Yes, I’m talking about canning supplies for summer already even though the calendar and the temperatures are saying winter. The fact is quite a few people can year-round to best use their storage space. For example, I prefer canned chicken stock over frozen chicken stock since it’s easy to use and doesn’t take up freezer space.
Look at What You’ve Already Canned
If you’re already in canning mode, you may have a collection of jars in use or waiting to be used. If I have all my jars in use (unusual for me), I like to have at least one case of each type of jar in reserve. This prevents me from rushing out to buy more supplies at a higher price when I need them.
Gauge how much you’ll be canning by what your family typically uses. If you made special jams for Christmas that you may not make again, don’t include them. However, if you’re going to make a different recipe for Christmas, make sure you include the jars in what you’ll need. If you need to buy more, start by putting out the word, checking Craigs List, and looking at local thrift shops. Know what you would pay per jar for a new one to make sure you don’t pay too much for a used one. Always check for cracks and chips on used jars before buying.
Other Canning Supplies
Assess your bands and lids. Check to see if the bands are rusting; these need to be discarded since they’re no longer safe to use. I put mine in recycling. I’ve also come up with some fun games for the kids to play with them like ring toss.
If you use disposable lids like I do, you’ll need to stock up. I keep an eye out for bands and lids on clearance at Target in the fall. Doing this often saves me at least $1 per box. You can also find deals on bands and lids on Amazon, though know your prices before ordering. I find Ball supplies to be a little more than the Bernardin and Kerr brands, though you can find the Ball brand in almost every store in our area.
Amazon also carries the Tattler Reusable canning lids. I haven’t tried them myself since they would require an outlay of money initially for us to use. Tattler canning lids are BPA free, dishwasher safe, made in the USA, and made for both the water bath canner and pressure canner. Tattler reusable lids are guaranteed for life If you’re curious about how they work, Tattler has put together a page on using them along with tips.
Make sure you have reusable plastic storage caps, too. We use these for jars going in the freezer and fridge and for general use in the cabinet. These lids go on the jar after you remove the band and lid to use the home canned food.
Water Bath and Pressure Canning
Neither method of canning, water bath and pressure canning, require any special supplies. Many grocery stores, Walmarts, and hardware stores carry water bath canner for about $20. You can also buy them online or at thrift shops. For Pressure Canner, ask around before buying in case someone has one in their basement. Be prepared to buy a new rubber band and gauge depending on the band of the pressure canner. The rubber band will need to be replaced on a regular basis.
Other Supplies to Have
Depending on what you want to can, you’ll need to have some other supplies on hand. I always have extra potholders, large thin cotton towels, a candy thermometer, wooden spoon for stirring, large bowl for prepping or brining vegetables, and a thin stick for removing air bubbles.