Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Squee! My birthday present!

Today is my 61st birthday. We spent it doing something very exciting: Bringing the car into an auto-repair center to have a cracked windshield replaced. Whee.

But on the way home, we stopped and picked up my birthday present, and I'm giddy with delight.

Let me back up and explain. For decades, I've used a trio of large pots for water-bath canning.

The two smaller pots (3-gal. and 4-gal.) were given to me by my mother a long, long time ago, at least 25 years ago. I have used these pots for every conceivable kitchen project under the sun, including water-bath canning.

I picked up the largest pot (it's not marked, but I'm guessing it holds 5 gallons) at a yard sale some time later. It's of cheaper construction and proved it by splitting a few years ago when I tried to pick it up when it was full. It kinda "buckled" in on itself.

These cracks are on both sides of the pot and have gotten deeper over time, to the point where I can no longer water-bath quarts because the water will seep out the cracks when I add enough to cover the jars.

The pots my mom gave me are in great shape, but they're juuuust a bit too small for effective water-bath canning. When I fill them with water an inch over the top of quart jars, the pots are so full that water tends to splash out once it achieves a rolling boil. Plus, one pot holds only five quart jars, the other holds four quart jars, making for longer canning sessions since I can only can nine quarts at a time.

So earlier this week while canning peaches and blueberries, I expressed my frustration to Don. "I've made an executive decision," I said. "I'm buying a proper water-bath canner." I showed him the splits in the largest pot, and why the smaller pots tend to splash during canning, and he agreed such a purchase was massively justified (and overdue).

A brief bit of online research showed many water-bath canners were sold as kits, something I most definitely didn't need since I already have all the other accouterments.

But coming through town today, we stopped at the local hardware store and found exactly what I wanted: two water-bath canners. They cost $29 each.

Each has its own rack.

And look – they hold seven quarts apiece! And they're plenty deep to properly immerse the jars during a rolling boil!

Honestly, I'm giddy. Thrilled to my toes. Like a kid at Christmas. I've been water-bath canning for over 33 years and never had the proper equipment. What took me so long to get these?

Ironically, after this week's canning frenzy, I don't have anything more to water-bath can this season. But I'll be all set for next year. Woot! What a birthday present!


  1. Happy Birthday. Those are a great gift, enjoy.

  2. Congratulations, and you're inspiring me to give canning a try once I move (in a month or so) to an area where berries and farmers' markets are widely available.

  3. So happy for you! Happy birthday!
    You should have done this long ago.
    I bought mine thru Lehmans about 15 years ago and am shocked at the current price! But must confess It was purchased as a prep and it's in the back of a cabinet and hard to get to. I've canned without it with pots like yours, which are breaking down like yours too. I was just thinking tonight before you posted this that I need to replace those pots. After this post, no. I have appropriate pots and pans for everyday cooking. The old large pots need to go, and future canning done in the canner. So thanks for the post! Saved me some $ !
    That was another thought this morning. That what is this and that being saved for? Now is when it was saved for!

  4. That's a truly wonderful birthday gift.
    My personal favorite was 23 years ago when we were in the midst of homeschooling five children and my loving husband bought me my very own copy machine! It was an expensive gift at the time but was more precious to me than diamonds. No more carting five children to the copy store. Best gift ever!

  5. I am hoping you enjoy your gift!!! Something to look out for though... I found the newer rack rusts very easily, and at one point I had little rust particles in my water. I replaced the rack, and I I now take them out of water immediately after finishing the bath and let them dry. Maybe I should have never left them in ... but I never had that problem with older water canner. Thank you for your website. I love reading your updates.

  6. They're beautiful! Just think of all the delicious food you'll preserve with them.

    I have my water bath canner going right now with the last of the peaches. Now, on to sorting and pressing the grapes. Later I'll spin out the honey that I harvested this morning.

    The feeling of harvesting and preserving food for your family is so rewarding. It's definitely worth the expense and the work!

  7. Happy Birthday Patrice. I love practical gifts too. When my husband and I got engaged and then married I told him I didn’t want any fancy, expensive rings, but he could use the money for a pole barn. That was 33 years ago and, yep, we are still married.

  8. I gardened for years and both pressure canned and water bath canned. I used a water bath canner just like those you got for your birthday to can peaches, pickles, and relish.

  9. that looks like a really good price. Was it an end of season sale?

  10. Happy Birthday! May you have many more to come.

    I use my 22 quart pressure canner for water bath canning. Doesn't take as much water to get the 1" above jars as the kind you purchased so it weighs less when full.

  11. I have never seen a pot split like that. Those are nice-looking waterbath canners.

  12. As a 'frugal' person, I often make do when getting the right tool wouldn't be that costly. I wasted time and energy using an unsuitable tool in the name of saving money. I didn't take into account the value of my time.