Types of Boiling Water Bath Canners

Boiling water bath canners, or hot water bath canners (HWB) are large pots that you process your high acid preserves in. By placing hot, prepared (filled) jars into the canner, covering with 1-2 inches (3-5cm) of water, bringing to a boil and then starting your timer for the length stated in the recipe. For example, jams are processed for 10 minutes in a HWB to seal.
There are several HWB canners available, from lightweight aluminium stock pots, to enamel/porcelain-coated steel, to stainless steel pans. They have fitted lids and often come with removeable metal racks to prevent the jars from bouncing on the base of the pot. New to food preserving? You can use a regular, big stock pot for HWB canning, and use a round cake rack or a clean teatowel instead of the metal rack. Or use your pressure canner - just leave the lid open a little bit at the top and don't lock the lid down, treat your PC as a big pot instead.
You can buy water bath canners new or secondhand, online from Amazon, or at your local hardware store or kitchen supply store. And they vary in price, according to their size and what they are made from.
The most important thing to consider when selecting a boiling water bath canner is the size you would like. Are you going to do small batches of jams, in small jars? Then buy a small-sized HWB. Are you going to use tall or wide jars? Then buy a larger HWB. A larger HWB is also handy to double stack (with a second rack in between layers) small jam jars for example.  You do need to make sure your HWB is tall enough so the jars are covered by the recommended 1-2 inches of boiling water above, during processing. I usually allow 3-4 inches above the jar height, to allow enough room for the bubbles  during processing.
Also look at the base of your water bath canner:
DIAMETER: When the canner is on an electric stove top, it must be 2 inches (5cm) or less over the edge of the element ie. an electric stove top element is 10 inches in diameter, so the canner must be 14 inches in diameter or less.
FLAT BASE HWB: Ideal for smooth/flat top ranges, electric burners, gas cook top.
RIDGED BASE HWB: Ideal for gas cook top.
Have fun hot water bath canning!

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