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 legit canning tools until this year — and what a difference they make.
I bought a tool 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 6 half pints of peach preserves. It’s a good week for canning, especially with the right tools.