Having the right food preservation tools and equipment can make canning, freezing, drying and pickling safe and easy. Many people ask me what equipment they need to get started canning so I decided to compile all of the tools and equipment that I use in one place for easy sharing. If you have a favorite tool that I didn’t share, I would love to hear about it in the comments.
Hot Water Bath Canner
A hot water bath canner is used to process high acid foods like fruits, pickles, and tomatoes.
Low acid foods like meat, vegetables, and dairy you will need a pressure canner. Use a pressure canner without the lid as a hot water bath canner. Although pressure canners are more expensive I recommend them over a hot water bath canner to cut down on the need to store two large pots.
Pressure canners are required to safely preserve vegetables, meats, poultry, and seafood. A pressure canner can double as a boiling water canner so it is my recommendation for the first purchase you should make when starting to preserve foods. The Presto Pressure Canner and Cooker is what I use.
Canning utensils make preserving food much easier than using everyday kitchen utensils. I keep my set in a plastic box with a lid so that they stay together and are easy to bring out when I am ready to use them.
Multifunctional Food Chopper
This food chopper isn’t a necessary tool but it will speed up the prep part of your food preservation. This amazing tool has 11 different inserts making it one of the best recommendations that I can make for food preservation tools.
Blanching and Steaming Basket
Many foods need to be blanched prior to canning, freezing, or freeze-drying and this steamer basket makes the job easy. It will fit in your pressure canner or instant pot making it a very versatile accessory.
Glass Jars and Lids
Good quality jars and lids will keep your foods safely preserved and beautifully displayed. Keep a variety of sizes on hand according to the types of food you preserve. Jars are reusable but the lids will need to be replaced.
Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers
Mylar bags come in several sizes that can be used to store dry goods in individual servings up to 5-gallon buckets. Oxygen absorbers keep air out of jars or mylar bags. I use them with all of my freeze-dried food. The size of the bag or jar will determine the size oxygen absorber that you will need.
Mylar Bag Sealer
Mylar bags can be sealed using heat from an impulse sealer, iron, or flat iron. There are special mylar bags that can be sealed in a vacuum sealer but the majority of mylar bags will need a higher heat setting to seal.
Vacuum Sealer and Accessories
I have used a FoodSaver vacuum sealer for years but just recently purchased the mason jar sealer accessory. When I tried to seal my jars it didn’t work so my amazing husband bought me a new FoodSaver vacuum sealer to see if the accessory would work, and it did! I couldn’t find the exact machine I have but this one is comparable. I will continue to try to find the model I have (VS3110) and will update it when I find it.
Blender or Food Processor
A high-quality blender or food processor will shorten the time to mix foods for preserving. I use my BlendTec Blender to powder many of my freeze-dried foods.
This one is my favorite but it’s also the most expensive recommendation that I have. My Harvest Right freeze-dryer runs almost 24 hours a day because it is the most important part of my food preservation plan.
Read more about why I highly recommend freeze-drying over all other food preservation methods.