Today begins the first part of a series on supplies for the home food preserver. Some are essential, some are fun to have, and some are luxury items you'll consider, after you've been at it for a while. Stocking the pantry and your cupboards with nutritious home preserved foods is a joy and a labor of love. Having the right equipment for the job makes it fun!
Boiling Water Canner
Pots and pans are staples in the kitchen. You've got all shapes and sizes and you're comfortable using them. Whether you decide to freeze vegetables or make a mega-load of stew, soup, or chili, you'll find the boiling water canner an essential item. It's used for processing acid foods, such as fruit, quick pack picles and other acidified products, and for ensuring a seal on jams and jellies.
So, what does it look like? It's big. It's made of aluminum or porcelain-coverred steel. It has speckles - white on blue or black. It has a cover with a handle. You have a choice of sizes, but the one that's the most useful will hold 7 quart jars or 9 pint jars. These jars nestle in/on a rack which is either flat with perforations (to let the water circulate) or shaped like a basket with convenient handles for ease of lifting. The picture below shows what the inside looks like with the rack positioned on the rim.
Your bottom is important! Boiling water canners can have either flat or ridged bottoms. If you have an electric range, choose the flat bottom. If you have gas, you can use flat or ridged. Be sure the canner is no more than 4 inches wider in diameter than the unit you'll place it on.
Tomorrow: Accessorizing your boiling water canner