Most of the tools you will need can be found in the average kitchen. However, if you intend making large quantities, year after year, you may find it is worth investing in some new equipment. This can be used for all kinds of preserves. Before you start, make sure you have the following essentials.
Preserving pan- The most useful piece of equipment is a preserving pan. A heavy-based saucepan will do for small amounts of fruit, but a good-quality preserving pan will hold larger quantities and, once bought, will last a lifetime. Pans made of heavy stainless steel are best. Tin-lined copper, unchipped enamel and Monel-metal (an alloy of several metals) can be used, but not iron or zinc pans. Copper or brass pans are suitable for most jams and jellies, but these metals are affected by acids, so they cannot be used for pickles and chutneys, which are made with vinegar. The pan should have a heavy base to prevent the contents from burning, a wide top for effective evaporation, and it should be deep enough to stop the fruit boiling over.
Bowls and basins- You will need containers to hold the prepared fruit. Earthenware, enamel or plastic are all suitable.
Sieves and strainers- Nylon sieves are preferable to metal.
Measuring jug- Ideally, this is made of heatproof glass, but enamel and stainless steel jugs are also useful. Plastic jugs should be used only for cool and non-acid liquids. Look for a jug with fine gradations to allow for accurate measuring.