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Sep 17, 2006 08:21 PM

Canning Equipment: What brand should I buy?

I see a couple of different brands of canning pots and accessories on the Web, such as on I can't tell what they perform like. Some are a bit more expensive, but I can't tell what you really get for that. Can anyone with experience give me advice on what's best?

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  1. I just went through the same thing. Afer looking at i went to Walmart hoping to see them in the flesh and decide, but they had nothing so left empty handed.

    On the way home, I stopped at a hardware store where I was able to buy the hot water tongs ($3) as well as a funnel ($2). I have been using them ever since, and it has been basically all I needed. Saved a bundle, too.

    As long as you are not doing pressure canning, you can basically get away with very little.

    1. Yes, by all means go to a hardware store and get cheap stuff. There's no such thing as a high-end up-grade of canning tools.

      I'm surprised while you were there you didn't get a speckled enamel kettle with a lift out rack. They're cheap and very handy for keeping the jars separated as the water boils around them and also most useful for lifting everything out at once.

      Another cheap and useful tool is the little plastic handle with the magnet on the end for lifting a single lid out of the pot of hot water they're simmering in.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rainey

        I have one of the enamel kettles, have used it for years. I don't recall what it costed but it was very inexpensive. I use it to hot-process 6 quarts at a time. I also found it handy as a steamer when I had an 8lb lobster last New Year.

      2. The kettle and rack is priced at over $35 at the Our Own Hdwe store in my neighborhood. A 14 mile drive to Fleet Farm got me same item, same brand for $13 and change. Have a FF in your area? the magnet idea, rainey.

        1. It seems like there are always kettle/racks at the thrift stores...I often see them in very good condition for under $5. FYI - I've always heard it's important to not place the filled jars directly on the bottom of the water bath kettle, so I've always used a rack.

          2 Replies
          1. re: kmr

            Yes, you want to elevate the jars and ensure good circulation of the water.

            I've tied together some jar rings with cotton string in an emergency to use a smaller pot. I've also loosely wadded up some aluminum foil to make little pads for the bottom.

            1. re: kmr

              Having the jar bottoms off the bottom of the kettle prevents a condition called bumping. This occurs when steam is trapped under the jar under pressure builds up enough to push the jar aside. It is a little like having a micro pressure cooker under the jar where the jar is the pressure regulator. The jolt of the jars going up and down sometimes cracks a jar.

              Heating is a lot more uniform with jars far enough off the bottom of the canner to have good water circulation.