Water Bath Canning

The water bath canning method should be used when canning high acid foods. It is easy to do once you learn the basics. Equipment for the canners are called water bath canners and hot water bath canners.

Water Bath Canning

Reference: USDA, Complete Guide to Home Canning, Guide 1, page 1-18


Water Bath Canner

The water bath canner or sometimes called a hot water bath canner is usually an aluminum or porcelain covered steel pot with straight sides and a fitted lid with a rack inside for holding canning jars. Most have a flat bottom however, a few have a curved bottom.

A curved bottom canner cannot be used on a flat top stove. The pot diameter should not exceed 4 inches beyond that of the burner diameter to insure proper heating.

The canners will come in a variety of sizes and may hold four or more quart canning jars with the average size holding seven quart canning jars. Of course, these may hold pint and half-pint canning jars as well.


Using the Water Bath Canner

For successful water bath canning use the following steps:

  1. Fill the water bath canner with clean water to a level that the water will be 1 to 2 inches above the canning jars.
  2. Preheat the water to 140°F (60°C) for raw-pack or 180°F (82°C) for hot-pack.
  3. You may begin preparing food while the water heats. Fill the canning jars and place lids on the jars.
  4. Many racks that come with canners can hook on the sides of the pots allowing you to lower all the canning jars into the water at the same time. You have the option to do this or may place the rack in the pot first followed by the jars one at a time. This is up to you. Remember to keep the jars upright when doing this because you do not want food material to cause the canning jars to fail to seal.
  5. Add more boiling water to cover the canning jars with 1 to 2 inches of water.
  6. Turn the heat to high, put the lid on the canner and when the water is boiling vigorously begin your timer.
  7. Keep the water level above the jars and add more water if needed. Should the boiling stop during this, start your timer again for the full time.
  8. Once the time has be reached then turn off the heat and wait five minutes before removing the jars from the water bath canner.
  9. Remove the jars and place them on a towel about one inch apart is OK. Do not disturb, retighten or otherwise move the jars for about twenty-four hours. This is important to allow the jars to cool and the seal to properly set.


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