I enjoy home canning a variety of items, and I have been lucky enough to inherit all of the paraphernalia that seems to be required for this activity. I have lots of friends that would like to try canning but are intimidated by the seemingly endless array of equipment. If you are in this category, and have no elderly relatives willing to give you their canning stuff, there is a great solution: The Home Canning Discovery Kit by Ball.

The kit is meant to be used with your own stock pot, and comes complete with 3 pint jars, lids and rings, a basket, and a step-by-step recipe booklet. Add your own fresh ingredients, and it's everything you need to get started. I love this kit because it doesn't take up much space for storage and is perfect for small batches. Even though I have all of the full-sized equipment, I still use the Discovery Kit on a regular basis.

The kit is available from Walmart.com for about $10.50 and is common in both grocery and hardware stores. Last spring there was a coupon available, so keep your eyes open. I couldn't resist using my coupon at the end of the season last year when I found one of these kits on markdown.

You are probably asking why I wanted this kit that only processes 3 pint jars at a time when I have all the equipment to do regular-sized batches. I love jams and jellies–they are my favorite thing to can–but when I'm trying out a new recipe, I don't like to make a full canner-load to try it out. Especially since I have an extra large water bath canner that holds as many as 14 pint jars. As much as my family likes mango jam, 14 pints is a LOT of jam. The Discovery Kit is the perfect size for three mangos-worth of jam.

So the next time mangos or strawberries are on sale, and you are trying to think of a great way to preserve that fresh fruit flavor, bust out the Discovery Kit to make yourself homemade jam. It's so delicious you won't want to buy jam or jelly ever again.  With the Home Canning Discovery Kit by Ball you won't have to.

This has been a guest post by Penny from Aurora, CO
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