Preserving food was the norm in the early days through various techniques such as drying, smoking, fermentation, and packing in fat. In 1795, Napoleon Bonaparte offered a cash prize for anyone who could find a better, safe, and reliable food preservation method for his traveling army.
It was about 15 years later when French cook Nicholas Appert the method of heat-processing food in glass jars with wire and sealing with wax. In 1810, Englishman Peter Durand introduced what is considered as the first true “canning” method by sealing food in tin cans.
By the 1850s, home canning was a popular method in the U.S. when John L. Mason introduced the first reusable jar with a screw-on lid. In 1912, the first commercial canning establishment in the U.S. was founded by Thomas Kensett. The next canning breakthrough was in 1915 when Alexander H. Kerr developed the two-part canning lid.
Although the practice of home canning almost disappeared since the industrialization of food production, it’s slowly making a comeback in many American homes. It may seem like an intimidating process, but all that’s need is the right tools for home canning.
Table of Contents
1. Stainless Steel Canning Racks
Stainless steel canning racks are going to be what you will likely use to start canning. If you go to buy what you need for canning out at a retail store, then the most prevalent types of racks are made out of stainless steel. There are canning racks that are made out of other materials, but these types are simply the most common that you will encounter. The reason that these are so frequently used is that they are durable and work very well.
When you are canning food for the purpose of preservation, you essentially just need something to elevate your jars above boiling water. There are many different types of things that can work to pull this off. Stainless steel racks are specifically designed just for this purpose. They are properly sized so that you will be able to can everything as effectively as possible.
If you buy a nice stainless steel canning rack, then there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to use it for many years. These racks are rugged enough to be used time and time again. You won’t have to worry about the durable stainless steel material breaking down and it is always going to be reliable for you. If you are going to buy one canning rack and stick with it, then a stainless steel canning rack is the way to go.
These stainless steel canning racks are available in several different sizes as well. You will be able to find smaller ones if you are using a smaller canning pot. Those who like to can large jars or many smaller jars at once may be interested in picking up one of the larger racks. Whatever your canning rack needs are, you will be able to find a good option without having to do too much digging.
The canning rack being shown here is a perfect example of an affordable stainless steel canning rack. It is 12” in diameter and is going to work perfectly for jars that are at least one pint. If you want a good canning rack for larger items, then this is going to be very simple for you to use. It doesn’t cost too much money, so you’ll be able to easily fit this into your budget as well.
2. Aluminum Canning Racks
Aluminum is also a common material that is used to make canning racks. You are probably used to seeing many aluminum products on the market. Aluminum is often the most common type of metal used for many different things. It stands beside stainless steel as a staple of the industry, helping companies to forge durable and reliable products for mass consumption.
These types of canning racks can provide you with the same type of experience that their stainless steel cousins can. Aluminum is also a rather durable metal and it will work nicely to provide you with a good canning rack. You’ll be able to use it for a very long period of time without having to replace it. It should be a reliable tool for your canning adventures and you’ll always be able to make use of it.
If you want to find an affordable canning rack that is going to stand the test of time, then aluminum is a material that you should consider. These types of canning racks will usually be very affordable. You will be able to purchase one without having to pay out too much money at all. They will still provide you with the level of durability that you are looking for, but they will be priced fairly low.
The aluminum canning rack that is being used as an example here is very reasonably priced. You’ll be able to purchase this one at a low cost and will be able to make use of it right away. It is a very solid canning rack that should work well when you want to can smaller jars. It is made to fit into specific sizes of canners.
Specifically, this aluminum canning rack will fit into 2.5-quart and 4-quart canners. If you own a canner of this size, then this will be an excellent purchase for you. This canning rack is a bit of a no-frills experience, so it doesn’t have any extra features. Even so, it is going to work admirably and the price is right.
Keep in mind that you will be able to find more robust aluminum canning racks on the market as well. If you require something that has more features or is capable of working in a different pot or pressure cooker, then you will be able to find what you need. These canning racks are going to work well for you and you’ll find an aluminum one that can work with just about any setup. Take the time to peruse all of the available aluminum options to see which will work best for your needs.
3. Plastic Canning Racks
Plastic canning racks are actually far less common than either stainless steel or aluminum ones. They aren’t exactly rare, but people just seem to generally gravitate towards the metal canning racks. The metal racks do have a number of advantages over the plastic options. Metal is a much more durable material than plastic and is going to stand up better to regular use.
That doesn’t mean that plastic canning racks cannot be worthwhile, though. If you have a plastic canning rack, then you will be able to use it to its full potential. It can work just as well as a stainless steel canning rack in many ways. It just might not last you for quite as many years as a metal canning rack traditionally would.
Some people even find that plastic canning racks clean up nicer than metal canning racks. This isn’t necessarily the case, but everyone can have different experiences. Many of the plastic canning racks that you can purchase are completely dishwasher safe, so they will be convenient for you to use. Just make sure that you can wash them in the dishwasher before proceeding. Any canning rack is designed to withstand boiling hot water though, so everything should be fine.
The plastic canning rack that is being shown here has a rather interesting design. Most canning racks will have handles of some sort for your convenience. You need to be able to pull your jars out of the water bath, of course. This plastic canning rack actually winds up looking very much like a basket that you might use for some other purpose.
It will work very nicely if you are trying to can multiple jars at once. It can hold three quarts, four half pints, or four one-pint canning jars. The plastic canning rack is eight and three-fourths inches in diameter, so it is a good general size for your needs. If you want a convenient canning rack option, then this is going to work quite nicely.
4. Silicone Canning Rack
Silicone canning racks may not be the first thing that you think about when you’re looking into canning rack materials. It’s true that they aren’t as prevalent as the metal canning racks or even plastic. Regardless, you’ll be able to find silicone canning racks that work excellently. They may not be the ideal canning rack material when compared to something such as stainless steel, but they can still work well.
There are actually a few reasons that certain people prefer these racks over stainless steel cooking racks. It is no secret that these canning racks can also double as cooking racks for pressure cookers, in many cases. You may also notice that your stainless steel rack can get gunked up with food and will get rather dirty. You can clean things up, but this might wind up taking more time than you would like.
If you own a silicone canning rack, then you will be able to keep things very clean. You see, this type of canning rack is completely nonstick and it makes things very easy to clean off. You won’t have to feel concerned about anything getting nasty because you will be able to wipe off the rack with ease. This canning rack is even going to be dishwasher safe, so you can simply put it in your dishwasher and it will be ready for next time.
Enjoying an easy canning rack experience is going to be ideal for many people. The less cumbersome a canning rack is to use, the more fun you will have during the process. If the act of cleaning everything up is less of a burden, then it will allow you to focus more on enjoying the canning. It’s a good situation and a solid reason to consider buying a silicone canning rack.
This particular silicone canning rack is pretty heavy duty overall. It is capable of holding up to 30-pounds in weight, which is going to be more than enough for your purposes. It should work great for a six-quart pressure cooker. It is a bit more commonly used for cooking food than for canning, but it is going to work well for canning purposes.
The price of this rack is really reasonable too, making it an easy recommendation. When you combine all of the positive factors with the reasonable price, it makes it a great purchase. It may not have the overall longevity of a stainless steel canning rack, but it will be very simple to clean. Weigh your options and decide what material is going to appeal to you the most.
5. Nylon Canning Rack
Nylon is another material that isn’t instantly going to come to mind when you are thinking of canning racks. Even so, this type of canning rack is going to work nicely if you need something reliable. Much like the silicon canning rack mentioned above, this type of canning rack should be easy to clean up. If you want to own a canning rack that is very simple to use, then this is going to fit the bill.
Racks made out of nylon can actually be a bit more durable than you may realize. These types of racks will be able to be used for many years, so long as you keep them clean and take care of them properly. They will be able to withstand the high temperatures of the cooking pots brilliantly. You won’t have to worry about them melting or anything like that.
Also, modern nylon canning racks are always going to be completely BPA free. They are very safe to use and you won’t have to worry about them rusting over time. It winds up being a very practical option for those who want canning to be a simple experience. You won’t need to stress about anything if you are using your nylon canning rack to its full potential.
This nylon canning rack here is meant to be used with a large stock pot. You can place the canning rack inside and it will keep your jars elevated away from direct heat just like you want. It is capable of holding four-quart jars or seven-point jars at once, making it a very convenient tool. The green color of this canning rack is pretty as well, so you’ll enjoy having this one in your kitchen.
The price of this canning rack is fairly good, too. It isn’t quite as affordable as some of the other canning racks on the market, but it falls within reasonable parameters. This type of nylon can resist high temperatures and work as a fantastic canning rack for you. You can’t go wrong with this type of canning rack, so don’t hesitate to give it a shot if you are in need.
6. Canner with Canning Rack
For those who are just starting out with canning, it may be beneficial to go ahead and purchase everything that you need at once. A canning rack isn’t going to do you much good if you don’t have some type of canner to use alongside it. For this reason, many people simply decide to buy canners that come with canning racks included. This can be the easiest way to ensure that you have the necessary tools to get started with canning.
If you want to can items properly, then you want to have a complete setup. This canner being shown here is going to make your canning experience turn out wonderfully. It is the perfect size for making a water bath that will allow you to can things. You’ll be able to use this canner to can all sorts of tasty foods and it should be a fun process learning how to use it.
It isn’t going to be complicated to figure out how to use a canner. You’ll be able to get the gist of how things work before too long at all. With the included canning rack, you will be able to keep your jars away from the direct heat. This allows you to prevent the jars from breaking so that you can avoid accidents and annoying messes.
The type of canning rack that is being included here is a stainless steel one. The canner itself is actually made out of stainless steel as well. It can be used for multiple purposes and will come in hand for making large meals. This isn’t something that can only be used for canning, so you’ll be able to get a lot of use out of this purchase.
Also, this canner allows you to make use of either the water bath method or the steam method for canning. Which method is going to work best for you will largely come down to your personal preference. If you are new to canning, then it might be best to try out both ways to see what you like doing. It will be a good time and you’ll know that you have the right tools to get the canning done right.
7. Canning Lid Rack
A canning lid rack is going to be an important part of the canning process. If you don’t know much about canning yet, then you may not entirely understand what this rack is going to be for. To put it simply, a canning lid rack allows you to sterilize the lids that you are going to be using on your jars. You need them to be safe and sterilized so that you can ensure the canning goes perfectly.
Using this canning lid rack, you will be able to fit many lids at once. The lid rack being shown here can fit up to 12 canning lids and it can fit lids that have wide mouths as well. This is an easy solution to sterilizing your canning jar lids while staying safe. You can keep your hands away from the boiling hot water as long as you have a convenient canning lid rack to rely on.
The water is going to be able to circulate around the lids completely when you use this method. This allows you to ensure that every part of your canning lids is sterilized before you use them. Making sure to do things properly is important, so buying one of these canning lid racks is highly recommended. It is going to keep you from injuring yourself while trying to sterilize the lids and it will be generally easy to use.
The price of a canning lid rack may seem a bit high to some people. These canning lid racks can often cost just as much, or more, than an actual canning rack. You do need one of these though, so it is going to be worth your time. If you want to get serious about doing your canning right, then you should take the time to buy one of these canning lid racks.
8. DIY Canning Rack
There are actually a lot of people who are into canning that don’t buy any retail products whatsoever. All of the above products are excellent at what they do and they will make your canning experience nicer. It would be disingenuous to say that you absolutely need to buy a canning rack at a retail store, though. It is possible to make your own canning rack out of materials that you have in your kitchen.
The idea behind canning racks is that you are going to be keeping your canning jars away from direct heat. The racks hold onto the jars and keep everything safe while you are preserving what is inside of them. It’s a simple idea that most people understand very quickly. You should also understand that just about anything that is durable and sturdy enough will be able to act as a canning rack.
Some people have used items such as saw blades and old pot lids as canning rack alternatives. You can craft your own canning rack out of items that you have at home as long as you are willing to put forth the effort. You may need to make some modifications and you’ll need the DIY canning rack to fit in your pot, but it is certainly possible. This is something that you will want to consider when you don’t want to have to go to the store to purchase what you need.
There are some negatives that are associated with going this route. Of course, using your own DIY canning rack will be inexpensive, but it might not work quite as well as the options mentioned above. It also may not last for very long, so you will need to find another solution the next time you have to can something. This partially depends on how effective your DIY canning solution is, but it will generally be preferable to buy a retail product.
If you need to think of a DIY solution, then don’t be afraid to be inventive. Items that are made out of stainless steel and aluminum can work excellently as makeshift canning racks. They just have to be the right size to fit inside of your cooking pot or pressure cooker. You may want to consider buying a real canning rack for your convenience if you want to can things regularly, though.