Keep Your Water Bath Canner Busy This Winter

Is your canner feeling lonely and unloved? Try these wintertime projects and keep it busy!

water bath canner

My trusty water bath canner is a kitchen fixture all summer and fall. But once the cold weather hits, it usually gets tucked away in the basement, lonely and out of the way. But who has room for lots of specialty pots? I don’t really, so it’s time to turn my canner into a multi-use container. Here are a few of my ideas:

1. Steamed Breads – Recently I used my canner to make some steamed Sourdough New England Brown Bread. It worked great, and was especially appreciated since my oven died. The new oven has arrived but can’t be installed until the electrician comes, blah blah. In the meantime, it’s more steamed bread experiments using my canner. I can’t wait to try this Steamed Harvest Bread recipe from King Arthur Flour.

2. Stew for the Masses – Do you have a large family? If so, let your canner do double duty as a stew pot. I make soup for 12 on a pretty regular schedule. That’s a lot of soup. There is no way for it all to fit in a Dutch oven, but a water bath canner works just fine.

3. Make Beer – My husband is the family beer maker extraordinaire. He used to have is own beer making pot, but somehow it disappeared. Luckily the water bath canner fills perfectly. Not into beer? The canner works great making your own root beer or ginger ale too.

4. Winter Canning – While there might not be as many canning projects during the winter, there are still some goodies that can be put up. I especially like to make cranberry orange relish or spiced apple rings this time of year. Or you could be like one of our readers and put up jars of fresh grapefruit, yummm. It’s also a good time to can lemon curd.

Of course, all these suggestions assume that your canner is clean and rust-free. Be sure to add 1 cup of white vinegar to the canner each time you process a batch, and to let the canner thoroughly dry before storing, and it will stay in good shape for years.

So, do you have any special winter canning projects? How do you keep your water bath canner from getting lonely?

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

February 26, 2015

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