I started canning last year, and I was completely overwhelmed by all of the tools out there. What’s a girl gotta spend just to make a fricken jar of jam!? I didn’t know which canning supplies I needed and which ones I could get by without. I eventually found my way, and now my pain is your gain because I’m going to lay it all out for you here.
The good news is that you can start canning for about $10. Say what? 10 bucks!? You heard me. Read on, canners!
This post is organized by budget, starting with the cheapest $10 option. Buy only the canning supplies listed under your preferred budget and you are good to go – no need to buy anything else!
Canning Supplies for $10+
For the person who is new to canning and has a limited budget, this canning kit is literally all you need. It’s only about $10, and as long as you have a decent sized pot or two in your kitchen, you are good to go with just this. I still live by this green rack for small canning batches. The kit even comes with enough jars for at least one batch of jam (or whatever you make) so you get to try all canning has to offer for only $10.
Let’s call this the “low risk” option.
Canning Supplies for $50+
For the beginning canner who is willing to invest a little bit more in the initial operation, I would recommend getting an all-encompassing bundle like this 9-piece set. The set itself is $40, and since it does not include
jars (another $10 or so) you will end up spending a total of about $50 to make your first batch with this setup. Please note that sets like these do not work on glass-top stoves, so you should look at the other two options if your stove has a smooth surface rather than individual metal burners.
Let’s call this the “good value” option; it requires slightly more investment upfront but you are getting a really good assortment of tools for your money.
Canning Supplies for $100+
For the person who has some canning experience and is looking to expand their operation, this water bath canner is my new BFF. It’s basically a giant pot that plugs in (it does not care what kind of stove you have because it hangs out on your counter) and has temperature controls for each stage of the canning process. It even has an emptying spout near the bottom so that you are not lugging gallons of boiling water around your kitchen. The canner itself is $140ish, so after you spend $10 for a set of jars and another $10 for this jar lifter, this option will set you back about $160.
Let’s call this the “high price, high reward” option. It’s high reward because this canner doubles as a giant cookpot for soups, pasta, and seafood (no lobsters have met their match in mine yet, but I have a feeling that their time is coming).
The Bottom Line
So which one should you choose? For me, it was hard to justify much investment at the beginning. If you’re having the same hesitations, just go with the low risk $10 canning kit and be done with it. Then if you decide to expand into one of the other options later, you will not feel like you wasted money on an extra tool at the beginning because, like I mentioned earlier, that green basket still comes in handy. Once I became more comfortable with canning, I skipped right ahead to the high reward water bath canner option and have never looked back.
Hopefully my supply tips are helpful to some of you potential canners out there. I love starting new hobbies, but I hate when my limited budget crushes my dreams. Luckily, canning is one hobby that is fairly cheap to get into and the tools can be slowly built upon over time.
Once you have the canning supplies that you need, check out my post with step-by-step instructions on canning. Finishing your first batch of canned goods is inexplicably satisfying, and I wish you all the best of luck getting there!