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1.4.1 Don't you need a lot of stuff?




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This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker ericnospam@getcomputing.com with numerous contributions by others.

1.4.1 Don't you need a lot of stuff?

If you cook, you probably already have most of the stuff that you need to
can (jar) high-acid foods. Basically, you need canning jars and 2-piece
lids (lids and rings), a large kettle or stock pot that you can boil water
in, several saucepans, measuring cups and spoons, light tongs (to pick up
the lids and rings), ladles, stirring spoons (stainless steel the best), an
accurate timer, clean towels, a cake rack, and canning tongs. As you get
more involved, other helpful tools are: canning funnel, clip-on candy
thermometer, lid lifter (a plastic rod with a magnet at the end of it),
boiling waterbath canner, preserving pan, and a pressure canner (not a
cooker). 2-piece jars can be found in the grocery, supermarket, and
hardware stores, while canners, canning tongs, jar lifters, and canning
funnels can be gotten at the local hardware store (or Walmart). Lots of
equipment can also be obtained at yard sales, check out the Specific
Equipment Question section for more information. What you really need is
a desire to can food, and a bit of a perfectionist streak. Carelessness,
disorganization, and inattention cause most problems.


* * * and a stove that can do the job:

From Robb (rd39462@earthlink.net)
Let's first say that there are probably as many preferences for gas or
electric as there are cooks who truly utilize their equipment.

That said, my own personal preference is ALL electric. My current
configuration is a glass top cooking surface containing two traditional
underglass coils and two quartz-halogen units. Newer glass top units are
far more responsive to rapid control changes than their predecessors. The
quartz-halogen units are virtually "instant-on/instant-off". All four
of my surface units are capable of bringing a stockpot of liquid to a boil
more quickly than the average home gas range, discounting the ultra-high
BTU output of commercial or semi-commercial units. I also like the
glass enclosed surface units because they contribute less heat to the air
in the kitchen, keep the bottoms of all cooking vessels as clean as
possible, and are infinitely easier to care for than the myriad parts of
any gas range, regardless of quality or cost. In short, it's a terrific
pleasure to cook and clean up after a meal. I will admit that complete
cooldown of the cooktop is somewhat longer than gas, but that factor
doesn't bother me. By the time we've eaten our meal, the cooktop is
ready for cleaning.

Electric ovens are frequently noted for having more accurate temperature
control with less fluctuation. Because they are sealed, they also
contribute far less heat to the kitchen area than their gas counterparts.
One advantage I particularly like is that food of any kind has less of a
tendency to dry out than it does in a gas oven. Many professional bakers
prefer electric convection ovens for the above features as well as the
temperature stability throughout the entire oven. I've read that there
are sometimes hot spots in the gas models. While I'm not at all fearful
of gas ovens, my preference for performance is decidedly for electric.
In conjunction with that, you might also consider the addition of a
warming oven (less space than two wall ovens, or could be mounted under
your cooktop), which I have found particularly helpful in maintaining
some completed dishes while continuing to cook those that require more
time.

If I had the room, one concession to gas I would certainly make is
including a down-draft gas grill. Nothing beats the flavor of flame
grilling.

 

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