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Canning is a very broad term. There are three types of canning: water bath for processing acid foods (fruits, tomatoes, pickles, relishes) at 212 degrees F; steam-pressure canning for processing low-acid foods (most vegetables, meats, soups) at 240 degrees F; and open kettle (for jellies only) which involves simply cooking and pouring into sterilized jars. In addition to kettles, water-bath canners and steam canners, some customers will want a blancher to scald foods, especially fresh corn and soups.

In addition to jars and lids, you will be needing paraffin, timers, choppers, strainers, food presses, ladles, long-handled tongs, jar and freezer-bag labels and markers, funnels, jar wrenches, jelly strainers, jar lifters, pea shellers and corn cutters.

Some people prefer freezing because the process is easier. You can freeze a greater variety of foods than you are able to can and some contend that foods taste more like they’re fresh from the garden than after canning. However, maximum storage time for frozen fruits and vegetables is 8-12 months-less than for canned goods.

The latest home preservation process is dehydration, which dries food at a constant temperature of 120 degrees F without burning it. A special dehydrator accommodates 18-20 lbs. of food at a time. Properly stored, dried foods will keep for years in a minimum amount of space and their nutrient value is preserved.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.