Tuesday, August 23, 2011


When I first started canning, a few years ago, I didn't have any "proper" equipment. 

I started out making jam.  I just used a large pot I had, poured the hot jam into the jars without a funnel(yes I burned myself many times), used regular tongs to pick up the hot jars out of the water bath and so on.

I also didn't have any canning cook books.  I just would use the recipes that came with the pectin I was using.

Everything turned out just fine.  Though it did cause more work (and pain) for me.

However, if you are like me, you don't want to spend a lot of money buying stuff for a new hobby if you are not sure you will like it.

That is why I'm posting about this now.  For you who have not canned because you didn't think you had the right supplies and didn't want to buy things right now.

My advise to you is...get the things you need for free.

Yes, you heard me.  I said FREE.  I got lots of things for free by posting an ad on FreeCycle. 

So many people used to can and no longer due.  So they are willing to pass along what they have.

Like this big canning water bath and inside it even has the rack to lift the jars out of the hot water.

I got free jars and some even had the rings with them.  If not, they don't cost much.  A lot less then buying jars.

I got some free lids and a proper jar lifter/tongs.  Trust me, it's much easier to use these then just regular tongs.  These kind grasp the jars and you are less like to drop them.

One lady even gave me a cook book on canning and preserving.  There are a lot of great recipes in this book.

You could also post a wanted ad on Craigslist, ask friends/family, go to garage sales and estate sales.  Even sometimes you can find items at thrift stores for next to nothing.

So, don't let not having the proper equipment stop you from trying your hand at canning.  Yes, the proper equipment does make it nicer and easier but you don't have to go out and spend a lot of money.  You can make due with what you already have.

Once I found out how much I loved to can I did go out and buy most everything I needed.  Getting the free stuff was great though because now I have a back up system, I can have others help me can and get done in 1/2 the time or I can teach my girl scouts how to can and we will have enough equipment.

The only thing I really still want to get is a pressure canner.  That way I can can soups, sauces and veggies.  I've already put it on my Christmas wish list.

I hope you will think about canning if you have never done it before.  Things taste so much better when you make it yourself.


Unknown said...

I've been canning for years and most of my equipment I've gotten free. Freecycle is great and when older people find out you can, alot of times they have "stuff" in their storage that they will give you. This summer we had an older couple at church give us about 100 qt size jars since they don't use that size anymore. Pretty cool!

I loved looking through your blog. Thanks for visiting mine and hope you get to make the bread and butter pickles soon.

Diann said...

This is how my husband and I started out canning. We got a lot of our jars and rims for free on freecycle and Craigslist. And I also got things from thrift stores or yard sales for very little money.We also let family, friends and church members know we needed canning supplies and out came dusty jars and pots from peoples basements!

Kathleen said...

You are really into this! I have made strawberry jelly, but that's it!
Hope all is well. All your canning projects look great. Love the peaches!

Kimberly Kay said...

Now ya tell me ;-)
Making apricot jam later today!

Debbie Kay said...

I took your very good advice Joanne but some lady on freecycle wanted to sell them to me. I can go to Walmart and buy them.....I looked on freecycle cuz its free....wow



Anonymous said...

First time visiting your blog. I do love canning. Preserves, jelly, tomatoes, mostly.
Have you ever tried corn cob jelly? I thought of it when I was reading your grape jelly experience with Welch's grape cocktail juice...