Pickles, sauces and preserves aren’t just something you can buy at the grocery store. You can actually make them from home, too. So if you’re looking to cut costs, or you just want to make sure that there’s always some jarred foods in your pantry, then it might be time to invest in a dedicated water bath canner.
Water bath canning is a process that makes jars of fresh fruits and vegetables into pickles and jams by submerging them in boiling water. If preserved food is acidic enough and sealed properly, these can last for months—even years. The only downside to the process is that it can take up an awful lot of time and kitchen space.
A dedicated water bath canner, however, makes it easy. The appliance will allow you to prepare multiple containers at once—at least seven individual quart jars—and includes a rack that makes retrieval safe and easy.
So, if you’re ready to start churning out batches of your own preserves, then you’re going to want to add a water bath canner to your kitchen’s arsenal. Here are four of the very best.
1. Homeplace Stove Top Water Bath Canner
If you’re already a seasoned canner and looking to take things to the next level, then Homeplace’s water bath unit is exactly what you’re looking for. This rectangular canner can hold 15 quart jars at once (compared to the usual seven). Its industrial look won’t be for everyone, and it takes up two burners worth of space, but it’s perfect for those looking to produce a big batch of preserves at once.
Pros: A giant water bath canner that has room for 15 quart jars.
Cons: It’s big—like, two stove burners big.
2. McSunley Water Bath Canner
If you’re new to canning, then McSunley’s water bath unit is a perfect place to start. A no-frills canner, it includes everything a beginner will need, including a rack to slowly lower your jars into the boiling water and to retrieve them once they’re done. Though its aesthetic leaves something to be desired, it does feature a flat-bottom base, which means that you’ll be able to use it on basically any kind of stovetop—something that can’t be said for all canners.
Pros: Suitable for gas, electric and glass stovetops.
Cons: May be a touch basic for more experienced canners.
3. RSVP International Endurance Water Bath Canner
RSVP International’s canner may not look like anything special, but it’s the little details that set it apart. One tidbit that really stands out is its rack, which is designed specifically for canning. It includes notches that ensure each quart glass is held in place during the boiling process, as well as a rest so that the rack is supported on the edge of the canning pot, making jar removal exponentially easier. The unit also includes a tri-ply base, which promises even heating.
Pros: Includes a rack specifically designed for canning.
Cons: The two units together will require a fair amount of storage space.
4. Ball freshTECH Electric Water Bath Canner
If you’d rather not give up a stove burner for your canning hobby, then Ball’s electric option might be the one for you. Although the electric canner will take up counter space, it’s a more energy efficient alternative to the stove (20 percent more efficient, actually) and gives you greater control over the entire process. What’s more, it also works as a steamer for pastas, soups and seafood.
Pros: An electric option for those would want to keep the stovetop clear.
Cons: While it won’t take up a stove burner, this canner will take up counter space.