How to Start Canning at Home

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Canning is actually a surprisingly simple process that anyone can do at their home to preserve foods of all kinds. The easiest foods to can are those with higher levels of acid, such as fruits, vegetables like tomatoes, pickles, and others. You can also can other foods like meat and low acid vegetables, but you will need to use a different method which will ensure food safety.


There are two main methods that can be used for home canning. The simplest method is the water bath method, which is what most people use to can their fruits and high acid vegetables. To start the canning process, you’ll need a few things. These are the items you’ll want in order to start:

  • Glass canning jars, lids, and bands
  • 1 large pot that is at least 2 inches taller than your jars
  • A canning rack
  • Regular cooking utensils and supplies

The idea behind water bath canning is essentially taking cooked foods, placing them into warm jars, sealing the jars, and then putting those jars to boil for between 5 and 20 minutes. Boiling the jars both ensures that they will remain fresh and properly sealed and will also reduce or eliminate the risk of contaminated foods.

Here’s a helpful tutorial video that will teach you the basics of water bath home canning:

A second and slightly more difficult canning method is the pressure canning method. Instead of boiling jars filled with cooked foods, you will use a pressure canning device to preserve the cooked recipes in your jars. A pressure canner is a special cooking device that helps your food inside the jars reach a temperature of at least 240 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature where the most common and dangerous bacteria cannot survive.

Here are the things you’ll need to start pressure canning:

  • Pressure canning device
  • Canning jars, lids, and bands
  • Regular cooking utensils and supplies

It may sound simple, but to do this method of canning properly you will absolutely need a pressure canner and you should make sure to follow a safe canning recipe. Many people use the pressure method for canning meats, in which case you will need to make sure you cook the meat entirely to a safe temperature before canning it.

Both canning methods are useful for their own group of foods, and both can be done fairly easily at home. If you are a beginner at canning, it’s a good idea to start with water bath canning to get yourself used to it before moving on to over canning methods.