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Pressure Canning Information, Explanations, Supplies and Related Items

I use to use water bath canning for making jams or applesauce and then the pressure canner for other vegetables as they are low-acid and need to be done in a pressure canner!

However, through the years, I had whole batches of tomatoes go bad, only to later learn they were low acid tomatoes. The same with jellies, salsa, etc.

I NOW ONLY USE A PRESSURE CANNER. Every item I can, whether low acid or not, I do it in my pressure canner...just to be safe.

I also think it is easier than the hot water bath and you are less likely to get burned.

And you definitely need a pressure canner for anything containing any meat. The open water bath canners can't get water any hotter than 212 F and that's not hot enough to kill the bacteria that can grow in low acid foods. A pressure canner hits 240F which allows for home canning of many more foods, like corn, beans, meats, etc.).

I can my own salsa, meat, veggies from the garden, soups, and so forth. I believe through the years, I have canned just about everything you can can from pickles, relishes, mock jam made from zuchinni, bread (done in oven), jams, jellies, apple sauce (many varieties), fruits, vegetables, soups, meats, and so on.

I will repeat: I do not use the water bath, microwave, or oven. I ONLY USE A PRESSURE CANNER to ensure safety...and it truly is easier.

Why do I need to use a pressure canner to can most vegetables?

A water bath canner is fine for acidic fruits and vegetables, such as jams, jellies, applesauce, apple butter, and some tomatoes, but for almost all other vegetables, like carrots, squash, green beans, squash, corn, okra, etc., and anything containing meat, you'll need a pressure canner.

Quoting from the Ohio State University Extension's Fact Sheet:

"Pressure canning is the only safe method for home canning vegetables. Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium that causes botulism food poisoning in low-acid foods, such as vegetables. The bacterial spores are destroyed only when the vegetables are processed in a pressure canner at 240 degrees Fahrenheit (F) for the correct amount of time.

Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium commonly found in vegetables and meats. It is harmless until it finds itself in a moist, low-acid, oxygen-free environment or a partial vacuum. In other words, a sealed jar! Under these conditions, the bacterium can grow and produce toxins dangerous to people and animals.

Yes, we have ALL heard about someone's grandmother who canned without a pressure canner and lived to 90. And we all know people who smoked 2 packs a day and lived to 90. But neither is smart to do, and the odds will catch up with most people. You'll literally gambling with your life when you eat low acid foods that were canned using the open water bath, rather than pressure canning method.

Do not process (low acid) vegetables using the boiling water bath because the botulinum bacteria can survive that method. 

Canning Green Beans With A Pressure Canner

Please visit me at http://www.homesteadgardenandpantry.comfor more great information about home canning.Many thanks to Jay Ungar & Molly Mason for their kind & generous permission to use "Th...

This video is really good. Notice that she used a weighted gauge that you can hear jiggling or rattling. She also shows you how the steam vents, etc. Really good info.

Do not be seems hard at first, but one to two sessions and you will relax and realize it is not that difficult and what a sense of satisfaction!

She also has more videos on canning!

How does a pressure canner work?

Modern pressure canners are lightweight, thin-walled aluminum or stainless steel kettles. Most have twist-on lids fitted with gaskets. There are still one or two that have screw-down knobs around the lid on the canner.

They have removable racks, a weighted vent port (steam vent), and a safety vent. They also have either a dial gauge for indicating the pressure or a weighted gauge (which both regulates the pressure and indicates, by rattling).

I have used both the dial gauge and the weighted gauge. By far, I prefer the weighted gauge.

First of all, you hear it rattling so you do not have to constantly look at it, like you do a dial gauge.

Second, if the pressure gets too high, it will make a whistle sound. Instantly signaling you to the danger. You have to watch a dial gauge.

Third, a dial gauge has to be tested for accuracy. A weighted gauge is good as long as your gasket is good.

Pressure canners can usually handle either one layer of quart or smaller size jars, or deep enough for two layers of pint or smaller size jars.

Buy the largest canner you can. One that holds two layers. You will finish faster and it is more efficient, using less gas or electricity.

Unlike a water bath canner, the jars do not need to be completely covered with water. The directions that came with the pressure canner tell you how many cups of water to add in order for it to generate the right amount of pressure. You vent the pressure canner a considerable length of time while the water boils (with the jars in and the lid on). This causes steam to push out all the air.

So the jars are in a space filled with only boiling water and steam. In theory, both will have the same temperature, which will be 240 F, substantially higher than 212 F of an open water bath canner, due to the increased pressure. And since there is no air, just water vapor, the heat will be easily conducted to all sides of the jars.

General Instructions For Home Pressure Canning

Ok, you're thinking, I have loads of vegetables from my garden that I could can for the winter, maybe I should get a pressure canner; but are they difficult to use? Not at all; here are typical step-by-step directions (of course, always follow any specific directions that come with any pressure canner you buy, but this will work for most!).

See this page for detailed step by step directions to pressure canning!

1. Put the canner on the stove on the largest burner.

2. Put the rack (usually a metal plat with holes in) into the canner and 2 to 3 inches of hot water into the canner.

3. Place the filled jars CLEAN THE EDGE FIRST WITH A PAPER TOWEL(with the lids and rings on) fitted with lids, on the jar rack in the canner.

4. Put the canner lid and seal it down. Leave the weight off the vent port (or petcock).

5. Turn the burner up to its highest position. Heat until the water boils and steam exits strongly from the open vent port (or petcock). While maintaining the high heat setting, let the steam flow (exhaust) continuously for 10 minutes.

6. Allow the canner to vent for the specified time (usually 10 to 15 minutes), then put the weight or on (or or close the petcock). The canner will get up to pressure in just a few minutes.

7. Once the pressure gauge indicates that it has reached the desired pressure (often 11 lbs) start timing!

8. Adjust the burner to maintain a the desired pressure, as shown on the gauge. If there is now gauge, the weight should jiggle a couple of times per minute, of course, check the manufacturer’s directions.

9. At the end of the processing time (often in the range of 5 to 15 minutes; it varies for different foods altitudes and jar sizes), turn the heat off and allow the canner to cool down until the pressure is vented!

10. Lift off the weight open the top and remove the jars! Carefully place the jars onto a towel or cake cooling rack, leaving about an inch of space between the jars. Avoid placing the jars in cold or drafty areas. Let the jars cool overnight (or about 8 hrs)

Okay, this is intimidating at first. Take a class at your local vo-tech or extension office. Ask an old pro like me if you can come over while I am canning so you can watch and learn.

Once you have done it a few times, you will see just how easy it is, and how wonderful it makes you feel to see those shiny jars of salsa all lined up.

Plus you save money and time.


Don't let the pressure drop during processing - if it starts to go down, turn the burner up just a bit.

If the pressure goes below the recommended amount, increase the heat to bring the canner back to pressure. Start the timing of the process over from the beginning.

If you are located over 1,000 ft above sea level; read the canner's instructions to increase the canning time or pressure.

Be sure to vent the canner with steam exiting for the specified length of time to prevent air becoming trapped in the closed canner. Trapped air lowers the temperature obtained for a given pressure and results in under processing. Most pressure canners must be vented 10 minutes before they are sealed and pressurized.

To properly vent a canner, leave the vent port (steam vent) uncovered after you fill the canner and lock the canner lid in place. Heat the canner on high until the water boils and generates steam that can be easily seen escaping through the open vent port.

When a visible plume of steam continuously exits the canner, time for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes of continuous steam, you can close the vent (usually by putting the weight on it)) to begin pressurizing the canner.

More to come on what to can, some secrets I have...canning recipes, and so on.


I also tried canning something new. I canned seven half pints and one quart jar of butter. I had read somewhere that they had canned butter…either during the depression or during WW II. So I thought about it, Butter is a fat. I can meat that has fat and it is okay. The butter will melt and boil while it is canned, but when it cools it should go back to a solid…

Hummm… Let’s give it a try. I did it in a pressure canner, just as I do just about everything else-- at 10 pounds of pressure for 45 minutes.

BTW—I did Google this and some people were showing how to can it using the oven, But DO NOT ever can anything using the oven. Without the pressure, you cannot get the temperature high enough to kill all bacteria that lead to botulism.

DO NOT ever can using the oven…I do not even use a hot water bath anymore as through the years I have learned that many of the new varieties of vegetables, tomatoes, etc. are low acid and they will go bad after a few years on the shelves.

I ONLY can using a pressure canner.

There are three pictures of the butter. The first is before I canned it. I just put the softened butter in the jars and used Clorox wipes to clean the glass rim before I put on the lid and metal rims.

The second picture shows the butter just after I took it out of the canner and it is still hot and a liquid. Notice: it separated.

The third picture is a picture of it a day later, opened, and ready to use.

I did try shaking a jar to keep it from separating, but as it cools, it just naturally separates.

When I broke the seal, and opened it, I then took a butter knife and stirred the two parts together. We ate it on bread, and also on toast.

Yummy. Exactly like butter. No difference whatsoever…except…canned butter should last about seven years without going bad or rancid.

I even canned 4 more pints, yesterday.

I am so excited about this…imagine fresh butter in your pantry when others cannot buy it. Butter on freshly made bread (from all that wheat in the pantry). Sounds wonderful to me!




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