When I teach canning classes, one of the first things I tell my students is that they don’t need a whole lot of special equipment to start canning. And truly, I believe it. During my first, tentative canning steps, I used tongs to move my jars in and out of the water bath and, horror of horrors, didn’t even use a rack in the bottom of my canning pot. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.
However, as so often happens when one specializes in something, my arsenal of canning tools has grown since those early days. Currently, it includes multiple wide mouth funnels, jar lifters, canning racks and variety of pots. Still, despite all the stuff, I mostly use the same wide mouth funnel and a jar lifter over and over again.
Recently, my collection of equipment grew to include the new canning line from Progressive International. They’ve reworked some of the classic tools in an attempt to make them more useful and durable. The line includes jar lifter, wide mouth funnel with headspace markings, lid wand, reversible canning rack (one side holds four quart jars, the other secures seven pints, half pints and quarter pints) and scoop designed to easily get your products out of the bottom of the pot.
So far, I’ve found these to be perfectly useful canning tools. I like the lid wand and the funnel with its headspace markings is fun (and useful for beginning canners who are just starting to figure out how to estimate headspace). I don’t love the jar lifter because I feel like I have to apply a lot of pressure in order get a secure grip.
The canning rack is terrific, particularly if you’re 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 jars.
The canning ladle embodies a neat idea. It’s been developed to both easily get all the jam out of the pot while also delivering the exact amount to fill a half pint jar. Sadly, I didn’t find that it was that easy to maneuver and I still needed to use a rubber scraper to get the last bits of jam. I think I’ll continue to use my eight ounce measuring cup (like the largest in this set) and get the pretty much the same result.
Thanks to Progressive International, I have a set of these tools to give away to a Food in Jars reader. Here’s what to do if you want a chance to win.
- To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and tell use what one tool makes your canning process easier.
- Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Friday, April 13, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted to the blog on Saturday, April 14, 2012.
- Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian readers.
- One entry/comment per person, please.