What To Do If You Don't Own Canning Tongs

History tells us that in order to better feed his armies on the move, Napoleon offered a fortune to anyone who could develop a method to preserve food on a large scale, and from that, canning was invented (via Life and Health Network). More recently, celebrities like Brad Pitt have become such fans of canning that the actor flew to France to learn the art of jam-making from a renowned expert named Christine Ferber (per Daily Mail). Canning is a cherished tradition amongst families and farmers who typically use the process to make treats like pickles, relish, homemade fruit preserves, jellies, and apple sauce. The Organic Prepper reports that an interest in home gardening and preserving became so popular during the pandemic that there was a wide shortage of canning tools, which led to price gouging. Canning food is a step towards self-sufficiency, as you can do everything yourself — growing fresh fruits and vegetables, canning them, and storing them (according to Ready Store).

Canning is a process that can take some time to learn and requires certain specialized equipment to get the job done properly and safely. Canning tongs (aka jar lifters) are one of the essential tools needed, but instead of having to buy yet another kitchen gadget at the store, there is an easy trick to convert regular tongs into tongs ready for canning!

Grip with what you have

In the process of canning, tongs are used to safely pick up mason jars of all sizes out of a pot of boiling water. Because the jars are not only extremely hot but also very wet and slippery, they require a tool that can reliably grip them and get them out of whatever vessel is being used. Doing this with your hands is not recommended! 

Most kitchens contain a pair or two of regular tongs — commonly used for grilling and cooking — but they would be too slippery to get the job done. Fear not, says The Prairie Homestead, because you can modify the ones you have by finding 6-8 rubber bands and wrapping them securely around each of the ends of the tongs, thus providing enough grip to lift the jars out safely without scalding your fingers. This is a smart suggestion for beginners who might be hesitant to invest in special equipment before they are confident that canning is something they enjoy and will do in the future.

So don't be afraid to make use of the equipment you already own — simply improvise by reaching into your tool chest and modifying the everyday tongs already residing in your kitchen.