Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Super Storage Bag Tip(s)

Part of the reason I continue to post simple storage tips is that I remember when I began to can, I had so many little questions that I didn't know who to ask. I may appear to be organized now, but as I learned new tips I figured out for me that if I didn't use these tips, I would never be able to find my canning utensils when it came time to can.
This is one of those things I wished someone had thought to share, so I could have simply read about 'how to" instead of having to figure it out.

I actually store my canning utensils in this storage bag I got for $1 at Target. I keep the weight, timer and canning booklet in the little pocket on the front. 

When I get my pressure canner out to use, I then hang the bag out of the way on a shelf close to my stove (below left). I actually have two sets of utensils in this one bag. It has come in very handy several times when I have dropped one of my utensils on the floor. I just reach inside and get out a second one that is clean. I am tying to find a good location in my new kitchen. This one on the right seems to be working.

Then when the items are clean again, I put the bag inside my canner when I am not using it. As you see I have helpers. They always show up when I am canning. 

 Since I have two canners, I have one bag of utensils in each canner.

How To Use The Canning Tools
Jar Lifter: Actually this seems pretty self explanatory. But I take nothing for granted when it comes to newbie canning. The jar lifts is sort of like a wide set of tongs, used to safely lift the pressurized jars out of the steaming hot water.

I need to mention that while I have been pleased with the Presto, Norpro and Ball products over the years, one of them have change the handles on the lifter and I don't like them. The new handles are two piece plastic (previously they one one piece) and if you drop them (who drops their utensils) the handle can break in two. The older lifters have one solid molded piece on the handle.

Now they do pop back together, but they just don't seem as stable as they do come apart on their own. I just ordered another set of canning utensils made by Farberware that look REALLY well made. I will review them when I get my hands on them.

Tongs: Tongs are pretty self-explanatory. I keep my canning ones separate from my kitchen ones. Here I used them to lift the rack I used to double stack out of the canner.

Funnel: I find the funnel to be very handy. the funnel allows you to fills the canning jars with far less mess.
Just this week I wasn't canning, but vacuum sealing dry items. I grabbed by funnel from my canning set because it is specifically designed to fit the opening of canning jars. The nice thing is it fits both regular and wide mouth jars.

Jar Wrench: This is the tool that I felt I didn't need, well until I actually needed to open a canning jar ring that was stuck on really tight. Since then I now use this nifty tool for any jar I have difficulty opening, especially when Mr. Perky isn't home. 

Bubble Popper (Magnetic Lid Lifter): 
With the changes in Ball procedures you may or may not still be warming your lids and rings in hot warm before you use them. One end is a magnetic lid lifter, you use it to lift the lids out of the hot water. 
The bubble popper is used by sliding to release trapped air bubbles from the jar. This ensures that your jars are filled properly.

Timer: O.k. I am sure you know how to use a timer. What I found though is I actually preferred ordering the 7 Function Canning Utensil Kit (listed below) because it includes a timer.

I currently have four complete sets of canning utensils. 


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