where do i buy a boiling water canner?
Hi Hounds- I'm new to canning and want to make some pepper jelly for Christmas gifts. I read up on the process of sterilizing bottles and discovered that I should get a boiling water canner. I live in LA (South Bay); do you know where I would buy such a contraption? TIA!!
Hardware stores carry them as well. They are usually sold in sets which includes the canning rack, jar lifter and funnel. They come in two sizes (pint and quart) and should run about $20. WalMart may have them too but I know Ace carries them.
If you can't find one, a dutch oven or stock pot will work. You just need to place a towel on the bottom of the pot before you put the jars in and make sure you have at least 1 inch of water over the top of the jars. If you're doing pints or smaller, you should be fine with a 5 qt or larger.
In LA I think you;re going to have much better luck at an old-fashioned hardware store like a True Value or a mom & pop. If you go to someplace like W-S or Sur la Table the best you're going to be able to get is an expensive stockpot.
But you should know that, depending on the size of jars you're working with, a large stockpot you may already have will work. What you want to do is keep the jars off the bottom of the pot with some water circulation. I've used wads of aluminum foil, jar rims tied together, and a small round cake cooling rack. I bet those glass flower arranging blobs would do the trick too.
Then you want to have the boiling water 1" over the lids and a cover for the stockpot.
I would invest -- probably not more than $20 -- in a jar funnel and a jar lifter and I think you can still get those at Target in their housewares section. A lid lifter which is a glorified magnet on a stick is handy too but with some agility you can pick them up with tongs if you can't find or don't want to spend on a lid lifter. You could also superglue a magnet to the end of a chopstick.
I got most of my canning supplies at walmart; however i think it's a seasonal thing for them (as well as the local hardware store where I've also bought canning jars and a jar lifter--esssential! The wide mouth funnel is also really important as it keeps you from getting stuff on the rim of the jar which makes the seal process not work ).I only saw those things at both places in the late summer; at walmart that aisle now has "christmas serving pieces" etc. I'll say that I never got around to a canning pot; I use my big stock pot with a circular rack on the bottom. The rack isn't quite as big as the pot, so I can't do as many at a time as I'd like, but it saved me $20 or so.
Here in L.A., I've seen canning equipment & jars at OSH. Check if there's a branch close to you.