Thanks for the idea Glenn. I am going to start out by saying canning is easier than people think.
First of all you don't have to have a canning kettle; all you need is a big kettle that is big enough to set your jars in up right and deep enough to cover the tops of the jars.My Mom never had one,to replace the rack the the jars sit in with a canning kettle, she placed a folded towel in the bottom of her pot.This prevented the jars from rattling around.
When it comes to jars you want undamaged ones,no nicks in them especially around the rims.To save yourself some money keep an eye out for used canning jars around where you live,yard/tag sales,charity/thrift shops ect, I find them on a regular bases for less then a dollar most of the time. This is not always a huge savings but I can buy a few at a time and I am recycling both of which I like.
Always buy new lids,once you have used a lid you have also used its seal up.The rings are important when you first seal your jars,the enable you to make sure the seal is set but once you are sure of the jar's seal you can remove them.The rings are reusable.A money saving tip is you don't have to have a ring for every single jar you own, you need as many as that days worth of canning since you can remove them to store your jars.I always keep a handful in a kitchen drawer for when I open a jar or I am giving one away.
I used to get overwhelmed by figuring out how much to can.How will I know I have enough?Will I run out? To answer these questions I thought about how much of each type of thing I was canning.I need more of some than others and you will want some variety. I like to can a few jars of different types of Jams.I can make 8 quart jars of 2 kinds of berry jam and 8 quarts of Apple Butter and this is plenty for us. I also use this type of thinking when canning fruits.I have learned that sometimes you will run out of something so we end up going without or making due with something else.We are now out of pickles (sigh) and won't have more until late fall.I could buy some but they are just not the same.Just ask yourself "How much of this do I use in a week?" and figure it out from there.
I do not can veggies,my family rather eat fresh seasonal veggies even if it means we eat the same thing day in and day out.I am canning tomatoes this year for the first time.Some how I had it in my head I needed a pressure canner but I don't.
Speaking of a pressure canner, you only need one for low acid foods.These are mostly meats and soups.I have one but have yet to use it,they kind of scare me,I have heard all of these explosion stories with broken glass flying all over and I am just not that brave.
I think when Glenn left his request for more about canning he might have wanted recipes.I have posted about both the Ball Blue Canning Book(I own it) and the newer Ball Canning book( which is updated with new ideas and foods) both are great resources and if you want to have a book right there on your shelf buy either one.Or you can go to the Ball website and print the recipes you want for free.(I have their link posted in my links.) The Ball company has done a great job of making their books and website VERY clear and easy to follow.
There are only a couple of things that I can that I do not use my Blue Book for Apple Sauce and my Grandmother's Pickles both of these I will be doing in a few weeks and will post about.I don't use any recipe for the Apple Sauce because all I use are apples and a bit of sugar to taste,then cook it down, pour into jars and water bath for 10 minutes,done.
Here is my list of "To Be Canned"
Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Mixed Veg Pickle
Marmalade Not until December when Oranges are in season and cheaper.
That's my list and most of the produce I need for it has not come in yet.I am in limbo waiting for August and then I am sure I will be posting lots of post about canning.
Chance has his own list of things to can and preserve.He is the condiment man, BBQ sauces,Salsa's,mustard's, ketchup (If you have never had homemade ketchup try it.It is nothing like that bland thin stuff in the bottles at the store.Part sauce, part jam it will impress.I will be sure to post this) and I can't remember what else.
I will do my best to give folks a heads up when I am preparing to can the next thing so if you want to follow along you can.Ha,no pun!I am not to sure how helpful this posting is.Until I am actually doing the canning it's hard to post about it with out the photos to back me up.