I know in some circles canning your own food is horribly old-fashioned to which I say, call me old-fashioned because I kind of love it. Many of you have expressed interest in learning more about canning (and many of you know quite a bit already!) so today begins a little series on the basics of water bath canning.

Canning may seem intimidating – I get it! I used to feel that way until I actually started water bath canning and realized how easy it is. Often people think they have to can 146 jars of jam in order to justify pulling out the canning equipment. While that is awfully ambitious and wonderful, there are many, many times that I use my water bath canning to process a simple 3-4 jars of strawberry jam or whatever it is. It doesn’t have to be a day long, epic adventure every time. It’s easy. I promise!

To start, there are two main types of home canning: Water Bath and Pressure.

Water Bath canning is the most approachable type of canning (and is a bit more affordable to get started with) and is for high acidity foods like tomatoes, pickles. Jams, jellies, salsa, applesauce and peaches are also ok for water bath canning.

Pressure canning is for those foods that are low in acidity and that need higher temperatures to be food safe. Think: green beans, meats, other vegetables, fish, etc. Pressure canning basically takes the jars/food to a higher temperature (240 degrees instead of 212 degrees) and requires a special pressure canner to do the job.

We’ll talk about pressure canning next month but today, let’s quickly cover the equipment needed for water bath canning. Don’t forget to read all the way through to get the details on the giveaway, especially if you are just starting out on your canning journey.

I have a trusty resource that I use for almost all my canning questions: The Almighty Awesome Ball Blue Book of Canning (not the official title but I like to call it that). I always peek in here before figuring out how and what to can as a first step and then usually tweak or use my own recipes along the way. I think they’ve since updated the cover since I bought mine years ago but it’s the same info.

Here’s the rundown on basic equipment needed (not a whole lot of stuff!):
First, you need to get yourself some jars. The size and style will depend on what you are canning. I’m pretty boring and even put my jellies/jams in pint-size jars instead of the cute, quilted glass jars. You can see from the picture below that jars come in either wide-mouth or regular, which refers to the size of the opening. I far prefer wide-mouth jars for the ease of filling, but in the end, a jar is a jar. Jars can be reused time and time again unless they have developed cracks or chips.

Rings and lids are necessary for canning, too. The rings can be reused over again and I recommend taking the rings off your sealed and canned jars once you put the jars on the shelf – it helps the rings not get rusty and nasty but the jars will still stay sealed after the ring is removed (don’t detach the lid). Lids, on the other hand, should only be used once in order to make sure the jars seal correctly every time. The little POP! you hear as the jars seal is like music to my ears. That’s the lid in action. Make sure to buy the same size lid as your jar (wide-mouth jars = wide-mouth lids).

These basic little canning sets are very common and are worth their weight in gold. The large funnel is perfect for filling jars to eliminate sticky spills down the side of the jar. The grabber-tong thingies help to get the jars out of the boiling water (sorry, I’d rather not use my hands) and the little stick with a magnet, while totally frivolous, is actually quite handy to nab the lids that sit in really hot water before topping the jars.

Now, the pot. Pretty essential, I’d say. The style of pot you see here is very common and can be found at most stores that sell canning jars and supplies. They are inexpensive and come with a rack that can fit about 7 quart-size jars and about that many, if not a few more, pint-size jars.

I can’t talk about canning without mentioning my Camp Chef stove. I don’t can indoors. I always, always use my Camp Chef that we got a hundred years ago outside for canning. It’s so much easier (and keeps my house cooler) to do the processing outside. Plus, you can get two water bath pots going at the same time and have a party. Didn’t you know canning with friends is much more fun? It is. You can certainly can inside if your stovetop is canning-approved (some glass/ceramic tops are not) but it’s also very convenient to do the processing outside if you can.

While not a part of the basics of water bath canning, I do have to give a shout out to something that revolutionized how I can jams/jellies. I was spending a fortune at the store buying low-sugar jam (it’s virtually impossible to find jam where the first ingredient is fruit and not sugar or HFCS) and hated the taste of home-canned high-sugar jam (tasted all sugar and no fruit). Enter Pomona’s Pectin. I don’t even remember how I discovered this gem but I’ve been using it for years and won’t can jam or jelly without it. In a nutshell, Pomona’s is a sugar- and preservative-free citrus pectin that does not require sugar to jell. As a result, jams and jellies can be made with less, little, or no sugar at all and also require much less cooking time than traditional recipes – this means the resulting jams and jellies are healthier and taste more like fruit than sugar. Honestly, I can’t say enough about this stuff. It’s amazing. You have to search around for the best deals online but most recently, I found it on sale at Vitacost. One box can make many batches of jam.

Ok, so that’s the basics of what you need to start water bath canning. Very soon I’ll be sharing a step-by-step for how I can applesauce, peaches and jam. And next month, we’ll start in on pressure canning.

Please leave any questions about canning in the comments!

149 Responses to Canning 101: Water Bath Basics

  1. Amanda says:

    Have you posted any freezer jam recipes yet? Looked for some but didn’t see anything. You are my go-to for all the best recipes! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Kathy says:

    Can you make these instructions printable for me? That or send to my Email address ,a short version

    • Mel says:

      I am not able to do that but you could copy and paste the instructions to a word document or other word processing document and print that.

  3. Jen says:

    I use a two burner camp chef for both water bath and pressure canning. I love it. But I feel that I should warn, my presto pressure canner instructions say specifically not to use pressure canners on propane type stoves. I still do, but I felt like I should put that out there.

  4. Dena C says:

    Are there any tricks to canning on a camp chef that one needs to know before giving it a try? Can you use a pressure cooker on a camp chef, if so, is it hard to keep the gauge on the required pounds. Also, is a two burner big enough or would a three burner be better for the extra space?

    • Mel says:

      Dena C – Not any real tricks except for a little experimenting (with temperature and where to keep the heating dial for even heating). I haven’t used a pressure canner on it but many of my friends have. I like the 3-burner because of the extra space; it’s all I’ve ever used for canning so I’m not sure how big of a pot you could fit on the 2-burner.

  5. JaLeen says:

    I’d love to start canning and hope to make some jam with some amazing blackberries I picked this week. Do you have any favorite canning recipes? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      JaLeen – I’ll be posting some canning recipes later this summer but mostly I like to follow the barebones instructions on the Pomona’s pectin (all-natural pectin which allows you to make low-sugar jam/syrups) and kind of mix whatever fruits I have to use.

  6. Nicole Riggs says:

    Hey Mel! I have used up my last jar of sugary substance called freezer jam and am ready to start my new adventure with Pomona πŸ™‚
    I was just going to ask if you go the honey route or still use sugar? I’m going to do strawberry I’m pretty sure. I also see on the instructions it says 1/2-1 cup sugar (per 4 cups fruit) so it really doesn’t make a difference if you use the low amount…it still turns out solid? (Call me nervous from deviating from the freezer recipe handed down 4 generations! lol)

    • Mel says:

      Hey Nicole! Don’t be nervous! I love Pomona’s and think you will too (but don’t blame you since freezer jam is so yummy!). I’ve never gone the honey route, I always use sugar and judge the amount by the sweetness of my fruit. Super ripe in-season strawberries I only use 1/2 cup but sometimes if the fruit is less ripe or just not as sweet, I’ll use more. You can always taste the mixture and add more sugar if needed so I’d say start low! Good luck!

  7. Smilebhappy says:

    Will this site become active later as we get into season?

    • Mel says:

      Smilebhappy – I will probably update the canning series later this summer but not sure exactly what it will entail right now.

  8. Jena says:

    Great Info! Thank you!
    Do you know when you will be posting a recipe and step-by-step for canning jam?
    Thanks again!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jena – good question! I’m hoping when spring/summer comes and I get my hands on some ripe, seasonal fruit, I’ll be able to post more canning recipes like that.

  9. […] If you are new to canning I found a GREAT link that was posted just this morning by Mel over at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe that will help you. She explains it FAR better than I ever could! She goes through the whole […]

  10. Gisele says:

    Hi Mel, interesting post. I never ever ever eeeever thought about canning before ! I didn’t even knew that there was a way of doing it at home. Please keep with your posts, they are great and extremely helpful, thank you for your tips =D

  11. Libby Cowger says:

    Hi Mel! I purchased some of the Pomona pectin but I’m not sure what calcium powder is (to make the calcium water)? Where do you find it?

    I love your blog and often bring your recipes to gatherings. When people ask for the recipe I find myself referring to you as if I’ve known you forever and we are best pals. ‘Oh, it is a Mel recipe.’ Now, most of my friends and family know what I mean.

    • Mel says:

      Hey Libby – the calcium powder comes in the box of Pomona’s pectin. There should be a larger white envelope of pectin and a pretty small little envelope of calcium powder. If it isn’t in there then the company that shipped it to you made a mistake so I’d check back with them! (P.S. thanks for the sweet comment…so glad you are loving the recipes!)

  12. Jena H. says:

    Hi Mel,
    Has the winner been announced yet?

    Thank you for hosting such an awesome giveaway!

  13. Diane says:

    Haha! I guess all the comments hadn’t loaded for me, either.

  14. Diane says:

    Raquel, if you haven’t gone ahead and tried the bars yet, it’s 1/2 c of butter, 1 1/2 c of sugar, and 1/4 tsp of salt.

  15. Raquel says:

    Terry A. …Thank you for taking the time to do that. I appreciate it! πŸ™‚

  16. Terry A. says:

    Oh, sorry. All of the comments didn’t load, so I didn’t know this had been answered. Oops! πŸ™‚

  17. Linda Martin says:

    Thank you for the post and the giveaway. I have been canning for years and now am passing this on to not only my daughter – but my daughters in law as well. Nothing feels as good as looking at the sealed jars sitting on my counter waiting to be taken down to the fruit room! So glad to see this coming back “in Style”.

  18. Terry A. says:

    Hi, Raquel. I am just seeing your question about the banana bars. I don’t see that symbol, but here is a copy/paste version of the recipe. I will write out the fraction amounts, in case it is still showing that symbol for you.

    Β½ cup butter, softened (one half cup)
    1 Β½ cups white sugar (one and one half cups)
    2 eggs
    1 cup sour cream
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    ΒΌ tsp salt (one fourth teaspoon)
    1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I used three ripe bananas)
    Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:
    1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    1 cup white sugar (you can use either granulated sugar or confectioners’ sugar – the confectioners’ sugar tends to dissolve better and not be as grainy but either one works fine)
    1/8 tsp salt (one eighth teaspoon)
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 Β½ cups heavy whipping cream (one and one half cups)

    Hope that helps!

  19. Jenn O says:

    The service to add entries for the giveaway does not appear to be working for me. I’m not on facebook and its just grinding its wheels so to speak about loading my entires. I hope it works! Canning is on my list of skills to learn.

  20. Mark Gramaglia says:

    my newest retirement hobby!

  21. Hollie Watterson says:

    What a wonder resource for beginners and those of us who would need a refresher. Thank you for taking the time to share. *winning would be nice* (what I had did not make it through a fire). Thanks again.

  22. Paul L. says:

    I love using the Camp Chef for canning. I can cook my salsa and spaghetti sauce while my bottles process out on the patio. It works great!

  23. Heather Hogge says:

    By the way, my husband came home with the three burner camp chef and it is pretty sweet. Now we have the two burner and the three burner and he said I should be able to get a lot of canning done outside on them. I guess I need a second bath.

  24. Karen says:

    I love canning! This is my third year and I can everything I get my hands on. I just bought Pamonas about a week ago. I have always made freezer jam because the Mrs. Wages freezer jam pectin uses the least amount of sugar. Freezer space is so valuable that I am hoping Pamonas will enable me to can strawberry jam. I first read about Pamonas in the cookbook “Put Em Up Fruit”.
    Pressure canning is also very easy. Around the holidays they usually go on sale. A Presto large pressure canner that is normally $100 will be on sale for $80. I highly recommend getting the big (tall) one since you can fit 14 pints in it at once! I use mine mostly for homemade chicken broth, chili, spaghetti sauce and soon I’m going to try canning beans.
    Yesterday my neighbor gave me a bunch of rhubarb and since freezer space is nil I decided to can it as a sauce. Mmmm is it good. The book I used is called “Putting Food By” it is the fifth edition an it is such an awesome book. I also have two Ball books.
    Sorry to go on so much but I just love canning. Hoping for the awesome canning pot!

  25. Raquel says:

    Mel and Catherine,
    Thank you so much for responding to my comment. I am using a Dell laptop. I’m sure the issue I’m having has something to do with my computer. I did notice that I only see those symbols in your older recipes. So for some reason, my computer must not want to read the older ones. I have no idea! πŸ™‚ All I know is that I can make banana bars now! πŸ™‚ Thank you so much.

  26. Cindy Hovey says:

    Great timing – that’s all I can say. My mom has decided that I can make my own jam, she isn’t going to do it for me anymore. Ah, no problem, it just seems to taste better when Mom does it. I NEVER thought about doing the canning outside though, and I love the idea. Once again, you’ve changed the course of my life. πŸ™‚

  27. Catherine says:

    RAQUEL, I’ll answer about the banana bars for you. I think your computer may be having a hard time interpreting data from the internet. I don’t get a horseshoe-like symbol. What I see on the recipe is (without typing symbols):
    half cup butter
    one and a half cup white sugar
    one-fourth tsp salt
    one and a half cup heavy whipping cream

    Hope this helps you.

  28. claire says:

    Have you ever made the Pioneer Woman’s salsa? I have always wondered about canning it since it makes way more than we can eat in a week or two. But it’s not cooked – so I didn’t know if it could be canned or not. It’s made of canned tomatoes, rotel, onions, jalapeΓ±o, cilantro, lime, etc. Can you can without cooking the salsa more than the processing time??

  29. bluebaker says:

    I do alot of freezer jam . I especiallly like strawberry, blueberry, peach, and plum. I use the low sugar pectin from Ball. I have never seen the Pomona brand around here in Michigan, but if I see it, I’ll try it.
    I’ll be waiting to read your post about pressure canning because I’ve had a deathly fear and phobia ever since we were little kids. One day my grandma’s pressure cooker exploded! The guage thingy hit the ceiling, there was split pea soup everywhere and me and my sisters were all screaming .( no one was hurt). We laugh about it now.
    Anyways, that was a long time ago. I’m sure the equipment is updated with more safety features, etc.

  30. Amy says:

    Awesome giveaway! I have a quick question, though. . . it looks like I would have to sign up for Facebook to enter. . . I don’t have a Facebook account, and don’t intend to get one anytime soon. . .is there another way to enter? Thanks!

  31. I really only can tomatoes (although I have done pickles and hot peppers before). My aunt taught me how to do the water bath method on her farm. I’ve already canned several pints of tomatoes to unlock some summer goodness this winter!

  32. Karen says:

    One of these days I’m going to remember to get some of that pectin, instead of the stuff I already stocked up on for this year. It sounds great!

    Very nice giveaway-sadly, I don’t do Facebook.

  33. Katherine says:

    Thank you for the Pomona’s pectin tip! I have been trying all the regular grocery store kinds and looking for a healthier option.

  34. Carrie C says:

    Awesome Giveaway! I love canning but I agree – it is really hot canning inside. I love the idea of canning outside!!

  35. Darcy says:

    Mel, I’m so excited to see your a canner! We are doing tomatoes today! I like to do my tomatoes in the pressure cooker, the local experts told me it was better for ‘higher quality tomatoes’. It takes about the same length either way! I can’t wait to see what you are going to be doing! Drop of Awesome for you! I’m going to look into the pectin too.

  36. Thesha says:

    Seriously awesome giveaway, Thanks!

  37. Sam C says:

    second paragraph, there is a typo:

    To start, there are two many types of home canning: Water Bath and Pressure.

    .. should probably be ‘two main types’

    –love the article! thanks

  38. Raquel says:

    P.S. If anyone else knows the amounts for the banana bars and has the time to leave a comment with the info, I would be very grateful. I only need to know the amount of butter, white sugar, and salt for the bars….and the amount of heavy whipping cream for the whipped frosting. Thank you.

    • Mel says:

      Raquel – what device are you using to view the recipe (iPad, phone, computer)? I can see the amounts just fine in the recipe so I’m not sure why you are having problems. Sorry about that! The amounts are 1/2 cup butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

  39. Katie LeAnne says:

    Pimona’s Pectin is the way to go, it tastes so much better than any other kind! i make multiple kinds of jam and I also can tomatoes, salsa, and beets.

  40. Jodie says:

    My mom has been canning for years and she has always roped us into helping! It would be nice to have the outdoor cooker to do some canning myself! Thanks

  41. Teresa R. says:

    One of my favorite childhood memories was looking at my mother’s beautiful home canned goods all lined up on a shelf. I remember waiting for the lids to pop. You did a great job on this tutorial.

  42. Kim R says:

    Would like to be entered, but don’t have facebook – only email address. I’m with Camille, Jill, and Sheree. Could you please enter me using my email? Thank you for your help! I added comment on Aug 19th @8:53 PM.

  43. Raquel says:

    I wasn’t sure where to leave this comment, so sorry if this isn’t the best place, but I have a question about a symbol that appears in some of your recipes. It looks like an upside-down horseshoe, and it is always next to the numbers that tell the quantity of the ingredient to use. I have some overripe bananas to use up, and I’d like to try your banana bars with whipped frosting, but I’m afraid that the symbol I’m seeing stands for 1/2 or 1/4 and I’m going to mess up the recipe by not knowing the correct amount. Or maybe the horseshoe symbol stands for something else? Either way, would you be able to help me out with the amounts for the banana bar recipe? Sorry to be a bother, and thanks in advance for any help you may be able to give me! Raquel

  44. Regina says:

    This is so awesome! Thanks for sharing such a great post, very helpful!

  45. Jen M says:

    So excited to learn about that pectin! I hate jam that tastes more like sugar than fruit! I’m going to get some and try my hand at canning jam instead of just doing the freezer kind I usually do.

  46. karen says:

    I agree that canning outside is SOOOO much better! I use my camp chef too! Glad to hear that I’m not the only one. πŸ™‚

  47. Erin says:

    I recently learned how to can jams and jellies and now I’m a canning fool! Last weekend I made Santa Rosa Plum Jelly and Blueberry Jam. Winning this giveaway would help to fuel my passion.

  48. Abigail Butler says:

    I absolutely have grown to love canning! We live off of what we can from our garden throughout the year so it is essential for us. I COMPLETELY AGREE with the camp chef stove. That is the ONLY way to go. BUT MAY I MAKE A SUGGESTION…..we just finished remodeling our house last year and we had the idea to plumb in a gas line straight outside. Camp chef says you can alter your valve and you can plug in your camp chef to the gas line! YOU NEVER HAVE TO FILL UP A PROPANE TANK!!! Mind blown. Seriously the best advice I could ever give. We love it!!!

    Thanks for all the awesome blog posts and advice you give. I love reading your blog everyday!

  49. Sheree says:

    I’m with Camille and Jill. I would like to enter the giveaway, but can’t seem to do it with just my email. Thanks for your help!

  50. Kim R says:

    My neighbor’s husband has full blown cancer. We tilled her an enormous garden to help feed him fresh organically homegrown fruits and vegetables. She cans all of the harvest. We pray every step of the way! Thank you for the opportunity to be a blessing!!

  51. Dawn Burnworth says:

    I am super excited to see you posting about canning. It is making a huge comeback. I just got a canner and I am a bit nervous but my first batch of jelly turned out fantastic. I never thought of cooking it outside on a stove. The new canners are so much nicer than what I remember my mom using. I too would love a good salsa recipe. Thanks for the info.

  52. Julie says:

    I have a steamer (pan that holds water in the bottome and a huge dome cover) that my mom & grandma have always used for canning (high-acid-content foods). Does your “Blue Bible” say anything about steaming vs. water bath?

  53. Leslie says:

    This is one of the first things I want to try with my oldest twins now in kindergarten! Awesome giveaway and information!!!

  54. Kimber C says:

    i love this! totally gets me motivated to actually do something with our garden yummies!

  55. Krista says:

    So excited about this post. I need a good salsa recipe – so hopefully you will be sharing yours. πŸ™‚

  56. Cheralee says:

    Thanks for all these great tips on canning. I’ve been working on mine, but do NOT have it mastered yet. πŸ˜‰

  57. Janene says:

    How awesome! I just canned this weekend! Peach jalapeno jam, and Peach Marmalade. I had so much fun!!!! I love the sound of the lids popping after I take them out of the bath! I call it my canning music!

  58. Theresa says:

    Ball has a pectin for low-sugar freezer jam. It’s called Ball RealFruit Instant Pectin. It makes a jam that’s about 2 parts fruit to 1 part sugar and it’s super easy and tasty! You just mix the pectin (it’s powdered) and sugar together, then stir it into the fruit for 2 minutes and that’s it. Love it! I’m glad to know about this Pomona stuff too, because I have a limited amount of freezer space!

  59. Bethany says:

    What a great post! Lots of helpful tips! I do a little bit of canning myself, and love to have things in my food storage that came straight from my garden!

  60. Susanne says:

    I would love the canning pot. My mom always uses the canning pot but I have two of the steamers and so that is what I use. This fall my daughter and I used a camp chef outside and the mess was so much less.

  61. Shelly says:

    Thank you SO much for the pectin suggestion! I’m excited to try it when I run out of the jam I have in storage (which may be a while!). Would love the canning pot, but haven’t been able to figure out how to enter without Facebook. I have the camp stove and I can answer an earlier question- yes I do water bath and pressure canning on it and it works great. With the pressure canner I just make sure I can see the gauge from my kitchen window so I can continue to work while the canner is doing its thing!

  62. auntie m says:

    I just moved into a new house with an old ceramic cook top stove. I’m not loving it and will love it even less if it’s not suitable for canning! We have big plans for gardening and preserving the fruits of our labor.

  63. Colette Whicker says:

    I love your recipes! Everyone I’ve tried always turn out awesome. I’m looking for a recipe for Pizza Sauce to can. Do you know of a good one? Thanks for all of your hard work!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Colette – I haven’t canned my favorite pizza sauce but I’m guessing you could if you followed directions for canning a tomato sauce. Have you tried googling?

  64. Jolene P says:

    I use Bernardin No Sugar Needed Pectin for jams and love the results. The taste is like fruit butter, and the color! It’s vibrant, not discolored by the sugar. Thanks for all your info, Mel.

  65. Catherine says:

    I’ve canned. a. lot. I know people who have canned more than me, but not very many people. I completely agree with all the equipment described above, and about setting up outside if you are able to. After years of doing it inside, the last two times I set up outside and reaped the advantages that offers.
    I would offer this tidbit, the Ball Blue Book is the gold standard of canning instructions. The info published in it is tried and tested and continually retested. At the canning class I took my local extension office recommended, that I keep my copy up-to-date because the recipes are always being researched and retested to keep them safe and current. So if your book is more than 5 years old, consider buying this year’s edition. If your book is 10 years old, they definitely recommended I buy a new book, and I did.

  66. Katie says:

    Thank you for sharing that pectin with me…I HATE how much sugar you have to add to homemade jams and now I don’t have to go into a sugar coma when I want a piece of toast.

  67. Stephanie says:

    Love, LOVE Pomona’s Pectin. I tried it for the first time this summer and will use it forever now. It is so nice to actually taste fruit instead of sugar! Plus I feel a lot less guilty feeding my kids PB&J’s πŸ™‚

  68. Chantel says:

    My husband has been bugging me to make him some jam since we got married (uh..5 years ago lol). This makes me feel like it isn’t that big of a deal!! I was always so intimidated by canning, but this sounds so easy! Can’t wait to give it a try!!

  69. Auntie Patch says:

    Canning outside! Genius!

  70. Rebecca Thomas says:

    Great canning post! We just moved and now have a glasstop stove….this was a good reminder that I MUST find out if I can can on it!!

  71. Great giveaway!! I’d love to try canning sometime πŸ™‚

  72. Amie says:

    How exciting…I may have to get over my fear and give it a try! Thanks. πŸ™‚

  73. Jocelyne says:

    I told my husband two days ago: someday I will can peaches. Thanks for the giveaway and for the tutorial. I never thought about canning until I started to use more whole foods and less store-bought products, I’m quite excited now πŸ™‚

  74. December Sering says:

    I got the canning bug this year! I am addicted to it. Love to see the finished product-makes me feel so good! Can’t wait to see more on this subject!

  75. Heidi says:

    Wow! What a great giveaway. I love your tutorial on canning. In the past, I found canning to be somewhat intimidating so I only did freezer jams. After reading your blog I just might tackle canning.

  76. Alicia says:

    Awesome giveaway! I’ve never done water bath canning, but **used** to do pressure canning of chicken and beans until I remodeled my kitchen and got an induction cooktop. I love my stove (like, a lot!) but can’t use my pressure canner on it.

    Have you done pressure canning on your Camp Chef stove? I would love to can chicken again. I might need a Camp Chef stove if I could use it for both water bath and pressure canning.

  77. Tommie Bennett says:

    I have wanted to start canning for the last year, but I’m too afraid to try! I’m so excited that you posted this!!

  78. Katie B. says:

    I need to win this so bad!! I tried canning fresh salsa the other day and I have none of the fancy equipment which made things rather difficult.

  79. Holly says:

    I love it when canning becomes a social event – I have friends who also can and we will get together to do applesauce, peaches, tomatoes, or tomato sauce. I usually do jam on my own because it is pretty easy and I can get it into the canner pretty quickly. When we do applesauce at my neighbor’s, we set up a camp stove or two in the garage and keep apples cooking on one and jars of applesauce processing on the other. We can do LOTS of quarts in one day that way.

  80. Emily Archibald says:

    I am so excited to learn more about this! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  81. Jeanette G. says:

    My friend just sent me a link to a canning 101. Then I found yours today. lol
    Much better here. She mentioned using an outside camping stove to do her canning.
    I could never imagine how that would work. But the one you showed does look like it would be great especially since I have a glass top stove. Now what to try first is the dilemma.

  82. Amy says:

    Looking forward to your pressure canning posts. I’ve got water bath canning down, but have never tried pressure canning. Any chance you could give one of those away? πŸ™‚

  83. Debbie Feely says:

    Wow! This is great! I’ve canned forever but never had those nifty tools. I think it is time! I’ve never even seen a set like that. AND I’ve never heard of Pomona Pectin, but it is time for that too! So cool to not use all that sugar for jam. Thanks, Mel!

  84. Toni says:

    I’ve only been canning for about 2 years. So far, so good.
    I was wondering if your spaghetti sauce recipe on your website could be canned? You said that you freeze it, but could it be canned instead?

    • Mel says:

      Toni – I’m pretty sure someone left a comment on the spaghetti sauce post saying they canned it. Most anything can be canned as long as food-safe guidelines are followed. The Ball Blue book has a recipe for spaghetti sauce – I’ll have to look at the amount of acidity to see how it compares to mine for water bath canning.

  85. Jill says:

    I signed in for the giveaway, but it says I have 0/2 entries. I’m not on facebook……is there something else I need to do? Also, where can I buy the Pomona’s Pectin?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jill, I’ll take a look at the giveaway. As for the pectin, in the post, I mentioned to look around online for the best price – most recently I bought it at Vitacost.com.

  86. Terry A. says:

    What a great giveaway! (I can’t believe I’m drooling over canning equipment. LOL)

    That pectin sounds like just what I need. Thanks for the tip.

  87. April says:

    Never thought that my stovetop could be inappropriate for canning. Will have to check that out. I have a ‘thank you’ to say to your husband. We now own the microwave popcorn bowl and the smoker. Love both of them. Made our first smoked chicken yesterday and it was amazing. I imagine I will be having a lot of smoked meats in the future.

  88. Valerie H. says:

    So can you use the Pomona’s Pectin for freezer jam? I used to make cooked jam but have switched to freezer jam because it taste soo much better.

    • Mel says:

      Valerie – I used to think freezer jam tasted better until I made canned jam with Pomona’s pectin and it wins the taste test for sure. I’m not sure if you can make freezer jam with it – I think so but you might try googling to be sure.

  89. Maryjane says:

    I also want your jam or jelly recipes with less sugar. Hope I win!

  90. Laurel says:

    What an answer to prayers this post was! I have 10 tomato plants and a huge giant amount of pickling cucumbers. I have a lot of canning in my future. I’ve never done pickles before. I know you’re the wrong person to ask, since you’re family doesn’t like pickles, but do any of your canning party friends/family have a good pickling recipe? I’ve pinned a few but I trust you and would love a recipe from a trusted source!
    Thank you so much for all you do!

  91. angela @ another bite please says:

    oooo…i’ve been wanting to learn to can. can’t wait to see and read what you all share!

  92. Diane says:

    I agree that canning outside is brilliant! Most of our growing up years, we didn’t have more than a single in-window air conditioner, so I guess canning indoors probably didn’t heat up the house much more than it already was… It was yucky. I probably won’t do big-time canning this year like I thought, but maybe I’ll start doing little things here and there. We cheat and only do high-acidity canning in a steam canner. It’s great.

  93. Camille says:

    I don’t have a facebook account but would love to get at least one entry into the giveaway. Any other way to do this?

  94. Julia says:

    I also LOVE Pomona’s Pectin! A lot if people don’t know about it, but I love that I don’t have to use such large quantities of sugar and I still get great results.

  95. Monique says:

    So excited! This is perfect timing for me, I have been reading up on canning and will be trying it soon! Thanks!!!

  96. Does the finished product of the jam result in a runny or somewhat solid consistency.

  97. Alicia Wahlen says:

    What is your favorite jam recipe

  98. Jennifer says:

    I grew up canning from our garden and huge orchard to help feed our family of nine. I just started canning on my own a few years ago. I was amazed at how much I didn’t remember.
    Every year I borrow my neighbors big canning pot, so having one of my own would be great! Canning outside would be a dream. Not heating the whole house up and making it all humid inside. Thanks for all your info!

  99. Maria says:

    Mel, this is an excellent outline of the basics…the best one I’ve seen yet. I need to share this with a couple friends who are interested in getting started with canning.

  100. Stephanie says:

    I remember helping my mom can when I was a kid. I love the idea of doing it outside instead of heating up the kitchen on an already hot summer day! One of these days, I’ll have to give it a try myself. πŸ™‚

  101. Sarah says:

    I grew up watching my mom and grandmother can jams and veggies. I canned my first jam last year, looking forward to learning about green beans this year.

    Canning outside = so smart! Will have to keep that in mind!

  102. Terri C says:

    This is such a great giveaway, thanks for the chance!

  103. Beth says:

    My peach tree has been abundant this year and I have loved canning them! And wow! Would I love to win the camp stove! My air conditioned home has fans blasting my kitchen it is so hot! Your tutorial is so helpful. It really is easy, but it is just so foreign to us. Thanks also for the pectin hint. My daughter was freaking out at the 7 cups of sugar. She only put in half. I sent her outside to pick more peaches and.poured in the rest. πŸ˜‰

  104. Marcey says:

    Thanks for the chance to win these awesome prizes! I have canned a few things but would like to learn more!

  105. Shane Birkey says:

    What a great post! I am fairly new to the canning world and have to borrow all the supplies from my neighbor. This would be an awesome win! I have about 30 tomatoes sitting on my counter right now that will be canned in the next few days. πŸ™‚

  106. Brandie says:

    Thank you thank you! Just the other day I was thinking to myself I should comment on your blog and ask you to do some posts on canning. So, thanks for the tips and advice. Cant wait for a few recipes too. We are venturing into canning this next weekend, wish us luck!

  107. Rebeccah says:

    Thanks for for the awesome tips!

  108. I just started canning last year. I was so intimidated at first but I overcame my fears. It is so fun. Right now it’s tomato season. So I’m doing salsa and pasta sauce.
    I’m gonna have to look for that pectin. Always trying to cut down on sugar in this house. Thanks!

  109. KC says:

    Thanks for the pectin option, I’m diabetic and hate putting all that sugar into my jams…I wonder if it would work for watermelon jam? I love vitacost, though, and am ordering some today:)

  110. Nicole Hunn says:

    Canning is something that I always assumed was really best for people who had fruit trees (and therefore have a bumper crop of fruit like I have, say, zucchini every summer). Did I mention I always wanted to be someone who had fruit trees? The suburbs stink. πŸ˜‰ Looking forward to learning all the basics, Mel!

  111. Ali Jones says:

    You just blew my mind with the camp chef. Why have I been canning indoors for so long?

  112. Cindy B. says:

    Thanks for the opportunity πŸ™‚

  113. I’ve been canning for a number of years, too – no pressure-canning, just water bath. I have the very same Ball canning book, and I’ve been referring to it already this week – love it! I mostly can salsa, jams/jellies and pickled “stuff” – green beans are a fave in this household. Can’t wait to get to work on our garden harvest over the next few weeks!

    One tip: if you don’t have a canner (I do, but it takes FOREVER to heat up on my electric stove), you could also use a pasta pot…the one with the perforated insert. When I have just a few jars to can, that’s what I use and it works great!

  114. Stephanie Long says:

    Great post, thank you! My grandma used to can all the time but she passed away before I got interested in it so I was never able to get a lesson from her.

  115. Melanie says:

    Thank you for this post! I haven’t ever canned, but have been wanting to try it! It did seem intimidating, but you’ve helped make it seem like it’s something I can actually do πŸ™‚

  116. Kirsten says:

    My Mom and I always get together and do some canning. We usually do applesauce, and relish.
    I love jam too, but I’ve switched to making freezer jam. It has more of a fruit taste and a lot less sugar.

  117. Andrea D. says:

    I have never tried that pectin before. Thanks for the information on it.

  118. Beth Bilous says:

    I’ve had a few jars break, and its very frustrating losing contents and replacing jars. What can I do about this?

  119. Missy says:

    Learned how to can using the water bath method when I was a kid in 4-H. It’s a skill I would likely have never learned and I’m glad I did! Haven’t canned anything in 15+ years. It would be fun to try again. Thanks for the post!

  120. April M says:

    I like to make up my own recipes. Sometimes they work out other times not. I have a canning journal (AKA a notebook) where I write down canning info. I put down amount of fruit to start, recipe for jam I used, and the yield so I know what I can expect from my efforts.

    Also did you know that ball has a no sugar/low sugar pectin option now too.

  121. Ashley B. says:

    YOU are the answer to my prayers today! I just canned for the first time this weekend {I made blackberry and strawberry jam}. The sugar content in both recipes was so high, 7 cups of sugar to 5 cups of fruit, that I was a little upset with the taste outcome.

    Could you tell me how Pamona’s Pectin works? Does it replace both the fruit pectin and most of the sugar in a jam recipe? For example, using Pamona’s, if I am working with 5 cups of fruit, 7 cups of sugar, and 6 TBSP Pectin how would the recipe change when using Pamona’s?

    Sorry this is so long winded, but you must imagine my excitement when I checked my email and saw this lovely, helpful post sitting in my inbox πŸ™‚

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ashley – Pomona’s still uses pectin but it’s activated by calcium water (a natural powder you mix with water). You mix the pectin with the sugar/sweetener you are going to use and mix in the calcium water with the fruit. Then you boil it all together and then fill your jars. I can’t tell you exactly how your recipe would change because Pomona’s pectin is measured in smaller amounts but the last batch of apricot jam I made, I used 12 cups of apricots, 1 1/2 cups of sugar (the sugar amount will totally depend on the sweetness of your fruit of course!) and 3 tablespoons pectin (I think; can’t quite remember). But all their recipes are outlined in a pamphlet in the box. Can’t say enough good things about it.

  122. I LOVE the Ball Blue Book! Best canning book ever. πŸ™‚

  123. Emily Wells says:

    This is one of the best giveaways I’ve seen in a while. πŸ™‚ Growing up, my great grandmother always had a garden every summer, and she used to can everything. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try, but never really got around to doing. I would dearly love to win this! Good luck to everyone. πŸ™‚

  124. Mel M. says:

    Awesome giveaway! I love to can and would put the canning equipment to good use. Thank you for the chance to win!

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