Saturday, September 19, 2009

No Canner? No Problem.

I saw a recent post by GrafixMuse about her purchasing a new pressure canner. Pressure canners are great if you plan on canning low acid foods, but for higher acid recipes, the only ones I seem to manage to make, all you need to process them is a simple boiling water bath. They sell BWB canners at Wal-Mart or other stores. They come with a nifty canning rack which holds the jars very nicely while keeping them off of the bottom of the pot. However, my problem is that we have a glass cook-top and you must use flat bottomed pots/pans on it or the glass runs the risk of cracking.

Because of this, I use an old stock pot for my canning.
The key to BWBing is to keep the jars off of the bottom of the pot to prevent scorching, for at least one reason. Anything you can find that will keep them off of the bottom will work fine. I used to simply use a wadded up towel in the bottom, but that makes a total mess. I realized that if I tool all of the jar lids from the gallon jars that busted in the garage when a shelf fell earlier this summer, that they fit beautifully in the bottom of the pot. I tied them together with a bit of wire to keep them in place and make the contraption heavy enough to stay submerged.

See how neatly they fit in the pot! I can fit five pint jars, four on the edges and one in the middle. It's a snug fit, but they all sit on the bottom nicely. It can fit more half pints, but the problem with those is getting them to stand upright since their bases are a bit smaller than those rings so they sit awkwardly, but if you have enough of them, they can support each other.
It's a cheap, perfect solution.
EG, I know you're the fabrication man and can most certainly do better than this with your set up, but hopefully the idea will help.


  1. A nice tall pot works perfectly as a BWB. It doesn't have to be an official boiling water canner... just a pot big enough to cover your filled jars with an inch or so of water.

    Love your canning rack idea :) Sometimes a small cooling rack from the dollar store may fit too.

  2. I use my big stock pot, too. I thought about buying a new canner this year, so I'd have the rack with handeles, but twenty-some bucks for a pot the same size as the one I have seemed like a lot to spend just to get a rack. I do have a round thingy...I guess you could call it a meat rack, that fits perfectly in the bottom of mine. I have no idea where it came from, I know it didn't come with the stock pot so it was probably an insert from my old Club Aluminum cookware from years ago. Works just great!

  3. What a clever solution. I want to start canning, but have a flat top stove as well. And its not "ours" as we rent right now. So I've been putting off trying any canning. No garden for us yet, but great farmers markets with yummy apples right now. I think I'll try your solution.

  4. That's so cool! I'll do mine the same way, because hey - it works! Thanks for the photos...

  5. I wish I had thought of this BEFORE I bought a regular BWB and only THEN realized I couldn't use it on my cook top.

    LB, it works perfectly. We can a lot from the market as well. For me, it's more of a relaxing thing to do. I have to stay focused, have a goal, and then a lasting product that I'm proud of. I just started canning, myself. It's not hard to learn and completely gratifying.

    Glad it will help, EG. You've helped me so much that I feel all tingly that I could give you an idea. That's tingly like your hand falls asleep and you have to whack it against the wall to get the feeling back, that is.

  6. I love this sort of neat, cheap solution!

  7. All you canners are gonna have me canning by next growing season! Like a pro if you all keep posting all your nifty tips!