Planning to preserve? Now is the time to gather your supplies.

Just a little tip if you’re thinking of pickling anything this summer be it cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, eggs… you name it… NOW is the time to purchase your canning herbs and spices for pickling supplies whether it is the canning herbs and spices you’ll use or canning lids to seal the jars.

Bell Canning Jars filled with  homegrown Jalapeños made into a tasty Jelly
Homegrown jalapeños can be made into a tasty jelly that goes great on crackers with cream cheese. Yum! You can find the recipe that we like to use here!
You can find glass canning jars in your local grocery store or hardware stores. I always think buying local is the way to go because then you support your local economy where taxes go back into your own city and jobs are provided for local residents. But if you find that you need to purchase online, these wide-mouth 16 oz Mason Jars come 12 to a pack $21.99 ($1.83 each jar with free shipping as of 3/6/22.
Pickle slices in a Ball Canning Jar
Homemade Pickled Cucumbers are the best!
This is what I like to use. It stores on my pantry shelf and also makes a generous gift-giving size.
2 (12 count) packs of Ball Canning Wide Mouth Jars 16 oz $47.40 ($1.96 each jar) Price included free shipping as of 3/6/22.
Don’t forget to purchase your wide-mouth canning jar lids as well. Never re-use the same lid twice otherwise you’ll risk an improper seal and introduction of harmful bacteria.

If you’re going to do a lot of canning, I have found this common canning pickles spices option to have the best price per ounce when compared to purchasing dry canning spices / seasonings in the grocery store or elsewhere. (If you find a better deal, please let me know in the comments below so we can all be helped as inflation continues to rise.) Another good resource sometimes is a Mexican Supermarket if you have one nearby. You can often find dried seasonings for sell for less at these wonderful Mexican grocery stores.

Buying bulk is the way to go, so you won’t run out of what you need. Remember, you can store any extra seasonings in an air-tight glass jar or vacuum-sealed container and place in the freezer to extend the life of your seasonings, even to the next growing season.

Gel Pickling Spice Bulk Canning Seasoning $24.99  ($0.39 / ounce) as of 3/6/22

Don’t forget to grab pectin as well. You can purchase by the box or as a ready-to-go liquid (I prefer the later) that can be used to make jams and homemade jelly recipes.

I have found that this ready-to-go Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin makes pretty much fail-proof jelly. Make sure you follow directions on proper temp and you will be sure to have success every time. This is sold each box as a two-pack and buy buying 4 packages you can do 8 batches of jelly. $26.47  ($1.10 / Fl Oz)  as of 3/2/22

And don’t forget that you will need oxygen absorbers for any items where you simply dehydrate and store in a glass jar! Those will be needed for any type of preservation whether you are putting into vacuum packed bags or storing dry goods in a glass Mason jar in the pantry.

Oxygen Absorber for dried dehydrated herbs
Oxygen Absorbers are essential for long-term dry or freezer storage.
I have found that if I slice freshly cured red onions (or you can also buy from the store) and place them in my dehydrator at 110ºF for 24 hours and then immediately place them in a glass Ball Jar or Mason Jar along with an oxygen absorber, they stay fresh for 1-2 years in my pantry. When I want to use some, I simply put a small handful of dehydrated onion bits into my Kitchen Aid duo-Coffee and Spice Grinder and then keep in my spice cabinet for cooking. The flavor is SO AMAZING and the preferred choice over store-bought already ground onion seasoning.
I often get asked what I use for a dehydrator. I have used much smaller counter-top models than this one, but we purchased our Cabela’s Dehydrator about 5 years ago and we have been so pleased with it’s durability and performance that I don’t hesitate to recommend it to those who want to invest in a good dehydrator. It has more than paid for itself over time and I like the adjustable rack system and the dial that I can easily set for a 24-hour run cycle. A great time to get one is when you get your tax return!
Kitchen Aid Combo Coffee Grinder and Spice and Herb Grinder
I love to use homegrown organically grown herbs for all my recipes. I’ve found the flavors are so improved over anything store bough and so much cheaper! Just use the palms of your hands to crush before adding to dishes or I also like to use my Kitchen Aid Coffee and Seasoning Blender. It’s best to leave your herbs in leaf form and wait to crush them until you’re ready to use them. When you break the leaves or crush them, it releases the flavonoids and beneficial antioxidants stored in the leaves. Not to mention, as inflation continues to rise, growing your own herbs is the way to go for great-tasting dishes!

If you’re wanting to learn more about canning, there are some great resources that you can utilize. A good place to start is your local extension office. Every state has an extension program through the Universities and have Web sites. You can call your local extension office with any food preservation question. In addition, they can offer water and well-water testing, radon testing, and even testing your dial gauge pressure canner for accuracy to make sure your canner is safe ahead of canning season. This can especially be helpful with older pressure canners.

The following preservation information resources were established with funding from the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Here are a few quick links to information you can find if you want to deep dive on learning more:

Canning supply kit for anyone just starting out with canning! $32.99 for everything pictured as of 3/6/22.

There’s so much more that could be said about canning and food preservation, but I’ll stop there for now as those are the essentials that come to mind. The key thing is that if you’re growing your own food, get your canning and preserving supplies now before the season starts as dry canning seasonings and spices, canning jars, canning lids, and such sell out when harvests are on!

Happy growing (and planning!)


watering can
Erin Castillo
Erin Castillo

Erin is passionate about helping others learn how to grow food in order to lead healthier and more self-sufficient lives using organic growing methods, hydroponics, aeroponics and understanding how to improve soils for nutritious food.

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