Are you eager to dive into the world of food preservation but unsure where to start? Or perhaps you’re a seasoned pro looking to upgrade your equipment. Either way, having the right tools can make all the difference in your food preservation and storage journey.
From mason jars to dehydrators and canning kits, a vast array of products are available to help you preserve and store your food safely and efficiently. But with so many options, knowing which ones are worth investing in can be challenging.
That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve scoured Amazon – the go-to online marketplace known for its vast selection and user reviews – to bring you a list of the best food preservation and storage products. Whether you’re interested in canning, freezing, dehydrating, or fermenting, we’ve got you covered.
In this blog post, we will guide you through our top picks, detailing each product’s features, benefits, and why they’re a worthy addition to your kitchen. Let’s embark on this journey towards self-sufficiency, reduced waste, and delicious, home-preserved food!
Granite Ware Water Bath Canner
Canning is a cost-effective way to preserve and store all kinds of fresh produce. It’s also a fairly easy and inexpensive preservation technique to get into. Aside from canning jars, the main equipment you’ll need is a water bath canner. This is nothing more than a large pot with a jar rack that your canning jars will sit on.
That’s exactly what you’ll get with this granite ware water bath canner. The pot is a great size for canning, but I’m sure it will also come in handy when making a pot of soup or chili. I’ve also been known to use mine to boil pasta in a pinch.
Let’s get back to the main reason for getting this inexpensive pot through – canning. It’s lightweight and easy to use. It works well on both gas and electric burners. Be aware that this pot is not recommended for glass-top stoves.
As I already mentioned, it comes with a metal canning jar rack. This will sit in the pot and keep the glass jars from touching the bottom.
Why is this important? Because having the glass in direct contact with the bottom of the pot can cause your jars to bust open. Let me tell you, that is not something you want to clean up.
For that reason alone, it is well worth investing in a proper water bath canner. You also have a little more control over the heat and jars this way, resulting in better overall canning results.
If you cook throughout the year in this pot, you’ll appreciate that it is dishwasher-safe. My favorite feature is the porcelain surface with a steel core for even and fast heat distribution.
This means I can get my water bath up to temperature quicker, and keeping it in the optimal temperature range is easier.
That makes canning a lot easier, and it goes faster. If you find yourself processing batch after batch of canned goods throughout the summer and fall, that makes a big difference.
The 21.5-quart water bath canner holds seven one-quart jars, nine one-pint jars, or 12 half-pint jars. That’s plenty big for the average family.
If you find yourself doing larger batches of canning, consider picking up two of these to use in tandem. At the price, this is something you can easily do, even on a tight budget.
New to canning? Check out how to get started here.
Ball Complete Book Of Home Canning
If you’ve even just considered giving canning a try or bought a set of canning jars to use for storage or even drinking glasses, you know that Ball is one of the biggest names in the canning world. If they publish a book on canning, it’s worth paying attention to, and this Complete Book of Home Canning does not disappoint.
Yes, there are a lot of free resources about canning available online. Still, there’s just something about having a big book on your kitchen counter that you can reference throughout the canning process.
It’s also nice to have and leaf through for inspiration when facing a big batch of products that needs to be “put up.”
Canning is a great way to enjoy healthy, nutritious foods throughout the year. It allows you to preserve everything your garden offers throughout the year, enabling you to take advantage of great offers from the farmer’s market.
As expected from a book like this, it has a lot of recipes for a large variety of canned products you can make right at home in your kitchen.
What makes this book such an invaluable resource is all the extra information packed into these pages. You’ll find detailed information on the basics of canning and each step of the food preservation process.
Safety is crucial when preserving food you and your family will eat months from now. This book has a lot of information about foodborne illnesses and how to prevent them.
You have to make sure you kill bad bacteria through preservation, and to make that happen; you have to follow a time-tested process that this book will teach you.
This is a book on canning that you will come back to again and again to review processes, take advantage of the handy guide on produce weight vs. volume, and course, try some of the amazing recipes included. I highly recommend you add this to your library of cooking and homemaking books.
Presto Canning Kit
When I started thinking about canning, what scared me most was handling the hot jars submerged in boiling water. The idea of grabbing hot, wet, slippery canning jars with my kitchen tongs and wrestling them out of the pot and onto a folded towel on the counter sounded a bit terrifying. It’s what kept me from postponing canning for a year or two.
I finally broke down and ordered a canning kit that included jar tongs. These special little tongs wrap around the jar, making it easy and safe to handle even the hottest canning jars.
While the tongs didn’t disappoint, I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful the other canning accessories in this kit have been.
Here’s what’s included in this Presto Canning Kit. There are the jar lifter tongs that I already talked about. Also included is a set of kitchen tongs. These have been handy to leave canning lids out of the pot when boiling them to sterilize, but also to handle hot food that needs to get into the jars.
Speaking of which, the included funnel makes it easy to pour liquids into jars without the risk of spilling it all over the pot and the counter. The funnel is fairly wide, making it easy to run chunky things, like apple pie filling, into canning jars.
When you’re canning, you need to tighten the lids after you get the hot jars from the water bath. The included jar wrench is surprisingly helpful with this. Much safer and easier to do than my old method of grabbing some kitchen towels to tighten the lids.
The kit also includes a bubble remover, a lid lifter, and a digital kitchen timer. It’s nice having everything you need to can in one spot. I keep it all in the box to make sure it stays together.
This Presto Canning Accessory kit is a great addition to your kitchen. It’s very affordable and worth every penny. I think you’ll find it just as helpful as I have. As a bonus, everything is a beautiful spring green that puts a smile on my face.
Ball Mason Jars
I love Mason jars. They are, of course, great for their intended usage – canning, but I find myself grabbing them throughout the year for all sorts of different things.
We use ball mason jars as drinking glasses, flower vases, storage for leftovers, bringing lunches to work, and more. Older jars past their canning prime can be turned into all sorts of arts and crafts around the house. Take a quick look at Mason jar crafts on Pinterest, and you’ll find a lifetime’s worth of ideas.
Ball is my favorite brand when it comes to canning and mason jars. In addition to canning, they are a great storage solution for the freezer.
With more and more health concerns about plastic storage containers and the risk of contamination in the foods we eat, I feel much safer using glass instead.
Ball jars have yet to break on me in the freezer or the canner, which is important in my book.
It’s important to note that once you freeze a jar – any canning jar, you should no longer use it for canning. Keep that in mind when you start to make things like freezer jam or use jars as freezer containers. Keeping good track of what can go in the freezer and what’s used only for canning is important.
Before you can do anything, think about what serving sizes you end up using any particular food in. For example, if you use only half a jar of spaghetti sauce at a time and then struggle to use it all up before it goes bad, pick a smaller pot when you make and can your own.
The same goes for jelly, for example. If you’re not a big jelly or jam eater, make small batches and can them in small little half-pint jars.
This allows you to make a variety of fruit preserves still and, more importantly, makes sure that jelly stays tasty to the last bite.
What I love about Ball Mason jars is that they come in a huge variety of sizes. On top of that, you can pick regular or wide-mouth jars.
You can order them straight from Amazon and deliver them to your front door. With free Prime shipping, this is one of the most cost-effective ways to get them.
Start your collection, and I’m sure you’ll use these jars daily for years.
Ball Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker
If you love your bread maker and rice cooker, you’ll love the Ball automatic jam and jelly maker. It’s one of those nifty little appliances that can save you time and effort.
If, on the other hand, you’re the kind of person that would rather knead bread by hand and uses the stovetop instead of a slow cooker to make soups and stews, this may not be the best choice for you.
What this handy little electric appliance does for you is heat, stir, and cook a batch of homemade jelly or jam on autopilot.
You add the ingredients, turn it on and return to the yummy spot, ready to pour into canning jars. From there, you can process the jars in a hot water canner, freeze the finished fruit preserves, or start eating them.
Making a good bit of homemade jelly and jam throughout the year will make a great addition to your kitchen. If you make one or two small batches per year, it is probably overkill.
This will come in handy for anyone who loves making homemade jelly but has a hard time standing at the stove stirring pots for long periods. It would make a great gift for an older family member or someone suffering from tendonitis or arthritis, for example.
While this is marketed as a jam and jelly maker, it is much more versatile than that. It’s an electric cooker with built-in stirring paddles when you break it down. When you look at it that way, it opens up all sorts of cooking possibilities.
Use it to make spaghetti sauce, small batches of soup, or any sauce that involves a lot of cooking and stirring. It’s great for tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, and the like. That opens up all sorts of cooking possibilities, making it a much more versatile and usable small kitchen appliance.
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What I love best about it is that it allows me to make small batches of jam and jelly throughout the year whenever there's extra fruit sitting on the counter.
No matter how busy you are, you can turn on this jelly maker and have it take care of the cooking and stirring for you—no excuse not to have fresh homemade jam on the breakfast table.
Presto Dehydro Electric Dehydrator
If you're short on space, dehydrating is a great way to preserve some of your favorite fruits, vegetables, and even meat. If you're a big fan of dried fruit, veggie chips, or jerky, getting an electric dehydrator to make your own can be a brilliant move.
Dried food is expensive, and you never quite know what's in it and it has been treated unless you make your own. It won't take you long to recoup your investment in a dehydrator.
Dried fruit is a great addition to your favorite cereal, oatmeal, or granola. It also makes for a yummy snack on its own or mixed into your homemade trail mix.
My biggest problem with store-bought dried fruit, aside from the high cost, is that you never know what the fruit has been treated with to ensure it lasts and looks pretty in its dried form.
Aside from that, you don't know how high quality the fruit was, to begin with, and what pesticides and the likes it was treated with before being dried. Making your own dried fruit to top your cereal gives you full control over the entire process.
The same goes for veggies. You can dehydrate just about any vegetable to make your own dried soup mixes. They are a great way to save space and make fixing dinner during the winter months easy. If you're more in the mood for healthy snacks, make your veggie chips.
Kale chips are always a favorite around here. They are much easier to make in an electric dehydrator than in an oven, where I've been known to burn a few batches. (Which is sad and stinks up the house).
And then there's meat. Yes, you can dry meat and make your very own jerky. If you've bought a bag of beef jerky at the store, you know how pricey it has become.
Why not make your own? Again, you control all the ingredients and can play with different flavors to create your jerky.
What I love about the Presto Dehydro is that it's a great intro-level dehydrator. It's very affordable, and because the dehydrating trays nestle into the machine, it doesn't take up a lot of space. It's the perfect model to start dehydrating.
If you enjoy the process, you can upgrade to larger, more expensive models down the road while still taking advantage of this model to do some of the dehydrating for you. Give it a try… you won't regret it.
Excalibur 9-Tray Economy Dehydrator
Most of us start with a fairly small, usually round dehydrator that holds just a couple of trays. It's a great start and the perfect way to try things out and see if dehydrating makes sense for you and your family. After a while, you may be ready to expand and dehydrate more food at once.
If you're feeding a large family, have lots of produce to dehydrate from the garden each summer and fall, or want to make larger batches of dried fruits, veggies, or homemade jerky, you'll be ready to upgrade to a larger model.
If that's the case for you, I recommend the Excalibur 9-Tray dehydrator. It's a very affordable electric dehydrator that gives you 15 square feet of drying space.
If that sounds like a lot of space, it's because it is. The good news is that the dehydrator doesn't take up all that much space because of the tightly spaced, vertical 9-tray system.
Dehydrating large amounts of food all at once has never been easier. Just load up the trays, set the temperature, and you're ready. The 7-inch fan and the design of this dehydrator work together to ensure even dehydration. There's no need to rotate trays or move the food around. Just set it and walk away. It doesn't get any simpler than that.
Each tray has easy-to-clean poly screen inserts to keep your food from sticking as it dehydrates. That makes for easier food removal and cleanup when you're done.
There's nothing worse than having a big mess to clean up or losing a large portion of your product to being stuck to the equipment. That's not going to happen here.
One thing you should be aware of before you buy is that this dehydrator makes a bit of noise. It's quieter than my dishwasher, but you can hear it when it's running.
If that bothers you, sit it in the garage or basement or even a spare room to dehydrate. It doesn't bother us enough to move it out of the kitchen, and usually, we run it overnight in the first place.
This great dehydrator allows you to dry a lot of food at once. Perfect for large batch processing of all your favorite fruits, vegetables, and meats for making jerky.
Non-Stick Dehydrator Sheets
Dehydrating is a great way to preserve fruits, vegetables, and even meats. It's also a wonderful way to make healthy snacks like veggie chips, living loaves of bread, raw food treats, etc. For most dehydrating, the included mesh trays for your dehydrator work just fine.
For example, if you're processing sugary fruits like peaches or bananas to make banana chips, things can get a little sticky. I mean that in a literal sense. These fruits can get stuck in the drying trays, making it hard to remove them when they are done.
The solution is non-stick dehydrator sheets that lay right on the mesh screen. Even the stickiest fruit peels right off. When you're done, wash the sheets with hot water and soap, allow them to dry completely (this is important), and store them until you're ready to use them again.
These individual sheets work well for most Excalibur dehydrator models. If you're using a different dehydrator, check on Amazon or with the manufacturer for non-stick sheets. You should be able to find them for just about any dehydrator out there.
To store the sheets, you can either stack them up and keep them on one of the trays when not in use or roll them up and stick them inside an empty paper towel roll. Either way, they are out of the way and safely stored until you're ready to use them again.
These non-stick dehydrator sheets also come in very handy when making fruit leathers. You can't make these on the mesh trays of your dehydrator. Don't even try.
They'll get stuck, and it's a huge mess you don't want to clean up. Instead, prepare your favorite fruit leather mix, line your trays with these non-stick dehydrating sheets, and evenly spread the mixture on the sheet.
Turn on your dehydrator and walk away. You'll have some delicious fruit leather when you return a few hours later. Kids love this as a healthy snack and a great alternative to gummies and candies.
These sheets are not essential for using your dehydrator, but it's a nice addition. It gives you more options and makes your dehydrator an even more versatile small kitchen appliance.
While they won't wear out anytime soon, it's nice to know that you can order more as needed without spending a fortune.
Freezer Meal Containers
Freezing is a great way to preserve food from the garden when you could get a deal at the local farmers market or the grocery store that was too good to pass up.
Often I end up freezing the raw produce or meat, but my favorite way to preserve things when it comes to the freezer is to cook and freeze entire meals. It makes dinner time much easier and even makes for quick and easy take-and-heat lunches.
The key to successful freezer cooking is having containers that will preserve your meals and make it easy to reheat them. That's where these freezer meal containers come in handy.
They are safe in the freezer, microwave, dishwasher, and oven. They are inexpensive and can be used a few times before disposing of them in the recycle bin.
According to the manufacturer, you're supposed to dispose of them after one use in the oven. I can safely use them a couple of times, but use your judgment.
The containers are large enough to hold a freezer meal for one person. That means I can make my favorite freezer meals, portion them out and stack them up in the freezer.
When I need a healthy, homemade lunch to take to work, I grab one container. If it's time for dinner, I pick as many containers as I'm feeding people.
This is perfect when your kids get older and aren't always home for dinner. As a bonus, this makes it easy when family members have different dietary needs or are simply in the mood for other food.
You can grab one container of chicken, green beans, and rice and another with chili. Defrost and heat them both simultaneously, and the custom-made dinner is made.
Since these containers are microwave safe, they are perfect for taking lunch with you to the office. Rinse them, and toss them in the dishwasher when you get home.
The clear lid allows you to see what's in it. That being said, I still recommend that you label your containers. I find masking tape across the top or even a piece of paper taped down works well. You can even include reheating instructions if you know you won't be there to reheat the food.
Since these portable freezer containers are so inexpensive, they are perfect for taking food to someone recovering from an illness or loss in the family.
Instead of sharing your best Pyrex dishes or making a big batch of a freezer casserole, you can take a few homemade, proportioned meals to them that will be appreciated. Perfect for new moms, too, while they recover from giving birth and caring for a newborn.
Glass Food Storage Containers
Freezer bags are fine for storing food in your freezer, but with plastic getting more and more controversial, I'm always looking for options that involve as little plastic as possible. While I've used canning jars in the freezer, they aren't always the best use of space.
I came across these glass food storage containers and have used several sets ever since. They are perfect for freezing and storing smaller amounts of fruits and veggies from the garden. They are perfect for blueberries, for example.
I pour them into the container (making sure they are scorched so they don't stick together). Since the lid is easy to open, I can grab a half cup of berries for my smoothie and then return the rest to the freezer. The rectangular containers make it easy to stack them in the freezer.
The glass is sturdy, high-quality glass that will keep your food safe. You can also take it from the freezer to the oven or the microwave.
They are even dishwasher safe, making for easy cleanup as well. If you do a lot of meal planning and find it helpful to make individual meals ahead of time, these containers will fit the bill perfectly.
I also find them invaluable for taking lunches to work. I can pre-make my meals for the week, throw leftovers from dinner in a container, store them in the fridge or freezer, and then take them to work with me.
The lids snap on securely, so there's no need to worry about spills and leaks. At work, the food can quickly be heated in the microwave. As I mentioned, the containers go straight to the dishwasher when I get home.
If you've been looking for a workable alternative to plastic containers, this is a great option. The lids are made from plastic, but it is BPA safe, and not much of it will come in contact with your food.
The seal around the top and the four snaps keep your food inside the container, even if you pack everything in a bag.
If you're eating and storing a lot of tomato products (leftover spaghetti or soup, for example), you know that tomatoes will stain plastic like crazy, and there's no way to get it all out with these glass containers. That's not an issue.
I hope you find these items helpful in your journey to preserving your own food.
- Water Bath Canner http://amzn.to/2aZfel3
- Ball Complete Book Of Home Canning http://amzn.to/2aLPX0U
- Presto Canning Kit http://amzn.to/2aSwEk9
- Mason Jars http://amzn.to/2aWf5x0
- Ball Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker http://amzn.to/2aGKJOc
- Presto Dehydro Electric Dehydrator http://amzn.to/2aKEGrO
- Excalibur Dehydrator http://amzn.to/2b3VxJO
- Dehydrator Sheets http://amzn.to/2aW7gtm
- Freezer Containers http://amzn.to/2bhAZ29
- Glass Food Storage http://amzn.to/2b6e48c