like to can if I can get the stuff together for it. These items would include stuff like canned peaches, apple sauce, canned corn, things I don’t grow but will be on the lookout for all year at prices I can’t turn down. If I have a list then when the deals show up I know what to do with them.
Getting all my Equipment in Order
Finally I make sure I have everything I need and it is all cleaned up and ready to go, nothing is worse than pulling out the tomato mill only to find out a piece walked off in the middle of the winter and you have to find it or order another one with 50lbs of tomatoes sitting on your counter. Make sure that your pressure canner is all tuned up and checked out, that you have all the utensils you need, and your jars have all been inspected for nicks or other problems. I keep mine in the boxes they came in but invariably there are always jars that got damaged along the way. Dig up your recipes and get them ready to go as well, I have a problem with losing recipes from one year to the next, a common problem when you only use them once a year, this year I am going to solve that problem by getting a notebook that is just for canning recipes. Once you have all of your supplies in order and your lists made, know where everything is, you will find that your canning adventures will go much more smoothly
If you need help with learning how to can there are several great books on Amazon that can help you get started.
- Ball Complete Book of Home PreservingCanning & Preserving Books)
- Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry
- The Everything Canning and Preserving Book: All you need to know to enjoy natural, healthy foods year round (Everything (Cooking))
Enjoy your Season of canning make sure to let us know what you canned this year by leaving a comment below!
Hey- I come from a long line of family who cans & would like to start doing so too. I have a dilemma though, my stove is a ceramic cooktop & every different pressure cooker that I’ve looked at advises against using it on a cooktop. I don’t have space in my kitchen for an old fashioned “hot plate”. Does anyone have smart suggestions? Canning in the oven has NEVER worked for me. I end up with broken jars….etc….and a mess to clean up. Thanks!
I have canned for several years on a ceramic cooktop.
Just make sure there is no water under your canner.
It does leave marks on your cooktop but they can be cleaned.
I use my Camp Cheif outside on the porch. It works terrific, keeps the heat out of the house, can use large pots and can control the process easier! Besides, my neighbors love it when I make salsa cause it smells so good!!
I have a flat top stove and I use the Presto canner on it. I bought it on Amazon and I read somewhere that it was safe to use on a ceramic top stove. The canner doesn’t have a completely flat bottom so it doesn’t cover more than the burner surface area. Using a flat top stove is also all about weight. Don’t use the largest canner with it filled to capacity. I have used the Presto canner for 4 years now on my flat top stove and have never had a problem. I do use an electric burner for a water bath canner because they are so much heavier and the pan bottom is so much bigger than my burner area. I have a small stove in our basement that used to be an apartment but to pressure can I like to stay by my canner and so I like to be in my upstairs kitchen.
Like myself, I too have a ceramic cooktop. I plan on using my grill for canning. A friend of mine does this every year so I figure I can too. Good luck.
Miss Lady Bug says
I had the same problem. I now use an electric turkey fryer that I can operate right on my island in the kitchen. It works wonderful! It has a digital thermometer so you know exactly when the water is ready, etc. I wrote a post about it here if you would like to check it out: http://www.missladybugsgarden.com/4/post/2011/12/lets-start-canning.html
The fryer is called the “Cajun Injector.” I’m very happy with it.
P.S. I am not an affiliate of theirs.
I have a Montel Williams pressure cooker/slow cooker that I use for almost everything! Check out eBay for one. You can pick one up for about $50. Best invention EVA! 🙂
THANKU GOT ONE
Those you can’t pressure can in.
I use my gas grill for canning…keeps from heating up the house and works perfect for me!
How do you use your gas grill for canning?
I too have a ceramic stove top….just finished canning over 199 pts this season..Have a newly purchased 921 All American Pressure Cooker!
DO NOT PUT ON BURNER THAT IS ALREADY TURNED ON AND DO NOT SLIDE…….worked for me!
Actually you don’t need to use a pressure cooker. As long as what you are putting in the jars is hot it will seal. For example, if I’m making apple butter I put the apples in my crockpot and let them cook down all day. Then I put it in a blender for a few seconds til desired consistency (that part is optional) add sugar and cinnamon. Then I place a butter knife in clean jar (you can sterilize the jar in the dishwasher) and pour the hot apple butter in the jar. The knife absorbs the heat so the jar doesn’t bust. Place on lid and new seal and viola you have canned apple butter! Way more simple and definitely effective!
Ignore this comment as this person does NOT know how to properly can food. There are safety precautions you MUST take when canning. Low-acid foods such as jams, jellies, fruits, should be boiling-water canned. Low-acid foods such as vegetables, sauces, soups, meats, must be processed in a pressure canner. This is to ensure all bacteria is killed completely. Putting a lid on a hot jar will seal it, but it will not remove excess air, or properly prepare the food for long-time storage. There are so many great resources to learn how to properly can foods. The “Ball Blue Book” is great, as well as the Ball canning website. Please follow USDA canning standards for your own safety. Also, lids need to be heated (not boiled) to soften the rubber that will make a good seal, and lids and rings should be washed with soapy water before using.
Jams and jellies do not need to be hot water processed. The sugar content is too high for bacteria to survive. Most veg and all meats need to be pressure canned. I have made jam and jelly for years without hot water processing as well as my mother and grandmothers, without a problem. EVER
I put my clean jars in my oven at 175° for 20 minutes. My apple butter has been in the crock pot all night. Have hot lids ready. Take one jar out of the oven, shut the door. Immediately, fill hot jar with hot sauce, and put on hot lid. And repeat the process. One at a time.
We do our canning on an outside cooker (like a turkey or fish cooker.)
The base cooker is perfect for the big canning pots .
I would not recommend using the outdoor burner for a pressure canner. I almost blew ours up. When I had to go purchase a new pressure canner, it states all over the box and instructions to NOT use a gas outdoor burner. It does work great for water bath canning however. A note regarding the pressure canner, the pan looked like a bullet when done. The bottom of the pan was round like a ball, and made a mess all over. Seriously DON’T DO IT!!
I have a flat top stove as well. I use a Presto 16qt canner. It has a smooth bottom and it works great. You need to “lift” it off the burner and not scoot it across when done is the only issue, it could scratch the top is all.
Like Tami, I have an electric smooth top stove & I have canned over 1,000 jars of food with no problems using the 16 Qt. Presto Canner I purchased from WalMart. Never had a problem.
people in alaska often can on a large gas burner outdoors. Need to watch it carefully, but I know it works!
We were remodeling our kitchen last year, and did not have a stove. I used a camp stove to do my canning. Just make sure you have extra propane.
Mary Jo says
I sometime use the burner on my BBQ when I need an extra pot going 🙂
why not get a propane, outdoor stove, works just as well, doesn’t mess up your ceramics and you dont; heat up your house. Besides, deep fried turkey at Thanksgiving is awsome. You can get a lot of use out of it.
Melissa frisby says
My mom and grandmother always can their green beans outside over a fire in a big wash tub. They use old bed sheets to gather between the jars to keep them from breaking. It takes several hours, but they can a huge amount and without the house getting hot!!’
Melissa frisby says
Oh I forgot to mention that the wash tub sits on concrete blocks built over a fire.
Penny Collingridge says
I too have a ceramic top stove. Don’t can on it. We bought a cache cooker. It is a sturdy propane stove that fits a canner by the way perfectly. I may prepare the jars in the kitchen but then I take them all outside and flash up the cache cooker and do all the processing outside. I do it in the green house but any place will do although a roof is a good idea. No steamy house, no tied up stove when it is meal time. I also found that those old plastic milk crates hold 9 quarts of canned fruit and then stack up so nicely that the majority of my canning does not need shelves. Penny
I use my outside BBQ grill’s side burner. This keeps the heat out of the kitchen, and works well.
I have canned for years, I love doing it. I bought a used stove on Craigslist and put it in my garage that is right off the kitchen. My husband made a counter height work table by putting tall legs on and old square end table, very cool. I can bake out there in the hot summer and can all I want. I have 2 pressure canners and can meat as well,
it is great.
We fill our jars half full of water and put them in the microwave for 5 min or more to sterilize. Boil your lid inserts. fill the jars when they are really hot with your ingredients. Pull a lid out of the boiling water place on top and screw down the rest and within a half hour or less you should hear the pop of the lid sealing. Good luck ?
denise Tornga says
I now have a ceramic cook top and have canned on a gas stove for 35 yrs.. I have never had more control of the temp of my pressure canner until now….go figure.
Look for a used stove and set it up I had a ceramic stove and used it for canning one season didn’t have any problems.
Rita Caldwell says
I love your site and your advice. I truly believe people are going to be looking for more sites like this in order to save their families. I’ve always thought the old way of taking care of your families was important and we make a point of trying to teach people about living off the land and taking care of your own. Keep up the wonderful work and I’ll being reading your blog daily.
Deborah Hubler says
@ Janet ~ I had the same problem last year – first time canning. I used the burner on my gas grill for my canner – though I was doing hot water bath, not pressure canning.
What is in the jar to the right of the carrots? They look almost like strawberries…are they?
Looks like cherry tomatoes to me but at first glance, I thought it was strawberries too.
Good information. My suggestion would be to get one of those dollar pocket photo albums and put your recipes in it. Makes it very convenient.
About the ceramic stovetop….I know someone who cracked hers using a heavy pressure cooker on it. A very expensive batch of veggies.
There are grills out there that have propane burners instead of the burners that are straight. I am going to use that on my front porch to pressure can this year for the first time. I would not risk my stovetop. I have used the large hot water canner on my stovetop before I knew the weight could crack it.
Try canning on the grill or buy a electric burner you know the one you can plug in my aunt does it outside too. She cans everything outside.
My water bath canner indicated that a ceramic cooktop was not recommened, however, I canned on it all summer long and had no trouble at all. I used the water bath canner and the pressure canner equally as well. The only thing I did notice is that it takes quite a long time for the water to get boiling as opposed to using my electric stove. I’m ever hopeful there will be a gas stove on my horizon!
I own an electric pressure cooker and I love it!
Electric pressure canners are WONDERFUL…JUST NO FOR CANNING❤️
What can i use for water bath canning with a glasstop cooktop?
I have a pressure canner that actually explains how to use it on the ceramic cooktops, but states clearly never to use it on a grill. I’ve canned hundreds of jars on my ceramic cooktop…. the big issue is scratching it if the canner has anything like salt or nicks under the canner. I have found that some ceramic cooktops don’t maintain a consistent cooking temperature necessary for a pressure canner….but this canner does great and doesn’t seem as sensitive to the variations. I bring it up to pressure and find I can turn the burner down really low and maintain the pressure very well. Here is the canner I own – http://www.amazon.com/Presto-01781-23-Quart-Pressure-Canner/dp/B0000BYCFU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359010927&sr=8-1&keywords=23+qt+canner
Tabitha Bela says
I’ve canned in the oven and it works! Cherry compote, apricot compote, blueberries, roasted peppers..etc I fill the jars then out them in the oven. Turn it on 225-250…when it beeps I turn it off and they stay in there all night. In the morning I put the jars away..I will occasionally get one that didn’t seal…but rarely.
I use a pressure canner on my smooth top for yrs. Never a problem. Just be sure you dont slide canner across stove top, and place on a cool stove.
Lisa Watson says
I am absolutely in love with the jars in your photo. it’s the photo from your canning article “Preparing for the Upcoming Canning Season” with the asparagus, strawberries and whole carrots. Can you tell me what kind of jars those are? I want to buy a ba-zillion of them.
Would it be Rosehips, in the photo?
Great post. When i was a kid every year we make grape juice, salted tomatoes, pickles and lots of jam for the winter time. it was good time and good memory.
I am seriously trying to figure out how the lady (below) thought canning came into existence – from people who live in the middle of nowhere and had to save the food they stored without waste – not even a fridge let alone a …whatever she is talking about here –
There are safety precautions you MUST take when canning. Low-acid foods such as jams, jellies, fruits, should be boiling-water canned. Low-acid foods such as vegetables, sauces, soups, meats, must be processed in a pressure canner. This is to ensure all bacteria is killed completely. Putting a lid on a hot jar will seal it, but it will not remove excess air, or properly prepare the food for long-time storage. There are so many great resources to learn how to properly can foods. The “Ball Blue Book” is great, as well as the Ball canning website. Please follow USDA canning standards for your own safety. Also, lids need to be heated (not boiled) to soften the rubber that will make a good seal, and lids and rings should be washed with soapy water before using.
What is the process for canning whole carrots as shown in your picture. Looks really cool done like that