pressure canning 101

We own and use a Presto brand 23quart Pressure Canner and we love it. GoodLife Jars, Dome Seal Lids and Bands are made for pressure canning.

Here is a basic rundown of how to use your Canner.

What types of food should be cooked in a pressure Canner?

General rule of thumb is foods are that not acid based need to be either Water Bathed for Pressure canned to kill any potential botulism spores.  There is much debate about what you can and can’t put in a Canner but good old Google and Canning groups are a great source of info if you are unsure.  The recipes we share are all tested by us

Low Acid Foods ~ have a ph. higher than 4.6 and include vegetables, meats, broths, soups and stocks, seafood, some tomato products and legumes such as chickpeas and beans.  Pressure Canning creates an environment that destroys anything by heating the food and maintaining the temperature for a specified time which can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on what the recipe calls for and what you are canning.  Remember Pressure Canners are not to be confused with Pressure Cookers, which are an entirely different machine and not for this purpose.

How to Pressure Can

Place your metal trivet in the bottom of the canner. 

Fill with water to approximately 30mm up the side of the jar or to the mark on the canner indicated (check your canner for this – we actually got a vivid and marked the inside of our canner for all future use to make it easy to see and fill)

Place your jars of prepared food in the canner and click the lid into place.

Heat the canner:  turn up the heat under the canner to high.  This will cause the water to boil and steam to build up inside the canner.

Vent the canner:  when the steam starts building up in the pressure canner, it will begin to come out of the vent on the lid.  This is called venting the canner.  Wait till you have a steady stream of steam and then time 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes you place your weight gauge on the vent and wait until the weight starts to ‘jiggle’ then start your timer from then for cooking (do not guess it).  A constant jiggle of your weight throughout the canning cooking process is required.  You may have to alter your flame or element to ensure it stays stable.

When your timer is up turn your element off and just let the canner cool down.  DO NOT take off the lid at this stage under any circumstances as the contents and steam inside are extremely hot and dangerous.

Leave it alone until there is no pressure in the canner, if possible and you are only doing one batch leave it for 6 hours.  There may or may not be some liquid overflow from your jars in the water (known as siphoning) it is nothing to worry about and can happen if you filled the jars too much and didn’t allow enough headspace.  The dome lids may have already started to ‘suck in’ at this point.  Use your Canning Tongs to very carefully grip and lift your jars out of the canner.  Place your hot jars on a wood board and leave them alone.  You should see them bubbling.  Once the jars are cooled down then check the seal dome lids to make sure they are sealed on the jars and remove the bands when cold.  Should you have the odd jar that for some reason didn’t seal then it is safest to put that to one side and either place in the fridge or eat it straight away.

The rest can be cleaned in hot soapy water to remove any residue or stickiness and then after writing on the date and contents of the jar they are good to store on your shelves.

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