National Center for Home Food Preservation – whether you’re new to canning or a pro, this is a great resource and the first place I go with canning questions.
They’re sometimes hard to find and the prices have gone up but these are the places I check and what I’ve found when ordering online.
Note: Not all jars are created equally. The Crofton brand from Aldi indicate they are only for water bath canning, as are the Anchor Hocking jars. I’ve not used the Anchor Hocking but the Crofton lids/rings are not interchangeable with Ball/Kerr jars.
- Fleet Farm – They often have sales and sometimes have free shipping. They do an excellent job of packing the jars.
- Walmart – They don’t always do a great job of packing the jars safely but they have always sent replacements as needed.
- Ace Hardware – They sometimes have a coupon that can be used and the jars can be shipped to your local store for free and you pick them up there.
Tattler Lids – these are reusable and react a bit differently from the typical one use metal lids. Some like them, some don’t. I like them and have had no problems with them. If you’ve never used them and want to try them, I would suggest ordering a small number to see what you think. In my opinion, the weak link in canning is the lids. If we can’t get lids (and nothing is beyond questioning after what we’ve gone through in 2020 already!), we are not able to can so I do suggest trying the Tattler lids and giving it your best shot. Even if you don’t love them, but they work for you, I feel it’s a good idea to keep them, if only for a backup.
Lehman’s – Bulk canning lids. I’ve never used these but have heard good reports.
There’s a lot to consider when buying a canner.
If you’re using a class top stove, check the manufacturer’s warnings. Some may not work great for canning. My personal opinion: The heat on a glass top stove cycles (or at least it did on the ones I’ve used). If you have it set on “8”, the heat is going to be on 80% of the time and off 20% of the time. It isn’t impossible but it isn’t super easy to keep a constant pressure with the heat cycling on and off.
Even with a gas stove in the house, I do most of my canning outside on a Camp Chef propane stove. Unless it’s terribly windy, I use this on the porch. If it’s terribly windy, I can on the gas stove in the kitchen. One 25 pound propane tank will fun about four 90 minute pressure canning cycles. We re-fill our small tanks from our large propane tank and that makes it more economical.
Note: The size of the canner (i.e. – 23 quart) refers to the size of the canner itself – NOT how many jars you can put in the canner. With the 23 quart canner, if you were to fill the empty pot up with water, it would hold 23 quarts of water. If you were putting quart jars in there, it will hold 7 quarts.
As far as canners, a Presto 23 quart canner is a good entry level canner. I’ve used one for years.
If money isn’t an object, you know you’re going to be canning a lot, and you are NOT using a glass top stove, my favorite is the All American Canner. It has no gaskets, the lid is screwed down with clams, there is a readable pressure gauge, and a weighted jiggler gauge. They come in many sizes. They are super heavy! I have the 930, which will process 14 quarts at a time and with just a few inches of water in it, I can’t lift it but it is a heck of a workhorse canner.