Pressure canning (part1)

Pressure Canning!!

While I don’t really recommend Walmart, because they are the anti-Christ of the shop local movement… pressure canners can be *expensive*!  Mine was over $200.  And then you’re looking at replacing the gasket at least once a year, more if you do a lot of canning.

Of course mine needs no gaskets, but I’m married to an awesome man.

(This is mine!  “An All-American 921 21 1/2 quart pressure cooker/canner. This is the cream of the crop, top of the line pressure canner, people! In this canner, you can process 19 pint jars or 7 quart sized jars at one time. Imagine the possibilities!

This pressure canner:

  • is made in America!  Not Canada, but better than China.
  • has no plastic or rubber gaskets
  • has 400+ positive reviews on Amazon!

You will want this type of pressure canner for processing anything that does not have high acidity. Want to can beans? Peas? Carrots? Meats? Broth? Ghee?  You’ll need this beautiful pressure canner!”)

Pressure canning seems to scare a lot of people, even my mom is worried that I’ll blow up the kitchen.  She’s torn between her need to hover and make sure I’m safe, and her desire to run and hide.  She is, in this case only, completely wrong.

Pressure canners are safe, simple and extremely useful.  Canned meats and stews are precooked, shelf stable, and ready to eat or use in a fast meal.  Just be sure to follow instructions, not “wing it”.

And get a pressure CANNER, not a pressure COOKER.  The cookers just are not big enough to safely can in.

General instructions:

Put clean jars and lids in a big pot and bring to a boil.  Boil 5 minutes, turn off heat, but leave on burner.

Fish out the jars and lids with appropriate tools and carefully fill with *whatever low acid food you like, within guidelines* to 1/2 inch of the rim.  Clean the rim with a damp cloth, and put he lids on, tightening to fingertip tight.  DO NOT overtighten, jars will break in the canner.  Trust me, it’s a waste of food and effort, and a real mess to clean up.

Place the jars carefully on the rack inside the canner (According to the canners instructions, different canners hold different numbers and sizes of jars).  Fill with water to where THAT canners instructions say.  My current canner wants 3-4 inches of water with the jars in.  My last canner wanted 2-3 inches without the jars.  Check your instructions, running out of water will wreck your jars and deform the bottom of the canner.  (don’t ask how I know this)  I add a glub of white vinegar to prevent hard water crusting on my jars.

Bring to a boil and watch for steam to escape the ‘blow-hole’, it should be venting strongly.  Some instructions say to let it vent for 15 minutes, some say 10 minutes.  Do what you read in (yup) the instructions for that canner!

Here’s where I deviate from the canner’s paperwork. They say to put the weight on at 10 lbs pressure, I always use 15 lbs.  This is why.

We have a friend who is a microbiologist, specializing in germs.  He has talked about superbugs, MRSA,  and other Stephen King-type germs.  I believe that all of the anti-bacterial crap people use in their homes is growing superbug versions of the usual germs we have just laying around in the home.  It certainly has created antibiotic resistant bacteria in hospitals.  10lbs pressure is 240F, enough to kill everything including botulism.  So it’s probably safe enough.  15lbs pressure is 255F, so I am guaranteed that it’s hot enough, even for superbug versions.

TIMING!  Can things like stew or soup for the longest time needed for any ingredient.  ie: a beef stew is timed for the meat, not the veggies, because that is the longest time.  Time charts can be found here: Charts

At the end of the timing, turn off the burner.  DO NOT remove the weight.  The sudden change in pressure will explode your jars.  Wait until the pressure gauge reads zero, then remove the weight, no steam should jet out.  If it does, immediately put the weight back on and wait longer for it to cool.

Take off the lid and carefully remove the jars.  Put them on a towel covered counter to finish cooling.  They may still be boiling in the jars, which is kinda cool.  The lids should seal with a loud “pock” noise.  Remove the rings, the lids should be tightly vacuum sealed to the jars.  Let cool, wipe, and label.  Store somewhere dark and cool.

Recipes in later postings, check my pages.


One thought on “Pressure canning (part1)

  1. I am in the “scared” camp too but so want to tap into the possibilities of pressure canning. Your post is filling me with confidence….. will have to research the canner that you mentioned and work up the nerve. yes I CAN and your post is moving me along the path…. M

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