Everyone should have a wide-mouth canning funnel. It is a bold proposition, I know. You don’t even can, probably. Certainly, I do not can. Moreover, I have no plans to can. I do not have a robust tomato crop to preserve, for one thing, and also I am nervous about hobbies that can give me botulism. (This is due to my own lack of vigilance; canning is great!)
Photo by Rachel Sugar.
And yet the funnel has, in the years since it has entered my kitchen, become one of the most-used pieces of equipment in the place. This is because a wide-mouthed canning funnel is the secret to efficiently storing leftovers.
I am a leftover fanatic. I am also a big fan of storing these leftovers in glass jars (peanut butter or pickle, depending on quantity). Glass jars are excellent containers, both because their contents are visible and because they are free. But – here is the problem – transferring the food from pot to jar is inevitably messy. For years, I imagined that losing a few chickpeas and creating a small puddle on the counter was simply the cost of being a virtuous, leftover-eating person of the world. It is not.
It is not, or at least it doesn’t have to be, because of the magic that is a $15-wide-mouth canning funnel. I am partial to this one, though it is more or less identical to every other stainless steel wide-mouth canning funnel online. Here is how you use it: Prepare your jar, stick in the funnel. That is all. In my post-funnel life, I have not spilled a single drop of soup. I have not lost a noodle. There have been no stir-fry mishaps, or errant tofu cubes. You can just scoop the stuff in willy-nilly – close your eyes, pour straight from the pot, jam it in there with your hands, there are no rules here! – and it all slides down into the jar, splash-free. I realise, writing this out, that it seems obvious – guiding the contents of one vessel into the smaller mouth of another vessel is literally what funnels do – and yet I have not actually seen anyone else employ one for this purpose. They are missing out.
An important note: While soups and stews are the obvious candidates for funnelling, you can actually funnel anything that will ultimately fit into the jar, so long as the funnel-mouth is wide enough. Funnel flour, or lentils. I just funnelled meatballs!
Do you need a wide-mouth canning funnel? I mean, no, probably not. I’m sure it is possible to live a completely happy and prosperous life wiping up minor spills. But there are so few things we can control about our lives; the trajectory of our soup should be one of them.