Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – New Use For An Old Canner

In an earlier post I noted that one of my water bath canners had rusted through on the bottom, ending it’s useful life processing jam and preserves. I also had a steam canner that was useless for canning (if you don’t know why you should not use a steam canner sign up for 7 Secrets of Canning Pros on the sidebar!). I could have thrown them both away, but the urban homesteader in me would rather find a new use for my worn out things. That’s why my old towels become washclothes, vegetable peels go in the compost pile, and old t-shirts are turned into quilt tops. Some might call me cheap, but I prefer to think of it as thrifty.

So to make a long story shorter, I recycled the canners into something useful. First I spray painted the steam canner. Then my husband drilled several holes in the bottom of each. For a while I used them as outside colendars, rinsing off new garden produce. But for the last month they have housed some tomato seedlings that were lagging behind and were too small to go in the garden.

This is working out well. The canners keep the soil nice and warm, giving the tomato plants a growing boost. They are currently decorating my deck, which will make it easy for me to pick the tomatoes when they are ripe – just walk out the door! It also means that I can move them into shelter and a warmer area this fall before they stop producing.

What to you have around the house that can be reused? Have you ever turned an old pot into a planter? Did you have good results?

by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at Find her professional food writing info at

August 3, 2012

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