Canning is a great way to save and revisit foods and flavors from past seasons, as well as stock your pantry with food staples you may have traditionally bought from the store.


While you can get pretty crazy with your canning implements, I've found that the following basics work well:

  • A large (2 gallon+) pot for sterilization and water canning
  • A pair of rubberized jar tongs
  • 2 quart saucepans for lid heating, as well as small-batch recipes
  • Cooling racks for draining jars

I recently started using my electric pressure cooker to keep jars hot while I work. This allows me to free up my biggest pot, as I can prepare my canned food in that, heat the jars in my Instant Pot, then quickly clean out the largest pot for processing.

Prep Work

Set up a cooling rack over a dishtowel to place hot jars that have been removed after their water bath.

Ensure all jars are free of cracks or chips, especially around the lip.

Clean tongs, ladles, and funnels. Keep simmering in hot water until ready to use.

Lids should only be used once, and should be free of scratches or rust (specifically on the underside) before being used. Rings may be used infinitely. Let lids simmer in several inches of water while prepping food and canning โ€“ this softens the rubber and allows for a better seal.

Note that only refrigerator preservation requires jars and lids to be sterilized before canning. If you will be hot water processing (boiling the canned goods after filling the jars), then this initial sterilization is not required.