I’ve been canning and pickling for about 15 years now — starting with applesauce when my kids were young and then graduating to jellies and jams, relishes and pickles. But, I’ve never had good tools to do the job with.
That is, until recently when I bought some legit canning tools until this year — and what a difference good tools make. Now, I should have known this already. Having the right tools — a pruner that fits your hand well, a sturdy trowel, a tree saw — makes a huge difference in gardening. Cooking is no different.
I bought this set from Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply, a fun store on Selby Avenue in St. Paul last spring. The store is full of gear for gardeners, chicken keepers and canners, both equipment and how-to books. This simple set from Ball, the kingpins of canning, included a brilliantly efficient jar lifter (no more burned hands), a magnetic lid grabber and a tool that removes air from jars and measures the headspace between the food you are preserving and the jar lid.
Monday I made eight jars of pickle relish, using my rather abundant supply of cucumbers, and today I canned six half pints of peach preserves. It’s a good week for canning, especially with good tools.