Holiday Giving: Kitchen Tools for Canners

November 27, 2012

In my years of canning, one of the things I’ve found is that most of my favorite canning tools weren’t made specifically for canning. They are simply kitchen utensils that are well made, sturdy and just happen to serve a useful role in my preserving practice. From the bottom left corner and moving clockwise, here are some of my current favorites.

  • This six-piece set of stacking measuring cups by RSVP is fantastic. They are made from solid stainless steel and have a nice heft in the hand. I use the one-cup measure to portion jam into half-pint jars and the half-cup one fits neatly into my larger storage jars.
  • I’ve long been a fan of a serrated edge peeler. It’s particularly handy during marmalade season because it allows you peel off the outer zest from citrus without taking any of the pith along with you. What makes this particular peeler so nice is that it had dual blades, one smooth and one serrated. Makes for less clutter in a crowded utensil drawer. The one pictured above is from Williams-Sonoma. Kuhn Rikon also makes a version.
  • Thermapen is simply the best instant read thermometers out there. I’ve bought two in recent years and just love them for minding the temperature of my jams, jellies and curds. They’re pricy, but worth the money (and make sure to check the end of this post for a Thermapen giveaway!).
  • I first found this potato masher at a Tuesday Morning and it has supplanted all my other mashers. What makes it so awesome is that the tines are bladed. They’re not sharp, but they have just enough edge to make it perfect for breaking down cooking fruit. It’s a fantastic tool.
  • A good, fully encased silicone spatula. The one pictured above is from GIR and is quite nice. However, it also costs $22.50, which is more than most people want to spend on a spatula (disclosure! this one was sent to me for review purposes). For a more sensibly priced version (under six bucks), check out this one from Orka. According to Amazon, I bought mine in 2009 and it’s still going strong.
  • A good paring knife. I like the ones made by Kuhn Rikon, but couldn’t find one in the kitchen when preparing to take this picture. The most important thing is that it feels good in the hand and holds an edge.

  • If you’ve been reading this site for any length of time, you’ll know that I am crazy for my 4th burner pot. Also made by Kuhn Rikon (they don’t know I exist, I just like their products), this skinny pot has a spout, a heat-proof handle and is fitted with a rack. This means that it works as a small batch canning pot, a pot for heating pickling liquids and syrups for canning whole fruit and even as a tea kettle in a pinch. On Thanksgiving, I used it to heat up the gravy. It is a genius piece of equipment and I love it so much that I own two.
  • I bought this Cuisinart stainless steel wok at Macy’s last summer on a whim. It was on sale and I had a feeling that it might be a handy size and shape for making small batches of jam. And I was right. The flared sides encourage evaporation and it holds a bit more jam than a 12-inch skillet. It’s lighter than ideal for a true wok, but is quite nice for jams, jellies and chutneys (and it just costs right around $30, which makes it highly affordable).
  • Finally, flour sack towels. I finally got smart and started buying them in colors instead of in white. No matter how much I bleached them, the white ones just never get clean. The deeply colored ones don’t show the stains as much. Amazing the difference these little choices make in my quality of life.

As promised, I have an orange Thermapen to give away to one of you nice folks. Here’s how to throw your hat in the ring for chance at it.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your current favorite kitchen tool.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, November 30, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway open to everyone (the shipping is on me, no matter where you live).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post. I do not accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Thermapen is providing the thermometer for this giveaway. GIR sent me one of their spatulas for review. Neither company paid to be included in this post. No one else mentioned here knows that I exist or that I’m writing about them.

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670 thoughts on "Holiday Giving: Kitchen Tools for Canners"

  • Current fave kitchen tool is a silly little pizza cutter. No handle, it just fits in the palm of your hand with a red plastic blade guard on top. When it’s time to put away it fits into a base. The blade guard and base combine to make a smiley face (part of the blade is the “teeth”). It sits on my window sill above my sink and smiles at me while I’m doing dishes. Still lusting after the pizza cutter shaped like the starship Enterprise but it was just too darned expensive for something so rarely used at my house.

    1. We went for the Enterprise pizza cutter, and make a point of using it, even when we don’t really need it. It’s great, and we still laugh every time we pull it out.

  • I would die-DIE-without my little offset spatula. Great for prying, scraping, flipping, and futzing. Also, indispensable for making sandcastles… 🙂

  • My favorite kitchen tool is my digital scale. I measure everything before I add it to a dish or before I eat it. I love it!

  • My favorite kitchen gadget is my little Bialetti Moka Pot. I make myself a latte several times a week. It comes with me camping to make americanos, and its just darn cute sitting on my stove. I have been looking for that very thermometer around my area and have not found one yet. Thanks for the chance to win one!

  • Fave kitchen tool is my 6-quart All-Clad coppercore saute pan. I pretty much don’t even put it away; once it’s washed, it goes back on the stove, ready to be used soon!

  • Currently (what with the cold weather) my favorite kitchen item is the largest of my cast iron fry pans – good for anything from grilled cheese to stew!

  • I got a set of Mopines from my family last Christmas and I just love them, They are sort of a towel and a hot pad all in one and they are so handy to have around.

  • Favorite tool? Hard to choose! My flat measuring “spice” spoons? My 10″ Chef’s knife? Those cute 4 oz jam jars I bought to make my daughter’s wedding favors? How about the beautiful handmade wooden spatulas that I use for stir-frying, stirring, almost anything but eggs? Yikes! I think my favorites are whatever I’m using at the moment that works, feels good in my hands, and is beautiful!

  • My favorite kitchen tool is my bench knife. How did I ever live without it?
    And at least once a week, when I go to my jar storage cupboard, I thank you for all your instructions and inspirations.

  • I purchased a canning funnel that sits neatly on the lip of rim of the jar and measures the head space at the top (1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″ marks). It has been SO useful in my kitchen! A Thermapen has been on my wishlist for so long. Hope I’m lucky!

  • Hmmph……my favorite kitchen utensil. So many to choose from. I would have to say right now I’m enthralled with an All Clad saute pan I bought on sale at Willams Somoma last year. It’s made me a much better cook.

  • Wow, would I love that Thermapen. I tried out all my thermometers in a glass of ice water, and they were all wrong. One of them I could adjust, but it still overcooked my marmalade. One of my favorite tools is my electric spice grinder. Fresh roasted and then ground cumin or allspice is just wonderful.

  • They are so simple, but I use them all the time: parchment paper sheets. Not having to (usually imprecisely) tear parchment paper from one long roll is one of the little joys in my life.

  • Current fav is my wide-mouth funnel, still going strong on my love for it! I use it to siphon all our stuff into jars.

  • Probably my favorite kitchen tool is my blender and a soup pot that has a nice thick bottom and a glass lid. Not very exciting but both used just about daily!

  • My favorite kitchen tool is easily my digital scale. It’s old, it was cheap, and it’s kind of an ugly beige color, but I simply use it for everything. It has been used for everything from weighing 10lbs of barley for making beer to weighing 2 lbs of butter squash to weighing out protein powder for breakfast. It’s awesome, and I would be lost without it.

  • My favorite kitchen tool has to be my Magic Bullet blender, I use it everyday to make my blended iced coffee and everything I need chopped goes in there too. It is magic;-)

  • I’m a simple old fashion kind of gal and I have a favorite spatula that stirs pots, flips eggs, and really gets used at every meal. It’s starting to wear out and I’m PANICKED! LOL

  • I think my favorite kitchen tool is my wooden spoon, honestly! However, I’m sure looking forward to the cast iron dutch oven that I hope to get for Christmas…

  • Thanks for the chance! My go-to kitchen tool of the moment is a plain old, standard sized rubber spatula. Not that I don’t loooove my gadgets, but I’m all about back to basics at the moment.

    -Nancy N.

  • I love my 10″ chefs knife and my new de Buyer Mineral B element fry pan. I got the smallest size on sale to try them out and now I want more!

  • Lately I have been using my cuisinart food processors a lot. I am so happy that I have both a large and small one. These suggestions you have made would make great additions to any kitchen. Thanks.

  • I have so many useful things that are functional, but plain. I probably get the most joy from using the kitchen timer that belonged to my neighbor who passed away a few years ago. It has a cheery orange face, and it reminds me of her every morning when I cook my oatmeal.

  • My favorite tool would have to be my knife. Fortunately, my knives are always sharp ’cause hubby likes them that way and he does a good part of the cooking!

  • My favorite kitchen tool is my jar funnel. Old news, I know, but I never realized how frustrating it was to fill jars ‘free hand’ and then have to wipe everything up until I didn’t have to!

  • Love my nonstick loaf pan and 9″ rounds from USA Pans – can’t wait to pick up a muffin tin! Now, can anyone do anything about my narrow, deep pantry? 😉

  • After snapping the handle off one of my measuring cups while digging at brown sugar (not even hard!), I finally replaced them with nice metal ones, which I’ve been so happy to use. I asked for similar metal measuring spoons for Christmas – the ones with the mouths that actually fit in spice jars!

  • My favorite tool is definitely my 8″ chef’s knife from MacKnife. It’s of Japanese design and is super thin and super sharp. I love that knife and bring it with me whenever I think I might be called to duty in the kitchen, mostly because I’ve become a bit disdainful about any other knife.

  • My favorite kitchen tool is my Global chef’s knife. I use it for everything and I love how it just sinks through food.

  • My most recent favorite kitchen tool is a silicon baking mat. I was so focused on the benefits of using it for rolling out pastry that I only just fully realized that it is also a non-stick surface to be used for baking. Now I like it even more 🙂

  • measuring cups! I measure all my food to keep portions under control and also use them of course in baking and canning. 🙂

  • I like my digital kitchen scale. It so much easier to weigh some ingredients, rather than measuring in spoons and cups.

  • Like others, my favorite kitchen tool depends on the day. Always, I love my fully encased silicone spatula – so much that I’m planning to buy more, as 1 is totally insufficient. I don’t use my digital scale everyday, but it is a godsend when I’m taking a shortcut on something and need accurate measurements. My large Cuisinart GreenGourmet skillet is my go-to for sauces, stir-frys, and small batch jam. And my Williams-Sonoma gold-touch pans for baking, don’t know what I did without them. My next planned kitchen purchase is a digital thermometer for jam, trying to decide on the best one, so I’m really hoping I win this Thermapen!

  • Would love a thermometer.
    Love your post. Using “Jars to Go” bag that I am making to hold my canned gifts.

  • Wow, I really had to think about this one! I guess my favorite kitchen tool is my scale. I love being able to weigh ingredients. I bake a lot and the accuracy is better using weights – plus I have fewer measuring tools to clean up afterward 🙂

  • Favorite tool is the ceramic knife. Excellent for cutting fruit. Keeps its edge (if you use
    the right cutting board) and is easy to handle.

  • My favorite tool is my Kitchenaide stand mixer. I got it at a yard sale several years ago–an old one, but hardly used. I bake a lot, so use it constantly.