Canning Prep List
- Canning Lids
These can be hard to find or get at an affordable price, especially during the summer. My personal goal is to always be 1-2 years ahead on canning lids because of that 2020/2021 shortage where so many stores were sold out or overpricing them. I finally found For Jars and they are cheaper per lid than what you can buy right now at Walmart or Kroger (and better quality!).
Use Code ACREHOME10 for an extra 10% off at For Jars.
- Pectin for jams and jellies
I prefer low-sugar pectin so I can really taste the fresh fruit but any pectin is fine. My favorites are Pomona and Sur-Jel Light.
If you plan on making jams and jellies you will use a lot of sugar.
I get 50-pound bags of sugar through Azure Standard.
I’m sure you’ve seen me mention my storage containers. If you’re interested in those, here's a link to Amazon: Chef's Path Extra Large Plastic Food Storage Containers
- Apple Cider Vinegar and Distilled White Vinegar
A lot of water canning recipes require vinegar. One thing to be aware of is that any vinegar used must have at least 5% acidity. You can get gallon jars at Costco or your local grocery store or I get mine through Azure Standard. I try to have 2-3 gallons of both white and apple cider vinegar on hand.
- Lemon Juice or Citric Acid
I prefer the taste of Lemon juice but other people prefer Citric Acid. My goal in canning is to have a superior product to what I would buy in the grocery store and part of this is figuring out what tastes the best to me and what my favorite recipes are. You will figure out what tastes you prefer as you start canning too. Here’s a link to Ball Citric Acid on Amazon (Ball Citric Acid)
- Non-Iodized or Kosher Salt
Salt is not required for preservation but it adds a lot of flavor. Any type of non-iodized or Kosher salt is fine. Pickling or Canning salt is just salt that does not have Iodine added to it. The reason for this is that Iodine, at the levels they add to salt, can discolor your food. It’s not going to affect the quality but it will make things turn brown over time and that’s not super appealing. No one wants to eat brown peaches.
Salt is really healthy for us when it’s in its natural form. Canning salts get stripped of all the extra minerals they naturally contain which is why I use Redmond Real Salt. This salt is mined in Utah and contains over 68 minerals. Himalayan Pink Salt is another one that has a lot of minerals but I prefer to use the salt from Utah because it’s made and processed in the US so I know how it’s made, packaged, and how they treat their workers. But both have natural Iodine and trace minerals that won’t affect the color of your canned goods because they don’t have excess Iodine.
Click here to check out Redmond Real Salt and if you’re interested in buying their salt use my code ACRE for 15% off your order.
- Canning jars
Canning jars are so expensive now! You used to be able to buy a 12-pack of quart jars for $12.99 at your local grocery store and now they are at least $17.99.
Buy second-hand if you can! I try to go to the thrift store once a week and buy any canning jars I see but they aren’t as plentiful as they used to be. They are ~49 cents each at my local Goodwill and I tell all my friends and family to buy them for me if they see any. If you start doing this now you can have your supply ready when summer hits. Just make sure you slide your finger around the rim to check for chips.
- Pressure Canner
If you are new to canning I would recommend the Presto Pressure Canner (link to Amazon) because it can be used as both a water bath canner and a pressure canner so you don’t have to buy two different ones.
I recently upgraded to this Presto Electric Canner (link to Amazon) and having an electric one is amazing because you don’t have to watch it the whole time. You just press a button and walk away. Such a time saver!
- A Roaster Oven
If you’re making big batches of apples and tomatoes this will save you so much time! I got a 22-quart Oster Roaster (link to Amazon) brand new in the box at Goodwill. This can fit 3 large crockpot batches in one go. It’s a game-changer! Look for them at your local thrift store around the holidays, but if you can’t find one used you can find them on Amazon.
- A really good canning cookbook or resource
Canning is a science so it’s not something where you can make up your own recipes. You will want a really good resource that you trust for your recipes. My mom bought me the Ball Complete Book of Home Preservation (link to Amazon) for my birthday several years ago and it’s amazing! It has so many recipes for both water and pressure canning. Pickles, relish, soups, jams, broth, ketchup… Find a cookbook and start looking through it now and thinking about what recipes you might want to make. Then start finding local farmers to buy in bulk from. If you want to make Strawberry lemonade concentrate, find local farmers that grow strawberries and plan to pick them or buy them at peak ripeness. Just type "strawberries" into the search on localharvest.org and make a plan!
- Misc. Canning Supplies
You can buy these individually or in a starter kit but it’s helpful to have a stainless steel funnel to keep the rims of your jars clean; canning tongs to pull out the super hot jars from the boiling water, and a magnet wand to pull the canning lids out of the hot water. Here’s a link to see what that looks like: https://amzn.to/3y1hiVf
Bonus Food Preservation Items!
Canning is one of my favorites but it’s not my favorite for everything. I have definitely learned over the years that some things I prefer canned, some frozen, some dehydrated, and now some freeze-dried. It’s nice to have multiple ways to preserve food.
- A Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator uses heat to evaporate moisture from food and that’s what keeps food shelf-stable once it’s dehydrated. This is so useful to have I bought two! I found a 5-tray Excalibur Dehydrator on Facebook Marketplace and I liked it so much I got the 9-tray one new as well. The reason this one is so nice is that the heating element is in the back and it has a fan that blows the air forward so you don’t have to rotate your trays. I would only recommend the 9-tray one versus the 5-tray as you will outgrow it so quickly and wish you had bought the bigger one: https://amzn.to/3uFilIf.
The found dehydrators that we grew up with are cheaper and work fine, you just have to spend more time on them. The heating element is on the top so you have to rotate your trays or it doesn’t dehydrate evenly and things can be over- or under-dehydrated. Here’s a good-quality circular one: https://amzn.to/3rqDG6g.
- A Freeze Dryer
This is the newest technology when it comes to food preservation. A freeze drier freezes food well below freezing in a vacuum and as it brings the temperature of the food back up and the water goes from a frozen state to a gaseous state it vacuums out that moisture and keeps your food fresh because there is no moisture left in the food. You can dry individual ingredients as well as entire meals and if stored properly food is shelf-stable for 20-30 years. This is the one I have: Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer (Medium).
- Vacuum Sealer and/or Freezer Ziplocks
I have been borrowing my sister-in-law’s Food Saver Vacuum Sealer and I can tell the quality of the food preservation is better with it versus zip lock bags so this is next on my wish list. I still use zip locks but this is really nice to have. This is what it looks like: https://amzn.to/3OQzUgr