Pressure canners are the answers to home canning needs. They made canning possible right in the comfort of home. Over the years, many types, styles, and designs of pressure canner were invented. Modern pressure canners have removable racks, a vent pipe, safety dial, automatic vent lock, and a safety fuse. Some people are hesitant to use a pressure canner because of its complex parts. The truth is using a pressure canner is pretty easy and simple. Just follow the user’s manual and you will be able to use the pressure canner safely and efficiently.
Safety tips when using pressure canner
+ Make sure you buy a high-quality pressure canner. Buying a substandard pressure canner because it is cheaper does not guarantee safety. In fact, it makes you susceptible to canning errors and accidents.
+ If there is something wrong with the safety valve, do not use the canner unless you have the safety valve replaced.
+ Strictly follow the user’s instruction.
+ Use only high-quality jars (no cracks/no nicks on the rim).
+ Always make it a habit to check the gasket under the lid and watch out for cracks and other problems.
+ See to it that the jars are sealed properly. Remove the band and pick the jar up by the lid.
+ Cool the canner first before opening it. You can release the pressure safely, run cool water over the lid, or allow it to cool naturally.
+ Pressure canner should be vented for about 10 minutes before it is pressurized. The proper way of venting a canner is to leave the vent pipe open after filling the canner and lock the lid. Heat the canner until the water boils and produces steam. The steam will then escape through the open vent pipe. The moment you see the steam, you should set the timer for 10 minutes. After that, start the pressurizing method by placing the weighted gauge over the vent pipe.
+ Make it a habit to regularly check the dial gauge for accuracy. You should replace an inaccurate dial gauge.
Step by step to use pressure canner
For successful pressure canning, you should follow these steps:
#1. Clean the pressure canner thoroughly. Clean the lid gasket and other parts carefully following the direction of the manufacturer. Check the vent pipe and see to it that there is no trapped material or mineral deposit in it.
#2. Position the canner on the burner evenly making sure that the center of the canner is over the burner. If the burner puts too much heat, there is a high tendency that your canner will be damaged. Pressure canner manufacturer pressure canner manufacturers provide information as to what type of burner to use.
#3. Place the rack and hot water into the canner. Put enough water, usually 2 to 3 inches above the canner. If the pressure canning process takes more time, then you need to add more water. Basically, the amount of water to be added depends on the type of food. Some foods require more water to be added to the canner. Place the jar on the rack in the canner using a jar lifter. Make sure that the ring bands and lids are fitted perfectly.
#4. Regulate the heat setting into the highest possible position. Allow the water to boil until you see a steam flows freely from the open vent pipe. Let the steam continuously flow for 10 minutes. After the venting process, you should put the weighted gauge on the vent pipe. If you are using the old pressure canner model, all you need to do is to close the petcock. After a few minutes, the canner will start to pressurize. Once the recommended pressure level is reached as indicated by the dial gauge, you should start the timing process. If your pressure canner does not have a dial gauge, you will know if the recommended pressure level is reached once the weighted gauge starts to rock or jiggle.
#5. Regulate the heat under the canner to maintain the desired pressure. Loss of pressure could lead to under processing, which makes the food unsafe for consumption. If the pressure goes below the ideal temperature, you should bring the canner back to pressure and repeat the timing process to ensure the safety of the food.
#6. When the pressure canning method is complete, turn off the heat. If you are using an electric burner, you should remove the pressure canner from the burner. Allow the pressure canner to cool down. As the pressure canner cools down, it depressurizes. Allow the canner to cool on its own. Do not attempt to force to cool the canner. If you do so, there is a high possibility of food spoilage. Examples of force cooling are opening the vent pipe before fully depressurizing the canner or placing the canner under a cold running water. Forced cooling can cause the lid of the canner to warp.
#7. If you are going to depressurize an old canner model (usually without dial gauge), you should time it accordingly. Heavy walled canners take about 30 minutes to cool down. Thinly walled canners cool more rapidly as compared to the heavy walled canner. If the depressurizing process is over, you should carefully remove the weight from the vent pipe. If you are using the old pressure canner model, all you need to do is to open the petcock. Wait for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid carefully. Make sure that when you lift the lid, the underside is positioned away from you to prevent the steam from burning your face.
#8. Remove the jars one at a time using the jar lifter. Make sure you do not tilt the jar. Place the jar onto the towel making sure that there is about an inch space between the jars to allow cooling. Let the jars cool on their own. Leave the jars undisturbed for about 12 to 24 hours. Do not hold the jar in any way. Let it completely cool down.
#9. Remove the ring bands, wash them, and dry. Store the ring bands in a cool and dry place. Wipe the jars and lids to make sure that every residue is removed. Label the jars and place in a cool and dry place. Keep the jars out of direct light.
#10. Clean the pressure canner thoroughly. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction in cleaning and storing the pressure canner.
Operating pressure canner is far from being complicated. In fact, the process is simple, although there are a few variations depending on the pressure canner model. The usage instructions are the same. If you buy a pressure canner, it comes with a user manual. Strictly follow the user’s manual for a safe and efficient operation.