Canning Supplies Shopping List

Growing up on the West Coast of Canada, we spent a lot of time fishing for salmon in the Summer and canned several cases of it a year.  My grandparents had cherry trees and I always enjoyed my grandmothers canned cherries.  Since moving to the Okanagan, we have been doing a lot of canning to take advantage of all the cheap (and free) fruit we have access to.

I was fortunate enough to be able to buy both an 11 and a 21 quart, seven jar, black enamel canner on sale for cheaper then the regular price on the larger sized canner.  Both canners came with a rack in them and I picked up one of those five piece home canning kits which has come in very handy.

Essential Canning Supplies:

  • Hot Water Canner and Canning Rack
  • Stove (or other heat source)
  • Canning Jars, Canning Jar Rings and Canning Lids
  • Canning (wider mouthed) Funnel
  • Magnetic Lid Lifter
  • Jar Lifter
  • Tongs
  • Canning Recipes!
Useful Supplies:
  • Tea Towels
  • Cutting board
  • Baking sheets
  • Pearing knives
  • Cooling Racks
Optional Canning Supplies:
  • Jar Wrench
  • Cherry pitter
  • Air Conditioning (certainly nice to have in Summer heat)
  • Sturdy Shelf (no sun exposure)

We have been fortunate enough to get a lot of jars given to us by family and have found boxes of them by our mailbox.  We also re-use a lot of jars that our food from the stores come in.  I have heard people say they have had nothing but problems (cracking jars) from using them but we have never had a problem.  My MIL has jars that are probably 20-30+ years old from store bought items and they work just fine.

My mom always made raspberry jam (sealed with wax) and strawberry jam (sealed with lids).  We have found in making apricot jam and sealing with wax, that our jars of apricot jam have gone moldy underneath the wax even a few short months after they have been processed. (anyone have any tips or suggestions on this?) Because of this, we have started sealing them with hot lids instead to ensure they don’t go moldy.

When it comes to canning and the lids need to seal the jars, do not re-use the lids!  The lids are only meant to be used once for sealing.  But you can re-use the lids in between the jars in the hot water canner (to reduce them bumping together in the boiling water) or on the tops of jams that are sealed with wax.

Have any tips or tricks for canning?  Leave a comment below!

Daddy Reward – The Gift of Patience

One of the greatest life lessons I feel I have learned since becoming a father, is patience.  I am sure most parents can attest to the fact that having kids, especially smaller children, can really slow down your day and be frustrating at the best of times when you are in a hurry to go somewhere or get something done.

We were fortunate enough to have our son in daycare/pre-school that either was or had Waldorf philosophy.  He helped prepare (cut with a butter knife) the fruits and veggies for snack, made soup and baked bread a couple times a week.  The children also helped with gardening, folding laundry and setting the table and cleaning up at snack time.

As my son has gotten older and because of his tasks at school, I have allowed him to help me out more when I am doing chores around the house and he offers to help.  There is always the urge to want to tell him “no” because it is much quicker for me to just do it myself.  I won’t let him help when there is a chance he might get burned or cut himself.

It has always broken my heart to see my son upset, especially when it comes to telling him “no” he can’t help me out (until he’s older).  Growing up, there were times I wanted to help out and was not allowed and at times, it really upset me.  I don’t want to do that to him.  There are times when there really is nothing he could help out with and I do have to tell him no.  Other times, I will just make up something for him to do because of the sense of pride he gets from helping out – even if it’s just retrieving a bowl from the cupboard that I don’t need.

I worked pretty fast preparing the fruit for our Cherry and Apricot Canning and can have several pounds of fruit prepared for canning in a short amount of time.  The cherries just need to be stemmed and then washed while the apricots need to be washed, cut in half and pitted (we don’t pit our cherries).  My partner then packs the jars, fills them with water and then into the canning water bath they go.

When we were preparing the apricots for canning, my son wanted to help us.  I had decided he could pit the apricots after resisting the urge to tell him “no” he couldn’t help because it would have slowed down the food prep.  I cut the apricots in half, threw the half without the pit into the bowl and placed the half with the pit on the tray in front of him.

Pride ensued as he kept exclaiming that because he was helping out, things were speeding up.  I would just smile and agree because the sense of pride he had in helping out was worth more then me pitting the apricots myself and being done a few minutes sooner.

If you are a parent yourself and have kids that want to help out, do you let them?  Do you find creative ways to include your kids in what you are doing?  Or do you (still) feel the need to get things “done faster” without them?