Generally Useful Gear for canning and preservation.

Generally Useful Gear for canning and preservation.

Generally Useful Gear for canning and preservation.

Generally Useful Gear for canning and preservation.

In addition to the standard kitchen tools like mixing bowls, colanders, pots, knives, and stirring spoons, each food preservation technique contains a few specialized tools that are either necessary or that make the task considerably simpler than it would be otherwise.

But first, if you don’t already have it, here is some equipment you may want to purchase. These supplies will be helpful for a huge variety of food preservation applications. The recipes in this book may be made without any of them, but having them will make things simpler for you.

All-Round Useful Equipment

CHERRY PITTER A cherry pitter makes the process of making the Fermented Sour Cherries from the Preserving in Alcohol chapter—or any other cherry preserve—so much simpler. An olive pitter may also be used. Either one is a simple portable device that quickly removes each cherry (or olive) pit.

an instrument that quickly pulls out each cherry (or olive) pit.

The Sweet Red Pepper and Cucumber Relish recipe from the Vinegar Pickling chapter comes to mind. It’s not necessary if you don’t mind doing a lot of knife work, but it’s particularly handy for recipes that call for fairly significant amounts of fresh ingredients to be diced very fine.


The top of the line is a digital scale that can correctly weigh tiny amounts (ounces/grams) and manage big numbers (pounds/kilos). If you choose a non-digital scale, you may wish to spend money on two sets of weighing equipment: one to handle larger things and one smaller, postal-style scale for more accurate measurements.


A mandoline is a hand-operated utensil with a variety of slicing choices. It may be used to swiftly chop fruit or root vegetables into thin rounds or matchstick-sized slivers using the julienne technique.

Imagine it as a food processor that operates only on the movement of your arms. There’s a reason this device has a “hand protection” because it is razor sharp and very dangerous. Utilize the guard.


Spices that are freshly ground or softly crushed have distinctive scents and tastes that are unmatched by their equivalents that have been pre-ground. It’s true that and cannot be matched by their pre-ground equivalents.

You could certainly use an electronic coffee grinder for the mortar and pestle. But unlike the seeds you crush the traditional technique, the pulverized product won’t have the same lovely scent.

If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you may improvise by rolling a somewhat rounded rock over the spices on a flat rock; this method will still provide better results than an electronic grinder.


Particularly helpful for hot pack recipes where the food is cooked and then transferred to the jars before the canning liquid is poured over the rest of the components. But many other kinds of recipes in this and other food preservation books need similar equipment.
You’ll need to have equipment tailored to each food preservation method in addition to generally helpful equipment.

If you can’t locate the following equipment locally, see Useful Resources at the back of this book for information on how to order it.

Instruments for Lacto-fermentation

Considering that it’s ideal to avoid heating up probiotic foods, you don’t need specialized canning jars for Lacto-fermentation, however, I do advise using glass as opposed to plastic.

For dishes like sauerkraut, where you must be able to push down directly on the food in the jar, using jars with wide rather than tight mouths makes it simpler to pack in the ingredients.


If you want to produce batches of a ferment that are bigger than what a single quart jar can contain, this is a helpful choice. Ceramic cylinders known as crocks are higher than they are broad. They might be just a container with a lid, or they might be a little more intricate.

The Schmitt Fermenting Crock Pot, one of the fancier varieties (highly recommended), has rims that enable a moat of water to be created, keeping away mold and other potentially hazardous bacteria while enabling the gases generated by fermentation to escape. Additionally, they provide fitting weights.


If you’re producing a big quantity of a ferment and your crock didn’t come with a weight that was specifically designed for it, you’ll need to construct one. The solid meal is kept immersed under the saline liquid for this reason.

No need to spend money on this or use high-tech: It works just well with a plate that fits inside the crock and is topped with a closed jar filled with water.

Many fermentation experts suggest using a sealed, brine-filled Ziploc bag as a weight. Because simple water would dilute the brine in the event that the bag leaks, brine is used instead of water.

Although I am not a fan of this procedure since the plastic is in close touch with the food, it does function.

Equipment to Boil Water Bath Vinegar pickling, pressure canning, sweet preserves, and canning

If you have the following tools, all of these food preservation techniques will be considerably simpler.


This funnel has a significantly larger bottom opening than the typical narrow funnel aperture. It is not strictly necessary equipment, but it will help you avoid a lot of kitchen messes when you transfer hot food into canning jars. It may be used for other jobs as well, such as filling jars with dry bulk goods like rice. One belongs in every kitchen.


The glass used to make canning jars is heatproof and able to resist the high temperatures produced by pressure canning or a boiling water bath. They may be used with widemouth or “normal” sized canning lids. Quart or single-liter jars are the biggest practicable size for home canning; the smallest is 4 ounces.

Although the tiniest Quattro Stagioni lids are an anomaly and cannot be used with any other type of lid, the necks of the majority of canning jars are designed for the two sizes of lids specified.

Most lids come in two pieces: a disk with an adhesive ring on the bottom and a screw-on ring that secures the disk during canning. There are additional canning lid brands that come in one piece, once again with the adhesive ring on the bottom. Additionally, some canning lids are reusable and come with an extra rubber ring.

New canning jars will come with canning lids when you purchase them. It should be noted that although the inner disks of two-piece lids may be reused, the screw-on rings should not be done so since the adhesive ring wears out and the lids may not seal.

The glue on single-piece canning lids also falls within this category (single-piece canning lids should only be reused for food storage, not for repeated canning). Reusable canning lids from the Tattler brand are an exception to the prohibition on reuse of the inner ring (see Useful Resources).

The vintage rubber-ringed glass lid clamp-down jars, which are still available in many stores, are not mentioned in this sentence. These are excellent for preserving fermented foods as well as dried and salted meals. It is more difficult to verify a good seal with them than it is with the canning jars mentioned above, but they are far less dependable.


With the aid of this instrument, hot jars may be carried to the site where they will cool down and move easily into and out of the canner. When you need to extract completely submerged jars from the hot water of a boiling water bath, you will be extremely appreciative to have one of them.


Glass jars are boiled to sterilize them for canning, and then the lids are placed in the hot water. Then you must get them out of there once again.

With the flat disks of two-piece canning lids, that may be challenging. It may be made simple with the aid of a lid lifter.

Two models exist. One features a long handle that protrudes over the water’s surface and a rack that holds the lids. The other is a stick with a magnet at the end; it only works with metal canning lids, not the plastic ones that may be used again.


The recipes in this book have already had their pH checked, so you may use them without using this device.

However, if you want to start experimenting with your own canning recipes, this is the equipment that will tell you if what you have created is acidic enough to be properly canned in a boiling water bath or whether it has to be pressure canned.

The primary distinction between risk-free and unsafe canning procedures is that knowledge.

The finest pH meters employ an electrode that is submerged in the meal and provide you with an exact digital measurement of the pH of your dish. A food item may be placed in a boiling water bath if the pH is 4.6 or below; otherwise, a pressure canner must be used.

To find out where to get pH meters, see Useful Resources.


This protects the glass jars from splitting during processing and fits into your pressure canner or boiling water bath kettle. Custom-fitted racks are included with every new pressure canner.

You may use a circular cake rack for boiling water baths, particularly if you’re making one out of an unsuitable vessel, like a stockpot.

What You Need for Boiling Water Bath Canning


Jars of food must be completely submerged in boiling water bath canning, with 1 to 2 inches of water sitting above the lids. For boiling water bath canning, a specific canner is not required, but the one you use must be deep enough.

The depth of soup stockpots makes them useful. One of those pasta pots with a built-in rack may be used for tiny jars (half- or quarter-pint). The Pressure Canning chapter contains instructions for using a pressure canner as a boiling water bath.

Instruments for Vinegar Pickling

Unless you want to utilize homemade vinegar for pickling, not necessary. You may test your produced vinegar to check whether it has a high enough proportion of acetic acid to substitute commercially marketed vinegar in pickle recipes using this affordable kit, which is available through home winemaking providers (see Useful Resources).

Preserving Equipment
Jammy Bag

A jelly bag can tell one hazy jelly from a wonderfully transparent one. Juices and syrups may be strained with it as well. If you don’t want to spend money on jelly bags that come with stands for placing them over bowls or pots, you may make your own stand by placing a colander over a big bowl or pot:

Place a rack or a few long wooden spoons across the bowl or pot, and then place the jelly-filled colander on top of the rack or handles. Butter muslin or the cloth produce bags that are marketed to replace plastic bags at the store are other alternatives to jelly bags, which are often made of synthetic material.

In straining recipes like labneh, your jelly bag may also be used in place of cheesecloth (yogurt cheese; see the Dairy chapter).


Although not necessary, removing the seeds and skins from fruits and vegetables when blending them is advantageous. For instance, I don’t have to peel the apples when I make applesauce since I use a food mill.

If you don’t have a food mill, you might try pushing the food through a sieve or colander with the back of a spoon for a comparable outcome, but it would need a lot more work.

Equipment for Pressurized Canning

For successfully preserving non-acidic foods, this is a necessary piece of equipment.
For food that has to be pressure canned, you cannot just use any old deep pot, unlike boiling water bath canning. For additional information on the various pressure canner types and useful resources that can help you find them.

Dehydrating equipment

Not absolutely necessary since you can also dehydrate food in your oven or, in very dry areas, even outside in the sun (or make a solar dehydrator). However, if you are in an area that is sufficiently dry, you may do it in the sun (or make a solar dehydrator).

However, an electric dehydrator consumes less energy than an oven, can sustain lower temperatures than you can in most ovens and includes a fan to move air around the food. View Helpful Resources.

utensils for smoking and salting

There is no additional equipment needed to prepare the straightforwardly salted meals in this book, such as pancetta and salt fish. However, individuals who smoke them after being healed do.


These might be simple, affordable DIY devices or elaborate, usually costly commercial versions. Information about the various categories of smokers may be found in the chapter on smoking and salting.


Getting coals going outside the smoker for long-smoked recipes is tremendously helpful but not absolutely necessary. One of these chimneys, which are readily accessible at most hardware shops, makes it simple to ignite the coals and allows you to control their stage before adding more coals to the smoker as required

By doing this, you may reduce temperature swings while the meal is being smoked over a period of time.

Digital meat thermometer This device measures the interior temperature of your meat or fish and notifies you when it is fully cooked. Purchase a thermometer that features a flexible probe and a heatproof, magnetic readout. The flexible probe is placed within the meal, and the thermometer’s reading is located on the smoker’s exterior.

Thus, you are no longer need to continually open the smoker in order to monitor the food’s interior temperature.

Most digital thermometers also have an alert setting that will sound at you when the food’s center reaches the desired temperature. This feature is especially useful if you’re busy entertaining guests while smoking something.

Your meat thermometer may also be used to measure the temperature of cheese.

Tools for Freezing

The following things are beneficial for freezing food in addition to the apparent and necessary freezer.
in order to freeze food.


If you’re going to use plastic, it’s worth investing the little bit more to get the thicker, freezer Ziploc bags since regular plastic storage bags are often too thin to prevent food from freezer burn.

Using freezer-safe containers rather of bags has the benefit that you may choose ones that are BPA-free. These are typically constructed of thick, freezer-safe glass or stainless steel. Some canning jars may also be used to freeze food.

Use only wide-mouth canning jars with straight edges for this purpose (no narrowing at the neck). Make careful to allow some head space in all containers since the water in the food will expand as it freezes.


The best choice for packaging meat, poultry, and fish for freezing is this. However, you may also purchase butcher paper from office supply shops or internet vendors (see Useful Resources) (where it will be near school craft supplies).


When food is vacuum packed before going into the freezer, it keeps its quality better and is less likely to suffer from freezer burn. Vacuum-sealed bags are a good way to preserve certain dried goods as well: In this manner, kale chips, for instance, maintain their crisp for a longer period of time.

A desktop vacuum sealer is a wise purchase if you want to dry and, more importantly, freeze food in large quantities. See A tabletop vacuum sealer is an investment that will pay off in large quantities. View Helpful Resources.

Cold Storage Equipment

Tracking the humidity in a root cellar is helpful but not absolutely necessary. View Helpful Resources.
Tools for Making Simple Cheese


It’s not necessary to use canning jars if you’re using glass jars. However, I advise against using plastic while producing cheese, same as with lacto fermentation.


The benefit of using cheesecloth is that it is easily accessible at grocery shops and other kitchen supply outlets. To mimic the precise straining action of butter muslin or a jelly bag, however, requires several layers of cheesecloth. Additionally, unlike butter muslin or jelly bags, cheesecloth is more difficult to clean up and reuse. For mail-order suppliers of jelly bags and butter muslin, see Useful Resources.


You can absolutely smoke meat and fish using a digital meat thermometer like the one I suggested. But there are other non-electric food thermometers that are perfectly enough for producing cheese.

Equipment for Alcohol Preserving

A fermentation lock has two ends, one of which resembles a plastic cork and the other of which is a plastic device that you partly fill with water. While simultaneously keeping out bacteria and mold, it permits the gases produced by fermentation to escape.

Fermentation locks come in a variety of sizes, from those that would fit inside a used wine bottle to those designed for gallon-sized and bigger carboys. Any retailer that sells supplies for producing wine at home may get them at a reasonable price (see Useful Resources).

You may use a punctured balloon to accomplish the same result if you don’t want to bother purchasing a fermentation lock: allowing gases to escape while keeping mold and germs out. For instructions, refer to the chapter on Preserving in Alcohol.

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