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A simple steam canner

Stretch your food budget with this easy-to-use steam canner.

We're all looking for ways to stretch our dollars these days. I don't know about your house, but a huge proportion of our budget goes to feeding our family of six. We buy wisely, shop sales, and use coupons, but I'm still always on the lookout for even more tips and tricks to keep my pantry well-stocked without emptying my wallet.

Mmmm....preserves. Amazon

The Back to Basics 400A Steam Canner looks like it might make a nice addition to a budget-conscious kitchen. This $40 appliance makes the work of canning easier and faster, letting you preserve high-acid fruits and veggies like apples, pears, and tomatoes. It uses less water than a traditional water bath canner, which reduces preheating and reboiling times significantly. Can you do the same thing with a pot of water on the stove? Sure, but it'll take longer and use more water.

One reviewer noted that she was able to can 14 jars of salsa in half an hour--a quarter of the time it would have taken using the old pot of boiling water method. That's a real difference--and it might be just the difference you needed to try canning in the first place.

The canner is easy enough for novice users, but it does the job well enough to impress seasoned pros. If you have a fruit tree in your yard or a knack for finding 47 pounds of fresh fruit for next to nothing, this may be the canner you need to keep your stash ready-to-eat.