How to Get Ready for Canning Season

Canning season is upon us and I couldn't be more excited!  Whether you grow your own, hit the farmers market each week to gather your produce, or a little bit of both, now is the perfect time to get started.  I think there will be more people canning this year due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 lurking, so I thought I would share a few tips to help you get started if you are new to canning!

Tips to Getting Started

  1. Purchase Supplies

Depending on what you want to preserve, you will need to purchase a hot water bath pot and/or a pressure cooker for home canning.  There are many foods that can be hot water bathed, but some foods that will need to be pressure canned.

Here are a few examples of foods you can hot water bath:

  • Pickles
  • Peaches
  • Tomatoes

Here are a few examples of foods that need pressure canned:

  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Meat

After you have purchased one or both canning pot methods you will also need a few other supplies that I call "staples".  These are:

There will always be more supplies needed depending on what you are canning, but these are the items you will use almost every single time!

(I have attached links to the above items so you can purchase them from the links direct or view the products for more explanation!) 


2. Decide what to can 

Once you have your supplies, you are ready to get started!  First, decide what you would like to can and then find a good, reliable recipe.  If you want to start with something simple, I recommend starting with a single food item that you can hot water bath, such as tomatoes.  Tomatoes are very easy to can and are used in recipes all year.

3. Decide how much to can

The next step is to decide how many jars you would like to end up with.  For example, if you are canning tomatoes, think about how many cans you have purchased and used in the last month, then multiply that number by 12!  This really is important because you want enough jars to gt you through the year, but not so many that you don't use them up.  The jars will stay good for several years if stored in a cool, dry place and the lids stay sealed.  But it is best to use them in the first year or two.

Quantity example:  One 20 pound box of ripe tomatoes will yield roughly 10 quarts or 20 pints. 

4. Decide when to can 

Once you have all your supplies, decided what to can and how many jars you would like to make, it's time to decide on when to can your produce!  This is important because the produce is best to jar at the peak of ripeness.  For example, if it works best for you to can over the weekend, make sure to purchase your produce accordingly.  If you pick up your produce at the farmers market on a Saturday and the tomatoes need a few days to finish ripening, that will put canning in the middle of the week.  Does this work into your schedule?  These are a few things to think about before purchasing the produce!

5. Ready! Set! GO! 

It is really important to make sure you have ALL the ingredients and the supplies needed for your canning recipe before you start.  Double check the ingredient list to make sure you have enough of each item called for.  Also, make sure you have enough glass home canning jars and that they are sanitized and ready to go.  I usually dishwasher my jars the day before I want to can so they are clean and ready.

Once you have all the supplies, a great recipe, a day to can and the jars ready, it's time to GET STARTED!! Canning really is a lost art in our culture today, but it is truly amazing that we can have the fresh taste of garden season all year long.

If you have questions, let me know!  I would love to help.  You can comment below or send me an email through the contact tab at the top of the page.

Happy Canning!

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