One of my close friends is a chef at a very successful restaurant. Yet, for some reason, he is terrified by the idea of canning. I’ve come to find that it’s not all that uncommon for people to be confused when canning pickles.
The truth is, canning pickles is pretty easy. You just need to have the right equipment and a little pit of patience as you learn. Before you start, be sure you have the following:
- A pressure canner/cooker. You can pick this up for around $30 at Wal-Mart, but I’d caution you to do a bit of comparison shopping first. I’ve found that some cheap pressure canners are extremely flimsy and difficult to use. I got my first canner at Wal-Mart and found that it completely broke by the time I tried to use it the next summer. Presto makes an excellent pressure cooker for about $80 that I’ve used for a few years now.
- Canning kit/canning utensils. These handy kits include the equipment you’ll need to get the cans out of the scalding hot liquid: a funnel, bubble remover, magnetic li lifter, tongs and jar lifter. Trust me, you don’t want to skip this step unless you’re looking for a third-degree burn! I love the Presto 7 Function Canning Kit that’s $15-20 on Amazon.
- Jars, bands and lids. You can get a full kit of 12 of these for about $15 on Amazon. The thing to remember is that you cannot reuse lids! Lids will only seal to the jar once and will then have to be replaced. Jars and cans can be reused, but check for rust or mold beforehand. This is one piece of equipment you can sometimes save a bundle on. Check for sales in your area, especially at the end of the summer.
Stay tuned – I’ll post canning pickles tips and tricks later this week!