by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
The well-known US company Ball, with its iconic preserving/canning jars, has now also, finally some would say, arrived in the UK. Not that Britain never had canning jars and such. We did, in the form of Kilner Jars but we have heard very little of it in recent years. To some extent home canning went out of the window with an all year round supply of fresh fruit and vegetables from all around the globe. The recent shortage of certain vegetables from Spain, where the weather did not play nicely, should, however, tell us something about being unable to reply on such supplies, regardless of some politicians saying that we do not need farmers in this country because we can import all the food we want and need from abroad.
Obviously, aside from Kilner in Britain there is/was also Mason in the USA with canning jars and other countries, such as Germany, do, or did, have their own brands and designs.
So, why do I say “preserving and canning made easy thanks to Ball” or maybe simple would have been even better still? This is because Ball has brought out a starter kit that really does make it easy, at least from what I have seen, and water bath canning does not, as often believed, require a special pot and other gadgets, such as a special thermometer, etc., etc. I have been able to obtain a sample of the starter kit and shall report back on how it works. Just need to get a big enough pot as I do not have one, but thanks to ALDI a nice stainless steel stockpot (Made in India) could be obtained for less that £20. Unfortunately that one I had to pay for.
Some people seem to believe that in order to successfully preserve their garden's harvest by canning they have to have all the equipment and ideally a pressure canner even. Nothing could be further from the truth. Water bath canning is older than the pressure cooker/canner method and has worked for generations. While some of the gadgets make life easier they are not a necessity.
The water bath canning method is probably the oldest version of canning and still as valid today as then. Pressure canning may speed up the process – sorry, I am not entirely sure about this – but that may just be about all. All you really need is a large pot, like a stock pot (see above), and the appropriate canning jars. To all intents and purposes that is about all. Anything else just makes life – and the canning process – easier.