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    Preserving fruits and vegetables is a time-honored art, one that is both very practical and rewarding. It is also an exact science: You either get jams and jellies that set up, pickles that are crunchy, and lids that seal—or you don’t.

    MAC Cleaver

    Home Canning Kit

    Canning can seem like magic—raw, height-of-the-season produce is transformed into jewel-like jars of jams, jellies, preserves, condiments, and pickled vegetables. In fact, the process can be tricky, with its critical ratios of ingredients, intimidating cooking methods, and mysterious processing times. It’s no wonder people get anxious about canning, and it’s not surprising that there’s a high failure rate for many recipes (which we observed firsthand). Our curated canning kit will give you the tools, know-how, and confidence to become an expert canner in no time.

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    Victorio Stainless Steel Multi-Use Canner
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    Ball Secure-Grip Jar Lifter
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    Rösle Ladle
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    Foolproof Preserving Cookbook

    Kit Details / How We Tested

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    Victorio Stainless Steel Multi-Use Canner

    Winner - Highly Recommended

    Published on Cook's Illustrated Magazine June 2014

    We purchased three nationally available canning pot/rack sets, including two stainless-steel pots and a classic enameled steel pot. We tested each pot’s capacity and stability, timed how long it took for the full pot to come to a boil, and evaluated the comfort and security of the handles as well as the functionality of the lid and overall durability.


    Size: 14.5" x 16.5"Weight: 10.3lbsMaterial: Stainless SteelThickness: 0.5"

     


    Jam Kit

    Ball Secure-Grip Jar Lifter

    Winner - Highly Recommended

    Published on Cook's Illustrated Magazine March 2005


    COMFORT ★★★
    STABILITY ★★★
    DURABILITY ★★★
    EASE OF USE ★★★

    We tested each jar lifter and rated its stability, ease of use, comfort, and durability. Our winner had ergonomic handles that felt comfortable even when lifting full quart jars, and its wide, molded jar grips provided extra surface contact for an exceptionally secure grasp. It also featured a spring-loaded hinge that turned a two-handed job into a one-handed one and meant less time laboring over a pot of boiling water.


    Length: 8"

     


    Jam Kit

    Rösle Hook Ladle with Pouring Rim

    Winner - Highly Recommended

    Published on Cook's Illustrated Magazine June 2014


    EASE OF USE ★★★
    PERFORMANCE ★★★

    Throughout our ladle testing process, the critical factor turned out to be the angle of each ladle’s offset handle. Some, like our favorite, were deeply bent, offering a better grip and maximum control. In the end, our old winner kept its first-place status, thanks to its 45-degree-angled handle, 5.4-ounce bowl with a pouring rim, and hook for resting the ladle on the rim of a tall pot.


    Material: Stainless SteelBowl Capacity: 5.4 ozHandle Length: 10"

     


    Jam Kit

    Foolproof Preserving Book

    Foolproof Preserving is a detailed, step-by-step guide from the experts at America’s Test Kitchen and is perfect for first-time and experienced canners alike. The art of preserving produce has come full circle, from grandmothers’ kitchens to a whole new generation now eager to learn how. You’ll get 110 foolproof recipes across a wide range of categories, from sweet jams and jellies to savory jams and chutneys, pickles, vegetables, fruit in syrup, condiments, and more.


    Cast Iron Kit

    Learn More - Tips and Tricks for homemade preserving



    Jam Kit
    Home preservation is all about maintaining the vibrant qualities of peak produce, whether it’s from the farmers’ market, the supermarket, or your own garden. To do this, you have to understand how the process works. Heating and cooling fresh fruits and vegetables in jars vacuum-seals them so that they can be stored for a long time at room temperature and enjoyed all year long. The key to preservation is staving off the growth of bad bacteria. Left to their own devices, bad bacteria will thrive and quickly take over. The easiest way to kill off microorganisms is to heat the food. This destroys the harmful microorganisms and deactivates the food’s enzymes, thus preventing further deterioration.

    Canning Step By Step


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    1. Heat the jars

    Jars do need to be heated before being filled with hot jam, or the room-temperature glass may shatter. Jars can either be warmed in the canning pot or placed under hot running tap water.

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    2. Fill the jars

    As soon as the jam has finished cooking, it needs to be portioned into the hot jars. Because the timing is so important here, we like to have the jars warmed and waiting for the jam.

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    3. Measure the headspace

    It is very important to leave some space between the top of the food and the rim of the jar, known as headspace.

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    4. Release the air bubbles

    If left unchecked, the air bubbles will collect at the top of the jar during processing and alter the headspace, which can prevent the jar from sealing properly.

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    5. Add the lids and rings

    Overtightening the jar rings will prevent air from escaping from the jars during processing, which is a key part of the canning process.

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    6. Process the jars

    Using a jar lifter, lower the hot, filled jars into the rack inside the pot of boiling water.

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    7. Let the jars seal themselves

    As the food cools, it contracts, creating a small vacuum inside the jar. This vacuum pops the flexible metal lid inward, an indication that the jar has been hermetically sealed.

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    8. Store the jars

    We recommend storing the jars without their rings. This way, you can quickly tell if the seal has been broken before using, which indicates that the jam is not safe to eat.