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Jul 4, 2008 03:06 PM

Jam water bath w/regular pot instead of canner?


I'm planning to make jam with the strawberries I picked. I have a fairly small freezer and would like to be able to share the end results with friends and neighbours, so I'd like to process with the water bath method rather than use the freezer jam method.

Is it possible to use a regular deep pot to process? Or do I really need to buy a water bath canner? (The cupboards are almost as small as the freezer, I'd like to avoid buying another big pot if possible.)

Has anyone here made jam and processed in a regular pot? Any hints?

Thanks in advance

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  1. As long as the pot is deep enough to allow the jars to be well-submerged, it doesn't matter. Water needs to circulate below as well, so you need some sort of mesh or perforated rack underneath the jars. As long as you aren't using tall jars, a standard stockpot should suffice.

    1. I did! I have a large stock pot with a strainer which I used since I didn't have a canner. The strainer worked great to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot. If you don't have a strainer that fits inside your pot, just use a small, round cake cooling rack which you can purchase at Walmart or Target or any grocery store for a few bucks. Your pot should be deep enough to have 1-2 inches of water above the jars, and have a lid that fits well. I used a big pair of grilling tongs to lift the jars in and out of the pot since I couldn't find a jar lifter. My jam turned out great!

      1. with greygarious and with Jen76--you don't need special equipment. Half-pint jars might work better because they're shorter. Be sure that there's at least 1" of water above the jar lids and that water is completely free-flowing around each jar (jars shouldn't touch each other or the side of the pot or the bottom of the pot--folded dish towel works). This is to ensure that the jars are properly pressurized to seal and also so that the glass doesn't touch a hot spot that might cause it to crack or break (esp true if a jar touches the bottom of the pot).

        1. I tried the folded up towel method, and it worked just fine. MIL bought me a canning kettle for Christmas -- she cans but uses the "hot pack" (or is it cold pack?) method that doesn't involve processing. I'm more comfortable with processing as that's what I grew up with.

          3 Replies
          1. re: odkaty

            Hot pack or cold pack - doesn't matter. Should still be processed.

            1. re: Jen76

              that's what I thought ... and why I won't eat anything MIL has canned.

              1. re: odkaty

                Definitely. And, if it's veggies she's canning (anything not acid or not pickled like beans, corn, etc.) they should be processed in a pressure canner to get up to the right temperature.

          2. My mother used to put a couple of slats of wood on the bottom of the canner. We had a huge one!