05 September 2008

Three tools you shouldn't can without

This has been a week of canning.

I really do love this time of year when the peaches, tomatoes, apples, and everything else are finally ripe and ready to be picked. I always get a little giddy when it's time to preserve the local produce to enjoy all year long.

Peaches, salsa and applesauce have been the staples for a few years now. I always want to try other things, but haven't ventured into canning green beans, making pickles or chutney quite yet.

So, if you love to can, here are my three favorite tools:

1. The Ideal Fruit Canner

My grandma gave me this before I moved to Oregon. She used it for many years before she decided she was ready to retire from canning. I can't believe how much easier this makes the whole process, because you don't have to boil a whole huge pot of water. Instead, you use 2 quarts of water which steams the bottles and preserves them. I've been searching the internet for the company that used to make these, but they no longer exist. I did find one here, and trust me, it would be worth paying the shipping from Hong Kong. These things are amazing.

2. The serrated peeler
I discovered this tool after reading Cook's Illustrated last year. If you've ever canned peaches or tomatoes and had to immerse each piece of fruit into boiling water for 2 minutes in order to make them easier to peel, you know what a HASSLE that really is. It's also such a mess. So this tool allows you to skip that step entirely and peel those fragile fruits without bruising them. I have the OXO brand, and if time is really money, it has proven to be worth way more the 7 bucks I paid for it.

3. Magnetic lid lifterThis one might be a no-brainer, but this tool really is helpful. When the lids are hot in the simmering water, you really just want to be able to grab one with this tool and lift it out. Again, an easy solution that makes the process much easier.

Happy canning!

This time of year wouldn't be the same without my canning buddy, Tara (if you move far, far away you will still have to come back for canning week). Oh, and Mindi, my former canning buddy who really taught me the whole process--I miss you more at this time of year than ever!


Ilene said...

I bought jars last year to make applesauce. I still have them in the box... sad, huh? I need to live closer to you.

LOVE Cook's Illustrated. They have the best tips.

Lizzy said...

My mom used to be such a huge canner. I love canned food. My favorite was her salsa. I still crave it. I've made freezer jam before, but other than that, I haven't ventured much into canning. I can barely cook; first things first.

Jaclyn said...

One day I am going to become as domestic as you, you're my hero. I need to buy one of those magnetic top lifters. I had never seen that but I'm sure it is much easier than using tongs like I currently do. Are you coming to UT this fall/winter? I want to have a Chick Fila date.


SO COOL! I want that canner, and magnetic thing- so so cool. I'm so jealous- I'm going to go to my mother in law's in hopes to can apple pie filling and apple sauce. Very cool.

Kristin said...

Kristine, I found one of those canners in Utah at the D.I. for like 3 dollars, it was a great find. I haven't tried to seal my jars in there, I've only heated my jars beforehand, but I need to try it. It seems so much easier.

Lenoxliving said...

Thank you Kristine for teaching me all of your canning tips. Next year during canning season I'll be on your doorstep.

mindi said...

reading your post reminded me of the LONG days spent in my small apartment peeling fruit, trying to figure out what exactly we were doing, and becoming absolutely elated every time we heard the POP of another jar sealing. good times my friend! you are done for the year and i haven't even started! i'd better get a jump on things!

mindi said...

p.s. you HAVE to do green beans and pears sometime. they are my super favorite.

Tina said...

Hi! My name is Tina. I live in a little mountain town in Arizona. I have one of those canners I inherited from my parents and just brought it down from the attic today. There are no instructions with it and I can't find anything out about how to use it on the Net. Do you have any instructions with yours? I would PAY you for a copy of your instruction manual or for you to scan it or whatever! Or any hints or methods to try. It seems like THE way to go... Since you said you were expecting a baby, that must account for your absence from your blog! I hear that! Anyway, when you do have time and check your blog again, please leave a message on MY blog: http://tinas-talk.blogspot.com/ if you have any instructional info I could get from you. I'd love to use my little "Ideal Canner". If you're interested in this, we can figure out a way to get in contact with each other. Thanks. Keep up the good work!

Friend Family said...

I also have the ideal fruit canner that was handed down from my Grandmother. This brand is no longer available, but Back-to-Basics makes an updated model. It's available at many online websites, the cheepest I found it was walmart.com. Just google steam canner. I have also seen them on ebay and thrift stores.

Friend Family said...

I noticed one of the comments were looking for the instructions for the ideal fruit canner. I have these instructions and if they would like them I can scan them in and email.
Or, follow the link below and if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will find a blue download link for the back-to-basics instruction booklet.


These two steam canners use the same procedures and processing times.

ElenaMorganQTPie said...

Thank YOU for this link!! This is JUST what I was online to find and you have saved me HOURS of searching....now I can get to my cherry preserves!!!