5 Ways to Prepare for Canning Season

I don’t know about you, but I love to can. Every year, as summer draws to a close I start gearing up for canning season. If you're new to the canning world, or an old pro, hopefully these tips help you enter preservation season calm and prepared to tackle those bushels of tomatoes and pickles and corn.

1. Set Goals

What are your goals for canning?  You may want to save your family money or you may just enjoy the craft of it.  You may have a garden and want to enjoy reaping the benefits of it all year long. You may enjoy canning because you have control over what goes into it (like no chemicals and preservatives). 

You may have only one goal, or a few that I listed above.  Think about your goals.  Why do you want to do this and what do you want to get out of it?

I can for a few different reasons.  I love that it saves our family money, it's super yummy, it's convenient and honestly I just really love canning.  I love knowing that I can run downstairs and grab a jar of spaghetti sauce or chicken broth.  

2. Purchase Supplies

There are a few things you'll need regardless of what you're planning on canning. If you're planning on canning anything that requires the water bath method, you'll need a pot tall enough to accommodate your jars. Make sure your pot has enough room for a couple inches of boiling water and a couple inches of head room above that is fine for boiling water bath canning. Your pot will also need to have a canning rack in it.

You'll also need some other basic supplies, some you may have on hand already and some you may need to purchase. You will need spoons (I prefer wooden) and a ladle. You will also need:
Sidenote...WalMart carries a canning starter kit and a canning utensil kit.

You will also need to stock up on jars, lids and rings.  If you're like me, you always have way more rings than you'll ever use.  I'm not quite sure how that happens honestly.  If you are buying new jars, a lot of times they will come with lids and rings.

3. Take Inventory

Before you start canning, take inventory of what you have {if you've canned prior}.  Also, think of what your family eats lots of throughout the year.  For us, it's always spaghetti sauce, corn, stuffed hot peppers, chicken stock, green beans, hot pepper zip, zucchini relish and pickled beets.

4. Buy Your Basics

There are some items that I already know I will use a ton of throughout canning season.  Tomato paste, vinegar, salt, sugar and ketchup are my must-haves for canning season. Your basics might also include pectin and bottled lemon juice.

Stocking up also means you must sort out your recipes first and decide what you're canning.  So before you begin, search out recipes in your favorite cookbook or look on Pinterest.  Here is a link to my Pinterest board all about canning.  There are so many amazing canning recipes there!

Check through your spices, too, and make sure you’re good for italian seasonings, cinnamon, pickling spice, or whatever spices you know will be used. I highly recommend buying your spices in bulk. Fresh spices mean tastier preserves!

5. Invite Your Girls Over

An important part of this process is not overwhelming yourself.  And if this is your first time canning, trust me, you'll want all the help you can get.  Especially if it's someone who has canned prior.  Plus it's just more fun to do this kind of work with another person!

And there you have it.  You're all ready for a fun-filled day of canning.  And listening for that ping ping coming from your kitchen later in the day.  Do you have a favorite canning recipe?  Feel free to share it with me!