As promised, this is the first installment of a series on hot water bath canning. This is very different from pressure canning, which we will talk about later.
Hot water bath canning is for high acid foods. Those usually include jams, jellies, pickles and pickled things and tomatoes (as long as they have sufficient acid in the form of lemon juice added to them). The very best way to know what is safe to water bath can is to look it up in your Ball Blue Book. I highly recommend that you get one of these if you are going to be doing some canning. They are filled with great recipes, step-by-step instructions and all of the "rules" of canning. It's $10 well spent!
This post is going to cover the equipment needed to hot water bath can.
Water Bath Canner.
Although there are some people who just use a pot with a lid to water bath can, I much prefer to use a specific water bath canner. They are large, hold a lot of jars filled with food and usually come with a rack inside to aid you in the lifting in/out of the filled jars.
Your jars should be thoroughly washed and sanitized as well as warm when you are canning. If your jars are warmed when you add your filling to them, they are much (MUCH) less likely to crack or break. Keeping your jars in your simmering water bath canner or in hot water in your sink will do the trick nicely.
These are the rings. When you first buy lids, you'll want to get the sets that have lids AND rings in the packs. After that rings are re-usable. Lids are not.
These are the lids that I'm using. These are not the traditional metal one-piece lid. These are a 2-piece, reusable, lifetime (basically) lid. They are BPA free (regular lids aren't) and the only part that will ever need replaced is the rubber ring and the website says that they are good for 20 uses. So, if you use your lids 1 time a year, they are good for 20 years. They are more costly, but worth it in the long run.
(Check out the Tattler link on my sidebar! It's an amazing product. Well worth the money.)
Jar lifter and filling funnel.
Not entirely necessary, but they make life so, So, SO much easier. These usually come in a kit with a bubble remover wand and a magnetic lid lifter for around $8.00.
Two last things I think are necessary are 2 dish towels and 1 large bath towel. One dish towel to use for wiping your hands and to be "dry" and one dish towel that you can wet to wipe off the rims of the jars before putting the lids and rings on. A bath towel folded in half on the counter is the perfect, safe place to rest your jars once they come out of the canner. Putting them on the counter without any sort of insulating barrier can cause shock to your jars resulting in breakage. Not what you want after you take the time to can something special.
This is all the special equipment required for hot water bath canning. Gather your things together and get ready for our next installment:
Hot Water Bath Canning: Making Jam~ Coming soon!