Don’t buy the Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit! :(

Again today, I heard of someone who’d bought the Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit, aka: Ball Small Batch Canning Kit. It made me cringe when she said it, because–in my personal opinion–that’s one of the biggest wastes of money in the world of home canning ……

…… unless, of course, you’re canning your first three pints of jam/jelly … and you never plan to can more than three jars of jam/jelly at a time from here on.

If you’d ever like to can anything beyond that … then don’t buy the Canning Discovery Kit … because it’s a waste of money.

Here’s the straight story. If you’re looking to buy an inexpensive starter kit that will cover you for ANYTHING you want to can (from the allowed foods list, that is) for the rest of your life … then buy:

  • one 16-quart pressure canner: your choice of dial or weight gauge … one that can double as a BWB canner … $65 at WalMart.
  • one jar lifter: $5.03 at Amazon … but I’ve bought them for a LOT less, including $.69 at thrift stores.
  • “Mason” type jars (that fit the two-part canning lids) with two-piece canning lids: a case will cost you $8-15/depending on size and where you buy them.

Voila! In addition to ‘food’ and ‘time’ …. that’s all you need to can pretty much ANYTHING you’d like to learn how to can :)

If I had an extra few dollars in my pocket, I’d also add:

… because funnels like that can help you keep the lips of your jars cleaner as you fill them … and cleaner lips mean less to clean before you put your lids on.

With that minimum amount of equipment … you’ll have the ability to can
to your heart’s content … boiling water bath canning AND pressure canning … now, and 50 years from now :)

About Lane

Just a canner ... on this food journey called life :)
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4 Responses to Don’t buy the Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit! :(

  1. Caroline says:

    I’d add a jar lifter to the list of canning essentials. Probably $6-10, ‘retail’ but also available cheaply at thrift stores. Nice to have: half-sheet pans and dishtowels to fold under them, to protect the counter top. I line my scalded canning jars up on a half-sheet pan, fill them with food to be canned (using the canning funnel), add canning liquid, top with lids, tighten the rings, and then lift the jars into the prepared canner using the jar lifter. When the jars come out of the canner, the sequence is: towel on counter, half-sheet pan on top of towel, lift jars from canner onto half-sheet pan.

  2. Lane says:

    I agree on the jar lifter, Caroline! It’s my #2 bullet point in my list! However, I’ve never thought of using cookie sheets under my jars like that. Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Mish says:

    I saw this at Walmart last time I was there, and my youngest Manling and I just stood there and LAUGHED.

    Then I was at Lowe’s Hardware Store with my DH the other week, and they had basically the same thing, only it was “A Canning Kit” with a BWB canner filled with accessories for like $85 or something. I nearly choked on my coffee!

    I’m a cheapskate. All my canning stuff–with the exception of my funnels, wand, and a new jar lifter–was either thrift store purchased or yard sale acquired. Till we got all the basics together, it was a game for my boys to see who could spot the most canning stuff on a Saturday morning!

    I did splurge on a bigger pressure canner last year ’cause my $5 yard-sale (first ever canning purchase! WOOT!), never-opened, got-it-for-a-wedding-present-and-never-used-it pressure canner just wasn’t making enough food for the starving men in my life. But we did some serious shopping and comparing before we bought….and I didn’t get it in Lowe’s! LOL

  4. Lane says:

    hey Mish! :)

    i’m with you, honey!…i LOVE thrift stores for canning supplies…in fact, i have FOUR pressure canners (two 16-quart canners and two 21-quart canners, all Prestos)…one i bought new…and the other three bought used…and reconditioned (with new gaskets) for a grand total of $149…not bad, huh? :)

    keep canning!…and thrift shopping! :)

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