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Back to Basics Home Canning Kit - 286
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- Home-canning kit provides 5 essential tools with stay-cool handles
- Jar lifter and magnetic lid lifter for removing jars and lids from boiling water
- Canning funnel directs ingredients into the jar quickly and cleanly
- Kitchen tongs; jar wrench effortlessly removes sticky lids
- Measures 8 by 6 by 12 inches; 1-year limited warranty
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All of the Back to Basics essential canning tools in one simple kit. Includes: Canning Funnel, Jar Wrench, Jar Lifter, Kitchen Tongs, and Magnetic Lid Lifter.
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I read up on the internet about what process was involved, what I needed, recipe basics, etc. I settled on this as a basic starter kit. Had everything I still needed, very inexpensive. I felt if canning turned out to be a waste of time, at least I wasn't going to be wasting a lot of money.
As it turns out, this kit wasn't a cheapo little kit. All of the accessories worked very well, were sturdy. I managed to make 54 pint sized jars of fig preserves before I quit with half the fruit still on the bush (yes, bush -- it's still a baby.) Everything held up very well. Will look for this brand when I expand my canning to include the inserts for the pots.
The jar lifter was the next piece that was invaluable as we loaded the jars into the water and then again to remove them to cool. The rubber grips the jars and makes the moving around of the boiling hot glass jars much easier and safer.
For a basic kit it was worth the small amount of money to help make canning easier.
If you do a lot of canning, I'd recommend looking for something better, but for light use, these serve their purpose well enough.
The funnel is just the right size for standard sized jars. The magnetic wand lifts the lids out of the pot an sets them nicely on the jars. The jar lifters not only make lifting and placing the jars easier (especially the filled ones), and I use the nice long tongs to work with jars that have not been filled. And yes, I have had to use the jar opener on stuck lids.
If you need a more complete set, or want to help a friend get into canning, Bernardin Canning Starter Kit - w/Canner includes everything you need, including the canner (water bath), four mason jars, pectin, and even a DVD and cookbook as well as everything included here.
Review edited 1/6/12:
I contacted the manufacturer about this and they replaced it free. I haven't had much chance to use it since then but the customer service was great.
The jar lifter is fantastic, and ultimately I think it alone is worth the price of admission -- not because it's worth it in and of itself, but because it's a total necessity, so I would have purchased it at any price that wouldn't break the bank.
The other pieces are either already part of a moderately well-equipped kitchen, are nice but not necessary, and/or are not all that well constructed.
I'd opted to return a relatively expensive set of plastic funnels when I purchased this set, but the included funnel here melted a bit under the heat of the boiling brine I poured over the pickles-to-be. Same for the plastic surrounding the magnet when I used it (quite effectively) to grab the jar lids out of a simmer sauce pan. The lid wrench I'm just not sure I see a use for, since jars aren't supposed to be super tight and they tend to loosen when cooled anyway (or am I misunderstanding what this is for?), and the tongs, well, who doesn't have tongs?
Anyway, in researching for this review, I've come to feel like something of an idiot, because the pieces are available separately and eligible for the free shipping promotion of your choice. Unless you don't already have a funnel, or don't mind the possibility of plastic in your canned food, I recommend saving five bucks and just getting these two pieces:
Back to Basics 284 Jar Lifter
Back to Basics 174 Magnetic Lid Lifter
If you need more than those two pieces, though, this set will do the job.