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Pots, Pans and Pails

Heavy  gauge pots and kettles are a must when canning a large harvest.

Some recipes, particularly old family recipes and many floating around on the internet don't call for processing.  The food is cooked in an ordinary pot or kettle and should be at a low boil when packed into hot jars, covered with hot lids and sealed without processing any further. This is called the "open kettle method". Jellies and fruit preserves are the most popular and safest to seal this way as the temperature of the sugar is well above the boiling point of water.
The temperatures obtained in open kettle canning are not always high enough to destroy all spoilage and food poisoning organisms that may be in the food. Also, microorganisms can enter the food when it is transferred from the kettle to jar and cause spoilage. According to the USDA, this method is obsolete.

All high acid foods should be processed in a water bath or steam canner and all low acid foods in a pressure canner.
Higher acid foods (and those which have been acidified) that may be safely canned in a boiling water bath canner or a steam canner include jams, jellies, pickles, applesauce, apple butter, peaches, peach butter, pears, pear butter, spaghetti sauce without meat, ketchup and tomatoes.
The larger the batch being cooked, the heavier the pot needs to be to prevent scorching the bottom.  Heavy gauge stainless steel stock pots are best suited for quantities over 4 quarts.

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