Canning and Preserving Tools

Canning and Preserving Tools are a dime a dozen. Everyone has an opinion on what we need and how to use it. Today I decide that I am going to share some of my tools and tricks that I use for my preserving jobs. I do a lot of preserving of food and many different tools, machines and things are necessary. Yes, I have purchased some of the stupidest things in canning and some of my lifesaver tools. Here are just a few of the necessary tools and idea's.

This post will be in no direct order just as I drop a picture in I will tell my "opinion" on the item. 

We all have to start with the basic and that would be a Pot for Water bathing you jars of food. I started with a cheap Steel/Porcelain Pot that did a great job of of water bathing (If that is a word) You can do quarts, pints and half pints. Most come with a rack. I use to put a washcloth on the bottom long before I ever got a rack. It was what Grandma taught me to keep them from moving and cracking. Funny right!

Pressure Canner is a must for all your non-pickled items. 

There are many tools to use with your canning pot and they come individually or you can buy them one at a time as needed. Let me explain each.

First the funnel this tool is essential to keep your jars clean and counters clear of jam or what

ever you are doing to preserve. 

Next to that you have a jar lifter it is next to the pot for getting the hot jars out without burning yourself the next few are ones I am mentioning but never use. The green pen like tool is a magnet tool get lids out of the hot water. I use a small pot putting hot water into it from the waterbath to heat the lids then pour the water back into the waterbath once I have the lids out and on the jars. No waste. The next two tools one is a tool to help open jars. This is a kit. I buy my stuff separate as needed and usually at yard sales or thrift stores 

Latex Gloves and Goggles                                                                                                                                       

Latex gloves are one of the tools I have in my kitchen for all things not just preserving food. Great to keep the smell of garlic and onions off your hands when chopping. 

The reason I use them when preserving food is I want to make sure that I do not cross contaminate any food with anything. I do not use them to wash the fruit or vegetables because washing the food already cleans it and my hands are clean. Once cleaned I put them on to chop and separate the fruit. Each different fruit I change the gloves. I use them in so many ways when canning  don't think I could list them all. 

Goggles are for onions when I Dehydrate Onions or use them for Onion Marmalade.

Jars, Lids and Twist Top

Jars, lids and twist tops. These come in three main sizes. Quart, pint and half pint. You need to sanitize all your jars prior to canning and keep them warm to fill. I will put my jars into the waterbath and bring the water up to a rapid boil then turn it down until I am ready to fill the jars.  You can reuse the jars and twist over and over. 

Candy Thermometer

This is an important tool for me with my jams. I am not a pectin user I have been able to find other alternatives which have worked well. One is this candy thermometer. I learned at a Lemon Marmalade Class up in Oaktown at June Taylor that if you can keep your jam at a rapid boil and the thermometer up to 222 to 223 it will jell. And you can make your own Pectin.

Wooden Spoons

This is a touchy subject with Germ-a-fobs but this tool is resilient in the kitchen. With so many reasons why let me just hit a few. They are a warm utensil they do not shock the jam being boiled or stirred. They won't draw up heat and burn your hand. Wooden Spoons are strong and super durable. They do not react to Acid mixtures. 

Jelly Strainer and Food Mill

Jam is my thing but if you make Jelly or anything that needs to be strained this is the tool. I have made Grape Jelly with mine. I also used it for all my Scrubs when straining was needed. 

I use for jellies which I rarely make. Also if you need to make seedless jelly/jam I also have made it to open and link in a new tab so you can just go back to the original without losing your spot.

This is a food mill essential for butters and clear jellies. I use it for all my Butters and Scrubs. It is a bit time consuming but then all things preserving are. I do not mind the work because of the wonderful results all year long. 

My food mill is great for all things seedless, fruit butters. To smooth out potatoes, some soups and the bonus is you can do it with you ingredients hot or cold. 

Lets talk spices and grinding. We have all heard the that you can use a old coffee grinder and I did for a long time. I still have uses for it. Unfortunately, I never took any shots of my coffee grinder in action. But to the right you see my Mortar and Pestel my go to grinder. 

Next a crock pot one I personally use on occasion. These day's there are so many recipes that they call out for a crock pot. I like to slow cook some of my preserves, soups and broths. It is all in the stir, chop and watch the process. 

My crockpot is the go to for my Apple Butter. I use to have the crock pot from my first marriage it was beyond old. I finally got  a new one when I watched a show where the crock pot burnt the home down. Yikes! 

Spice bags yes there are two ways of doing this. Buy them already made or make your own. Simple use some cheese cloth and tie. 

Here are your standard tie bags ordered on line or any craft store. 

This list is on going feel free to lave a comment on your tools

My tools are endless but I have given you a place to start. Canning and preserving tools are a personal pick and you choose what you need. Good Luck and Happy Preserving! 


Tips for Beginning Your Canning

There are more tips for beginning canners than you can imagine. I am going to provide you with just a few but please do your research the best place to do this is the National Center for Home Preservation. I am and have been canning and preserving food for over 25 years. I still error on the side of caution.

There are many recipes here and other sites. We do not promote or advertise any sites or products. These are your personal choices. When I started I used a pasta pot to water bath, a washcloth to keep the jars in place and a pair of tongs to get my jars out. We do what we can safely. Since then I have bought many products many are for crap and many still shine. My first water bath canner is now a pot outside for plants! 

Once you have your recipe you need to make sure you get all your supplies gathered to start this new adventure. Gathering everything to this day is the best thing you can do for your process. Having to search for a product or tool is a pain and looses good time. We want a smooth process always. 

Pick fruit/vegetable's that are fresh. Fresh is best !

First you need to get the pot you are going to use and fill it with water. The water needs to cover your jars by at least 2 inches. You will need a canning rack or a wash cloth of sort for the bottom of the pot. This keeps your jars from slipping or tapping which could cause breakage. The canning rack makes it easier to place the cans as well as remove them. 

Warm up the water with your jars in the pot. No lids needed when warming your jars. This will sanitize the jars. Also, you want your jars warm when you fill them. So leave them in there until your recipe is ready.

You have a twist ring and lid for each jar. Back in the day they required that you have those lids (not the ring) warmed up to get a better seal. 

I still do this and recommend that you do this to.

They still require the lids be warm according to the NCHP site. I do this by taking a small sauce pan and just prior to filling the jars I will take some of the warm water from the water bath. Once I fill the small pot I add the amount of lids I need and they are warm and ready for the jars. I then put that water back in the water bath, Why wait.

Now you are ready to make your recipe. I will clean and prepare all my product so that all I need to do is put it all in my pot and get it ready to be canned. Many recipes require many steps so read it carefully and follow the directions. You can always check more than one site to compare and pick what is your best choice. 

Once your recipe is finished you are ready to fill your jars.

Your jars should be warm and ready in the water bath. Take each jar out of the water bath. The water in the jars should emptied into the water bath. You will place your jars on a towel or counter cloth. This will protect he counter and keep it clean and give the jars a nice place to land. 

Now fill your warm jars with warm product. You should leave at least 1/4" to a 1/2" of head space (Note the Recipe) Once filled wipe the rims of every jar with a clean towel. Apply the lids and twist. Twist the jar closed taunt but not so tight you can not open it once processed.

Next you will place your jars onto the rack in the water bath or lower them onto the cloth you have arranged on the floor of the pot. (This cloth helps to keep the jars from moving and tapping one another)   The jars should be covered with at least one inch of water. 

Return the burner to high and bring the pot back to a full boil. This is when the time starts Set your timer for the amount of time indicated i the recipe. Usually a 10 to 12 minutes average.

Once the time has passed turn off the burner. I let my jars sit for just about 5 minutes. The water is super hot and it does give the jars a bit of time to settle. 

Have a towel lined counter or area to put your jars. You will hear that lovely pop when they have sealed. The jars are sealed if the lid have concaved. If it has not and you can touch it lightly and it does it is okie dokie. I let my jars cool overnight or at least until they are cool to the touch. 

When the jars are completely cooled pick up each jar and remove the twist top. Your jars should have a tight seal the lid should not be able to be removed. Just give it a little push in

the middle of the lid there should not be any give. 

Next you want to keep the lid off. Never store your jars with the lids. The jar with the lid removed should be washed so there is no left over residue that an contaminate any food you add this to or use this for. Once the twist is ff and the jar is washed label and date. 

There are many website and any ore recipes on the WWW please take caution and use common sense. here is the go to site for myself National Center for Home Food Preservation


Small Batch Pickled Radish's

Well now that we do not have our company open anymore I have had time to do small batch preserving. This is also a wonderful way to preserve your garden veggies and fruits when you have a small garden or not so much of a crop. I grew some wonderful radishes this summer and was able to pickle some. 

The recipe is so easy and I am going to give you the recipe I broke down for 2 one pint jars.  


  • 2 pound of sliced or chopped radish's
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar 
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped for brine
Optional ingredient's are crushed red peppers a teaspoon, bay leaf, dill, pepper seeds

I have a very extensive garden and a variety of stuff I have grown or dehydrated or crushed myself. Example I have a bay leaf tree, I crush and grind a lot of my own spices, I dehydrated my peppers and extract seeds for Chili Powder and many whole seeds for various cooking needs. I also make my own pickling spices.

You can cut the radishes in to any shape you want. I Cut mine into quarters. I like the crunch of the large pieces and use it like you would a pickle. You can see the size in the first picture on this post. 

Once you have your radishes' cut put them aside. Chop your garlic into small pieces as small as you want. If you choose to add this ingredient.

Now let us get the liquid made that the radishes get to bathe in. In a boiling pot pour your water, vinegar, sugar, salt and garlic. The little pot you see was what I started with it was just bit enough to hold the liquid

I will add any additional ingredients to each jar. Example is one bay leaf, some dill and a few peppercorns.  And yes a chili pepper from the garden already dried. 

You want to have your jars in your waterbath getting warm. Once your brine has completely dissolved the sugar and salt let it sit while you prepare your jars. Take the jars out of the waterbath and fill them with the radishes pack them tight and leave a half inch head space. Pour the brine over them leaving at least a 1/4 inch headspace.

Waterbath the radishes for 14 minutes turn off the heat let the sit for 5 mintues. Remove the jars set the on a towel to cool. Once completely cool remove the twist top wash and label.


Freezing Fresh Ginger

Ginger ... Fresh Ginger is a staple in my pantry. I use it for everything from Hot Tea to Preserved Jams and lets not stop there for cooking it can bring out the best in many dishes. Granted Ginger is a spice that is an acquired taste. A bit bold but great for you and your health. Ginger can be used in so many ways. Fresh, dried, powdered or as an oil or juice. 

The health benefits are endless it is used to aid digestion, reduce nausea and it can help fight the Flu and the common cold and that is only a few purposes. The great flavor and fragrance comes from the gingerol. The gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger. Well more on that later. Let's freeze some ginger! 

The first thing you need to do is get some fresh ginger roots. I buy about 2 pounds. I will freeze some, dry some to make a powder and candy some. Let us get started. Buying your ginger in Spring is when you will know it is at its freshest.

To freeze so many of my herbs and stuff I have bought ice cube trays that have little cubes. This ice cube tray makes it so I can freeze 1 teaspoon per cube. That will make it easier when cooking and dropping it in any recipe.

The first thing you will need to do is to peel your ginger. Some times I have used a small paring knife and just thinly sliced the skin off. Another very popular way is to take a spoon and run it down the sides of the ginger this method will peel very well. I also snap the little nobs off the sides and freeze them whole for other uses. I even grate the ginger to dry and make powder. 

Once your ginger is peeled and ready chop it into small little pieces. Once diced have your ice cube tray and a teaspoon available. Also a cup of water. The reason for this is you want to put in one teaspoon of chopped ginger then fill that with water. 

The water will keep it fresh when freezing and the amount of liquid is not enough to make any difference in your jam or cooking. Here is a picture of the ice cube tray filled with the ginger.

Now add the water to the tray.

Once the ginger has frozen you can easily store them in a zip lock bag or canning jar. 

I love having what I need available when ever I need it. 


Blueberry Ginger Jam

Blueberry Ginger Jam that sounds delicious. I do not ever seem to have a lack of blueberries. The season bring me such a nice amount. This jam is a twin of the Blackberry Ginger Jam we make and this blueberry is our #1 seller. Remember to always freeze fruit when it is in season this way when it is cold and the berry vines are sleeping you have what you need to make jam all year around.

Let us get started with this Blueberry Ginger Jam. My sister Casey came up wit this recipe she was a Ginger Lover.


6 cups of whole blueberries
1/2 cup finely chopped ginger
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 to 5 cups of granulated sugar

* Makes approximately 7 half pint jars

Put your blueberries and half of the sugar and the lemon juice into your pot and start this on a low simmer. This will release some of the juices from your fresh blueberries. While they simmer use a potato smasher to crush the blueberries.

Before you start get your ginger cut and ready. 

The easiest way to peel ginger is to use a spoon. Take the spoon holding the bowl of the spoon toward the ginger and scrape in a downward motion. This makes it quite easy to peel.  Ginger is full of fiber so the smaller you can chop the better.

Now chop your ginger into small pieces. They should be small yet able to be seen. The ginger is so delicious in this jam. This picture is only to show you the size. I chop lots of ginger then freeze it for my jams and cooking. But that is another post.

Now that your ginger is chopped add it to the pot stir and then add the the remaining blueberries, sugar and lemon zest. As most of you know we do not use pectin.


I let all my jams gel naturally. Just take it slow and get the mixture up to 223 degrees and that will do it. For now keep this mixture at a simmer and make sure everything is getting along in your pot. The picture will show a larger amount of blueberries then you have prepared but I make double batches. 

If you want to thin out your jam now is the time. I use an immersion blender. Do not go crazy and make it to thin. Although some people do like it that way. 

I like chunky jam that has texture and great taste. 

Now it is time to get your batch up to a good rolling boil this will bring your jam to the right temperature to gel. And to know it use a candy thermometer. You must stay with your jam and stir so it does not stick to the bottom of you pot and burn.

Once your jam is up to temperature turn off the heat and let your jam rest for 5 minutes. This will tell you if the gel is right. Once it has set in the pot for the 5 minutes you will notice when you run your spoon across the top there is a thin layer. It is like when your hot chocolate gets a film on it. That will let you know it is ready to go into the jars. 

Now take your warm jars and fill them until they are about 1/2 inch from the top of the jar. Once filled wipe the top rims of the jars to eliminate any excess jam that may have dripped. The jars need to be clean when you put on the twist and top. Alrighty now that the jars are filled and clean you can top and twist taunt the lids.

Place your jars into a rapidly boiling water bath and let them sit for 12 minutes. Once done turn off the heat let them sit for an additional 5 minutes. Remove your jars place them on a towel on the counter and let them cool for at least 8 hours. Once cooled remove the twist and clean the rim. Label and store for up to one year in a cool dry pantry or cupboard. Never store your preserved food with the twist on.