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I've never bothered to buy one of those clamping holders


I've used a bamboo steamer for a couple of years, which is not ideal, and is now falling apart



The guys at The Bitten Word crafted a really clever barrier for their Tomato Canning marathon:



Clever, huh? What do you use?



Tags: canning, hack, tomatoes, tools

Views: 2543

Replies to This Discussion

A canning newbie, I got sucked into buying the Ball green plastic basket you can use with a regular stock pot. I was actually impressed (once I got the handle wrestled into the hole.) You can only process small batches at a time, but I figured that would keep me from getting in over my head :)

Maybe I'm missing something, but why do you need any of these. I do see the need for the basket that is used to lift jars out of the waterbath canner but I don't even use that (I just grab them with my jar-tongs one at a time). I do occasionally use an empty jar to take up space if I don't have a full canner but other than that I've never felt the need to hold the jars together. Am I missing something of just lucky?
I learned this the hard way, Pat, when I ended up with pickled beets all over the bottom of my canner :( I didn't have enough to pack the canner tightly, so the jars bobbed around, hit the bottom of the pot (and each other) and shattered.



Pat Johnson said:
Maybe I'm missing something, but why do you need any of these. I do see the need for the basket that is used to lift jars out of the waterbath canner but I don't even use that (I just grab them with my jar-tongs one at a time). I do occasionally use an empty jar to take up space if I don't have a full canner but other than that I've never felt the need to hold the jars together. Am I missing something of just lucky?
no tongs needed with the green plastic basket (and I am brand spankin' new, so know there are plenty of broken jars in my future :)
I see and understand. I do make sure my jars are fairly tight and use empty jars if I need to. Both my canner and my waterbath canner are sized to be fairly tight when the correct amount of jars (filled or empty) are used. I guess if I were using a stock pot that was a little largeer than would be tight a device of some sort would be handy.

Cornelia said:
I learned this the hard way, Pat, when I ended up with pickled beets all over the bottom of my canner :( I didn't have enough to pack the canner tightly, so the jars bobbed around, hit the bottom of the pot (and each other) and shattered.



Pat Johnson said:
Maybe I'm missing something, but why do you need any of these. I do see the need for the basket that is used to lift jars out of the waterbath canner but I don't even use that (I just grab them with my jar-tongs one at a time). I do occasionally use an empty jar to take up space if I don't have a full canner but other than that I've never felt the need to hold the jars together. Am I missing something of just lucky?
You go girl! Don't worry about broken jars. They are generally few and far between. I think I understand the need for the device thanks to you and Cornela. Since my canners are the right size I've been able to get away without the device so far.

Christine Adair said:
no tongs needed with the green plastic basket (and I am brand spankin' new, so know there are plenty of broken jars in my future :)
Next time, I will be putting in an empty jar if needed--good idea! (I just like keeping things simple-the fewer tools, less mess, I can get it, the better!)
I use the jar rack in my waterbath and pressure canner. If I don't have a full jar rack of filled jars, I add extra jars half filled with water. Note: if extra glass jars are placed in the jar rack empty, they will bob up and down once the rack is submerged. Like a few others, I make sure that canning jars fill the rack so they don't topple and lay, or make so much movement they might crack.

When I do small batch canning in a smaller cooking pot, I have no rack but use a small steel rack that came with an old pressure cooker. This prevents the jars from sitting on the base of the pot where there would be too much direct heat during the canning process. Small batch canning may only be 2 half-pints, so I add extra jars filled with water in the smaller cooking pot, too. Doing this enables me to can bits of this-n-that and keeping them upright and stable while they are boiling works beautifully.
I use my pressure canner as a water bath by using a large silicon lid. (pic-processing low temp pickles, lid is to the left) I've also used a silicon potholder at the bottom of the pot when I was canning massive amounts of relish. There was a great suggestion on the Food in Jars site for using an asparagus pot for small batches. I canned 2 half pints of figs (stacking the jars) this way.
Attachments:
That's exactly what I do and I use the thin metal thing in the bottom of my pressure cooker to keep the jars off the bottom.

Lynn Shaw said:
I use the jar rack in my waterbath and pressure canner. If I don't have a full jar rack of filled jars, I add extra jars half filled with water. Note: if extra glass jars are placed in the jar rack empty, they will bob up and down once the rack is submerged. Like a few others, I make sure that canning jars fill the rack so they don't topple and lay, or make so much movement they might crack.

When I do small batch canning in a smaller cooking pot, I have no rack but use a small steel rack that came with an old pressure cooker. This prevents the jars from sitting on the base of the pot where there would be too much direct heat during the canning process. Small batch canning may only be 2 half-pints, so I add extra jars filled with water in the smaller cooking pot, too. Doing this enables me to can bits of this-n-that and keeping them upright and stable while they are boiling works beautifully.
Something else to consider with canning racks -- they're not all made the same way. The new Ball rack (as Cornelia shared) has well-spaced side wiring so that the little Jelly Jars don't slide out of the rack like they do with the older jar racks. I used to have a dickens of a time and now that I have the new Ball rack, no more issues with the Jelly Jars! (I bought my new stainless pot direct from Ball and it came with the rack. Yeah, I'm in canning-heaven with it! lol)

Often, I would fill Jelly Jars and then process the food in a water-bath using the small scale canning process. It was easier than dealing with the old rack. Of course, it meant several batches, but it's the same process, just on a smaller scale. Here's my write up for small scale canning (it shows that steel platform I keep at the base) if anyone wants to see how it works. I use a pasta stainless pot:
http://woodridge.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/small-scale-canning/

By the way, I think the banded canning rings shown in the above photo is a splendid idea!
That is so funny! I also use the jar bands on the bottom of my pot with the rack on top of them because I find that my skinny 1/2 pint jars get tippy without the extra surface. Also, I use them to give a little more room for water circulation underneath my quart jars--I just don't think the rack and jars should sit so close to the bottom of the pot.

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