A New Canning Rack

trivet

My favorite canning pot is a basic stock pot with a flat rack dropped into the bottom. I moved to this system a few years ago, after rusting through a traditional enameled pot. The one weak point in this set-up has always been rack. I typically use a round cake cooling rack and I’ve found that I have to replace it at least once a season because it eventually rusts into pieces. What’s more, as it rusts, it releases metallic crud into the water that leaves residue on the outside of the jars. It was not ideal.

trivet canning rack

As I thought about how to solve this problem, the idea of a silicone disk popped to mind. It would be resistent to the heat levels, would do the job of lifting the jars out of contact with the heat and if it had enough holes in it, would also allow the water to circulate sufficiently around the jars. At first, I tried a basic round silicone trivet that I had in the drawer, but it wasn’t perforated enough and made a horrible amount of racket as the boiling water pushed it off the bottom of the pot.

trivet

So I searched until I found this flexible, flower-shaped trivet. Made of silicone, it hits all the marks. It keeps the jars off the bottom of the pot, allows the boiling water past and doesn’t break down into the water. So far, it’s been positively ideal. And for $9.99, it was a fairly inexpensive solution to a problem that’s consistently vexed me.

What’s your most creative canning solution?

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92 Responses to A New Canning Rack

  1. 1
    Amanda says:

    Love it! Such a great idea.

  2. 2

    You smartiepants! I hate, hate, hate, the smell of rust in water, and am sensitive to even small amounts. For some odd reason, it reminds me of the smell of slaughtering chickens. I’m sure there’s something Freudian and horrible about me because of that, BUT all that to say–perfect solution. PERFECT. I’ma buy me one, STAT.

  3. 3
    Kevin Kimmett says:

    I made mine out of twisted aluminum foil.

  4. 4
    Brian says:

    Glad you found a tool that works well for you! Gonna get my pickle on this weekend, so any little tips are helpful.

  5. 5
    Maitreya says:

    What a good idea! I use a pizza screen as a canning rack, which seems to (so far) work really well. It’s aluminum too so it shouldn’t have any rusting problems.

  6. 6

    Such a nice idea you got. I will definitely buy it.
    Thanks,

  7. 7
    Ruben says:

    Aluminum pizza pans are sold by the inch, if you go to an industrial supply. I bought one to fit a medium sized pot and drilled a dozen holes in it.

    So, I have a canning kettle for 7 quarts, my stock pot with the pizza pan for five quarts or several pints, and an asparagus pot from the thrift shop for one quart or pint. Awesome.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Dru says:

    I hate the rust too! Thanks for this!

  10. 10
    Mad Dog says:

    …and it looks attractive!

  11. 11
    Jo says:

    Thanks… I have been looking forever for an alternative to the standard rack.

  12. 12
    Brenda says:

    My pressure canner rack just fits inside my big stock pot. Been using it that way for 3 years now. I have “re-homed” all my enamel canners and icky jar racks as I too, cannot handle that smell & residue on my jars. Love all the ideas that are being shared here!

    • 12.1

      I do this too! (the pressure canner rack inside the stock pot).

      My bigger problem has been the hard water reside on my pans (especially on the one I use for heating lids). I have had to boil vinegar with water in the pans to help loosen the calcium deposits (the vapors will clear your nose and lungs!)

      • marisa says:

        Do you add the vinegar during processing? I find that helps a lot.

      • Pete says:

        Look for a product called “Sanivac” by Davis Manufacturing Co., 1023 Morales Street, San Antonio, TX 78207-2369
        Phone: (210) 227-9161

        No boiling – no fumes – no hacking and choking. It cleans away the hardwater scale without boiling.

        I have a couple of quart bottles under the sink.

  13. 13
    Jo says:

    Thanks… I have been looking forever for an alternative to the standard rack. Now, no more overturned jars!

  14. 14
    Smitty says:

    Good one. I’ve been using round baking racks and can’t understand what you’re “supposed” to use otherwise for half-pints. The standard racks certainly don’t work and they drive me crazy. I’ve never actually lifted a rack of jars out of the pot and probably never will. Love all these ideas–especially the custom sized drilled pizza pans!

  15. 15
    meg h. says:

    Love this idea! My first rack rusted out and the second just doesn’t fit right. Mission for this weekend is to find a similar trivet. Got loads of marmalade to make this weekend so need this desperately!

  16. 16

    This is brilliant! Plus they had it in orange. BONUS!

  17. 17
    Patricia says:

    I have a question. Don’t the jars move around a lot when they don’t have dividers between them? I have been using a canning rack for years, but small jars fall through the holes up to their screw bands. I have seen a few racks that have smaller holes so the half pints won’t fall through, but they don’t have dividers and I am afraid the jars will move around and break when they bump into each other.

    • 17.1
      Julie says:

      I wondered about this, too. How do you keep the jars from bumping into each other while they’re processing?

      • marisa says:

        I find that full jars (either full of water when heating up or full of your product during processing) don’t move around. And if your water is boiling so vigorously that it is tossing the jars around the pot, you should turn it down a little. It needs to be at a gentle boil, not a rapid, rolling one.

  18. 18
    Kelly says:

    What a great idea! I’m also going to try this when I make dulce de leche (from the sweetened condensed milk cans) in my crockpot. The cans leave a rust ring on the bottom of my crock pot. I’ve tried putting a dishcloth at the bottom of the pot, but then it comes out rust colored and sometimes makes the cans float up to the top, which is not a good thing.

    I also love the idea about using it for the smaller half pint jars. I always have trouble balancing them on a regular canning rack!

  19. 19
    anitalynette.simmons@yahoo.com says:

    Love this idea! Was a store find or a web search? Would you mind lettting us know a place to purchase?
    Kind Regards,

    • 19.1
      marisa says:

      If you click the link above that says, “flexible, flower-shaped trivet” it will take you to this item’s page on Amazon. That’s where I bought mine.

  20. 20
    Anna says:

    Great idea! I don’t have a canning rack since I use two different stainless steel pots that don’t fit the traditional canning rack. I’ve used various makeshift ways of keeping the jars off the bottom and they’ve all made me a little nervous (and a few jars have broken, too). I will definitely have to find something like this. Thanks.

  21. 21
    Amy says:

    I am new to canning and I have been using a silicone trivet in a stock pot. I wondered why water was sloshing out of the pan! I should have figured it out, but… The flower trivet is beautiful, I will be looking for it.

  22. 22
    Mavis says:

    I love this flat canning rack I found on Kitchen Krafts. I LOVE that all my small jelly jars don’t fall through to the bottom! It’s a little but of an investment, but totally worth it!
    http://www.kitchenkrafts.com/stainless-steel-canning-rack/p/FP0026/

  23. 23

    You did it again! Thanks, Marisa. I, too, have given up on the round cake rack (expensive stainless steel that rusted anyway). Just ordered two!

  24. 24
    Kacee says:

    We have a homemade wooden rack. We never use anything to separate the jars from each other. Last year was our first we have any broken jars in the canning pot but we were also using new to us, used jars so that was most likely our issue. It’s much cheaper to buy used jars at yard sales and stuff but you run the risk of broken jars but to save over 75% off new jars, I am willing to take that risk.

  25. 25
    Sandi says:

    This sounds like a great idea! However, my problem is bigger – way bigger.

    I used to can all the time when my 3 kids were at home, and had a huge garden. Dozens of quarts of everything imaginable filled my pantry for the winter – life was good! But know that the kids are gone and we’ve moved to another house, I found that, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, I can’t use my ceramic top stove for canning. Something about the large flat surface of the pot, the high heat and cracking the ceramic top! We have a small garden for the 2 of us and I want to can small batches again. Now what do I do?

    • 25.1
      marisa says:

      Have you thought about getting a stand alone induction burner?

    • 25.2
      Jenn H says:

      Check out this discussion on the flat top stove. It has some interesting info & suggestions. I have a glass top stove (st least that is what I wold call it, maybe it really is ceramic?) & didn’t know you weren’t supposed to can on it so have been for years. That’s the nice thing about buying a “used” house as opposed to a new one, someone has usually broken in/broken everything for you so you can be more cavalier than if everything was new & you knew how much it would cost to replace! Hahaha!
      http://www.pickyourown.org/cannings4glasstop.htm

  26. 26
    Meghan says:

    Thanks for posting this! I have a stock pot I’ve been wanting to use for canning and haven’t been able to find anything that will work, this is perfect!

    Any thoughts about using this on top of already placed jars to make a second layer of jars? Or should I just use this at the bottom and regular canning rack for the second layer…

    • 26.1
      marisa says:

      Meghan, the silicone trivet doesn’t have enough body or structure to work as a secondary layer. For that, you’d need to find something rigid. Maybe try the drilled pizza pan technique suggested above?

  27. 27
    Penn says:

    Amazon will be out of these!!!

  28. 28
    Leslie says:

    Thanks for the great idea. I was having the same problem with my rack rusting. Amazon has a deal on the silicone trivets right now-4 for 3, so I bought all 4 colors. I like that you can insert one trivet into another to make one bigger trivet.

  29. 29
    Roberta says:

    You are brilliant! As I read your description of the problem, I realized they were the same problems I was having with rusting pots and racks. Eureka! I have 2 of these trivets on order and am excited to get canning sans rust.

  30. 30
    jennifer says:

    I just wanted to comment that with my last two flat topped stoves, I have canned successfully with a boiling water canner and a pressure canner. When I looked into the “problem” originally, I read that the issue was the burners turn off too often. I don’t have a problem with my pressure, though, or the water continuing to boil. Just my experience.

  31. 31
    Sherry says:

    I sometimes use a folded dishcloth. Is that not safe?

    • 31.1
      marisa says:

      Sherry, it’s perfectly safe to use a folded dishcloth. It’s just that not everyone wants to deal with a sopping wet cloth every time they can.

  32. 32
    Joan says:

    Brilliant! I was planning on replacing my enamel canning pot and rack this year due to rusting. However, now I believe I’ll try this method instead. Thanks.

  33. 33
    lisa says:

    This is great! I bought a Ball Rack but it didnt fit in any of my pots. I can probably use them with this. Thanks

  34. 34

    Dear Marisa,

    is it odd to say, That I find this idea not only practical but also beautiful? Although no one sees it, when ints in the pot, but, well…..
    Thanks for showing us! I´ll have a look, where I can get something like this in germany!

    • 34.1
      Stephanie says:

      I’m thinking I’ll buy 3 of these in red and hang them on the wall when I’m not using them. Canning item and art work all in one!

  35. 35
    Kaye says:

    My most creative canning solution: a chopstick for measuring stick. I used an indelible marker to make a line around the chopstick marked pint, quart and water line. I use it for cutting asparagus, string beans, etc. for quart or pint jars. And it also marks the water level for my canners so I fill it to that line, even my husband can fill the pot correctly for me. I give chopsticks to my friends for their canners too.

  36. 36
    Erin says:

    I recently acquired a small kitchen canner from Wilderness of Wish. It processes just one can at a time. It doesn’t take up too much space. I can can something while I am making dinner. I can can very small amounts of jam easily. I don’t have a big kitchen, but I really love putting things by!

  37. 37

    When we lived in Japan, I really missed home canned goods. So I canned in my largest soup pot with a towel under the jars. When we moved to the States, I got the standard canning pot with the rack, and thought I was the only one who minded the rust. I have gone back to the towel under the jars, but appreciate the jar lifter–using long chopsticks to get the jars out of the water was a bit of a trick!

  38. 38
    nancy says:

    I use my 12 quart stainless steel pasta pot. It has the strainer that fits inside the pot that you can easily lift up. I set the jars in the strainer. Seems to work alright.

  39. 39
    Jena says:

    We waterlogged a few of paint stir sticks that we screwed together and broke to fit inside the bottom of a friend’s stockpot. (We still borrow his stockpot for canning.) Works well enough, but when we do have to replace it, I’ll look for this silicone trivet. I’m a sucker for pretty kitchen things.

  40. 40
    Peggy says:

    What a great idea! I just bought 2 racks that are for slow cookers but they’re too narrow in diameter. Where did you find your silicone trivet?

  41. 41
    Estelle says:

    I have been using a silicone vegetable steamer turned upside down, but this is way cooler!

  42. 42
    meemsnyc says:

    What a brilliant idea. And it’s cute.

  43. 43
    Alex says:

    I hit on the exact same solution (unused silicon trivet from IKEA) to can in my current stockpot, whose bottom is so thin that anything but water or stock sticks to the bottom no matter how low the heat. Its only drawback is that it’s not quite large enough to cover the entire bottom, and I’ve lost a few quart jars that got exposed to too much heat (and the trivet got a bit discolored, but eh). Must try this cuter version — I bet it allows the water to stay hot more easily, too.

  44. 44

    My flower trivets arrived yesterday and they are absolutely PERFECT. Thanks for posting this…you’ve solved a long-standing problem in my canning life!

  45. 45
    Grace says:

    Thank you! I used the flower trivet yesterday, outstanding. No more balancing jars on my old trivet. As an added plus it folds into a small bundle for storage.

  46. 46
    Brian Gjerde says:

    Thanks for the tip, I just bought 3. I’ve been using small-mouth rings tied together with twine on the bottom of my kettle.

    A note to others, these qualify (as of my posting this) for super-saver shipping from Amazon. So, if you want to buy 2 it’ll cost you $27 with shipping or $30 for three (with free 5-8 day shipping). I spent the extra $3 and I’ll give one as a gift.

  47. 47
    Kara says:

    I realize this is a bit late, but I just made hard-boiled eggs for Easter, and I used my silicon trivet (bought at your suggestion) in the bottom of the pot to keep them from banging around too much. Worked great!

  48. 48

    [...] like me and use a stock pot as your standard canning pot (though I’m still in love with my trivet as canning rack). It fits snugly in my preferred canning pot and I do like the security it offers the [...]

  49. 49

    [...] canner rack (check for rust), or use Marisa’s awesome trivet idea [...]

  50. 50
    Christine says:

    I bought this trivet after reading your recommendation and just used it for the first time. Do you have any trouble with it floating or collapsing on you while the water is boiling and there aren’t any jars holding it down? It was quite a battle to get it to stay flat at the bottom of my pot as I was dropping full jars in to process. Any tips for dealing with this?

    • 50.1
      Marisa says:

      Christine, I have that problem on occasion, but I find that the more I use it, the more it behaves in the pot. A pair of tongs can also help.

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