Which canning rack is best?

A pantry filled with the jewel tones of perfectly preserved fruits and vegetables is the hallmark of a skilled gardener and cook. If you find yourself with an abundance of fresh food, canning food is a simple process made easier by the correct tools.

The Prepworks by Progressive Reversible Stainless Steel Canning Rack is sturdy and versatile for canning everything from bushels of apples to a few pounds of tomatoes.

What to know before you buy a canning rack

Water bath vs. pressure canning

Not all canning racks will work with all types of canners.

Pressure canners use less water and require a different type of rack than a hot water canner. Typically, canning racks for pressure cookers are flat metal discs with holes of 0.25 to 0.5 inches in diameter, while hot water bath canning racks resemble a metal cage.

It’s important to note that the type of food you are canning will dictate the type of canner you need. You should preserve low-acid foods in the higher heat of a pressure canner to kill any potential bacteria adequately.

Size of canning vessel

The size of the pot in which you can matters. Before purchasing a canning rack, you’ll need to know the available diameter of your pot and whether or not the sides are straight or sloped. There’s no sense in purchasing a rack that will not fit in your pot.

Additionally, if you are planning on stacking two layers of jars, you’ll need to ensure that your vessel is deep enough to accommodate that. For water bath canning, you will need to allow at least 1 inch of boiling water over the top layer jars. 

Quantity of jars

Some people like to put up just a few pints of jams or jellies every year, while others stock the larder with glistening quart canning jars filled with every type of fruit and vegetable you can imagine. For best results, you’ll need to tailor the size of your canning rack to the amount of food you preserve every year. 

What to look for in a quality canning rack

Reversible

Reversible canning racks solve the problem of keeping different sizes of jars stable. One side typically accommodates quart jars, while the other is best suited for pint-and-a-half jars. 

Stackable 

If your canning rack is stackable, you’ll be able to preserve twice the amount of food in half the time. This saves time in a hot kitchen at the end of the summer. 

Stay-cool handles

Once the food is processed, you’ll need to get it out of the canning vessel. You could purchase a separate jar lifter, but the best canning racks come with stay-cool handles to make lifting jars easy. 

Easy to store

Look for a rack that can be folded flat and tucked away for easy storage. Even if your canning rack has feet, it should take up very little space in the cabinet. 

Durable

Some racks are lightweight aluminum that won’t rust but are easily bent and dented. Stainless steel is a better choice for durability. 

How much you can expect to spend on a canning rack

This is the affordable piece of equipment you didn’t know you needed for food preservation. Expect to spend $10-$15. 

Canning rack FAQ

How do you use a canning rack?

A. Check with the manufacturer to see which method they recommend.

In general, for water bath canning using a rack with handles, load your filled jars onto the rack and carefully lower them into the boiling water. If your rack does not have handles, place it in the bottom of the vessel before adding water.

In a pressure canner, place the rack in the bottom of the canner, load your jars and process as instructed by the manufacturer. 

Do you need a canning rack?

A. Water bath canning is an easy way to preserve a bounty of food for long-term storage. Many home cooks are reluctant to try this method because of concerns regarding bacteria and proper processing times. Following the USDA’s complete guide to canning helps, and so does a canning rack.

Not only does the rack hold glass jars up to allow water to circulate freely around them. It also prevents the jars from cracking as they rattle around in boiling water. It keeps them steady and stable for the entire processing time. 

In addition, a canning rack with handles makes it easier to lift the piping hot jars out of the boiling water. Some home cooks try to line the bottom of the pot with a towel to prevent the jars from clattering together. However, this does not solve the problem of retrieving them from the water when they’re done. 

What’s the best canning rack to buy?

Top canning rack

Prepworks by Progressive Reversible Stainless Steel Canning Rack

Prepworks by Progressive Reversible Stainless Steel Canning Rack 

What you need to know: This versatile rack allows you to process many jar sizes simultaneously easily. 

What you’ll love: It is durable 18/10 stainless steel and won’t rust. The rack is reversible, designed to hold quart jars on one side and a pint and half-pint jars on the other. Stack one rack on top of the other to double the jars processed at once. 

What you should consider: It requires at least a 16-quart pot.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top canning rack for the money

Norpro Small Canning Rack

Norpro Small Canning Rack 

What you need to know: Use this rack for small-batch or occasional canning.

What you’ll love: Its smaller, 8-inch diameter works best for small batches of preserves and jam. It features coated handles for easy removal when the processing time is up. 

What you should consider: It gets crowded fast as it only fits two quart-sized jars or four pint-sized jars.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Impresa Products Canning Rack for Pressure Canner

Impresa Products Canning Rack for Pressure Canner 

What you need to know: This is perfect for large-batch food preservation in a pressure canner.

What you’ll love: The perforated disk is stainless steel and stackable (this set includes two canning racks). Each rack holds eight pint-sized jars.

What you should consider: It is designed for pressure canners and not hot water canning methods. It also requires at least 11 inches of space in the bottom of the canner and will not work for smaller pressure canners. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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