Best canning kit / equipment for beginners?

I'm going to try my hand at canning strawberry jam. Who makes the best canning kit, and what should it include? For now, I'm thinking of sticking with the boiling method rather than a pressure cooker, but am open to any an all advice on how to proceed. Thanks.



Helen's A. June 27, 2011
Forgot to add: Ball also makes plastic lids to use after you open your jar. They're very handy if you don't eat the jar of pickles or jam in one sitting...
mariaraynal June 27, 2011
Thanks so much for your great answers -- very helpful!
Brook (. June 27, 2011
Canning Across America just posted some great info about this:

So happy you're getting started.
The world needs more canners!
Join the Canvolution!
SKK June 27, 2011
One more thing - get wide-mouthed jars. Much easier to work with. When you buy your jars they come with lids and rings. They can be purchased at any grocery store.
For jars I already have I purchase lids and not rings. Once your canned jar has cooled off you can take the rings off and re-use them. The lid has already done its job. The rings are just to hold the lids on in the water-bath canner.
Helen's A. June 27, 2011
Ball has a beginner kit, see:
I've seen it in my local grocery store. If you are just starting out, this would be an inexpensive way to learn. Once you get more comfortable, you can invest in a more permanent set up. Have fun!
SKK June 27, 2011
Nannydeb is accurate about the canner, it must have a rack and dividers. Amazon. Given you are making jam, 11 quart canner, which means you can 7 pints at a time. Here is an 11 quart canner on Amazon with rack -

DO NOT get a canner over 22 quarts - which holds 7 quart jars. It will be too big for your stove and take forever to hear. I have two canners, one for quart jars and one for pint jars.

For utensils, the best deal and most useful is The other sets are overpriced in my opnion because they include gadgets you don't need.

Don't spend money on a how to book for canning, simply go to Has everything you need.

You won't need a pressure canner unless you plan on canning meats.

Canning is a community affair, a joy to do, and ask a lot of questions of everyone. I have been canning for years and it is simple, meditative.

nannydeb June 27, 2011
You can spend a little or a lot, but make sure the large canning pot has a rack so that the jars don't sit on the bottom. They also make racks that have handles to lift them all out at the same time. Also a must are tongs to lift the hot jars. Back to Basics makes a kit with several tongs that are rubber coated to prevent slipping and the kit is inexpensive. Other than that, you'll need jars with lids that you can buy at the grocery store sold together. Later you can buy more lids separately.
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