How To Use Pressure Canner

Pressure canner is pretty important and useful to preserve your food, especially vegetable (the kind of food is hard to maintain in long time) at your home. The pressure canner is able to can various kinds of food, from high-acid foods (the main reason for food spoilage) such as vegetable, fruit, jam, pickle, etc. to low-acid foods such as meat, green bean, potato, etc. in order to make the foods in the best condition for long – time use. Using the best pressure canner will help you make awesome homemade canning food without buying from market.

Types of pressure canner

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To deeply understand the usage of pressure canner, you have to identify what type of pressure canner you use. There are two main types of pressure canner sold on the market:

  • Dial gauge pressure canner

Dial-gauge canners have a dial that shows the pressure on the lid of pressure canner. These ones must be watched during processing to be sure the pressure does not fall below the required level. The dial gauge must be checked every year to make sure it is accurate, if not, you risk processing your foods at too-low pressure (can cause spoilage) or too-high pressure (possible explosions…)

  • Weighted gauge pressure canner

Weighted-gauge canners have weights for 5, 10 or 15 pounds pressure that are put over the vent and rock or jiggle when the correct pressure is reached. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how often the gauge should rock or jiggle. The sound of the weight rocking or jiggling indicates that the correct pressure is being preserved, so these canners do not need to be watched during processing. The weight gauge pressure canner doesn’t require annual check. That’s why it is favored than dial gauge pressure canner. The only withdraw of this type is that you cannot make the precise pressure adjustment because it is fixed with 5, 10 and 15 pounds.


To use pressure canner for the most effective way, you should follow these steps:

Notice: these steps are general instructions. Each recipe will offer a different method. Make sure you read carefully the instructions for each recipe and each type of pressure canner.

1. Check the pressure canner and make sure it is working before you prepare the food. Clean lid gaskets and other parts according to the manufacturer’s directions; make sure all vent pipes are clear and contain no trapped material or mineral deposits.

2. Put the pressure canner on stove on the largest burner

3. Put the rack and 2-3 inches of hot water (if the amount of water is not specified with food) into the canner. Longer processes required more water. Some specific products require with even more water in the canner. Notice to follow the directions with USDA processes for specific foods if they require more water be added to the canner. About the temperature of water, it is required the water of 180 degrees F for hot packed food and the water of 140 degrees F for raw packed food.

4. Place the jars of food that you prepared before into the canner. The jars have to be filled with lid and ring bands. You’d better use a jar lifter to move the jars for safety. Keep the jar stand up at all times. Tilting the jar could make food to spill into the sealing area of the lid.

5. Put the lid above and secure it fastened.

6. Turn the heat on at the highest position until the water boils and steam flows strongly from open vent port or petcock. Let it flow in 10 minutes in the largest burner.

7. After 10 minutes of venting, put the counterweight or weighted gauge on the vent pipe, or close the petcock. The canner will start its pressure process in 3 to 10 minutes.

8. When the pressure gauge shows that it has reached to the recommended pressure, start timing. For weighted gauge pressure canner, start timing when the weighted gauge begins to jiggle or rock as the manufacturer instructs.

9. Turn down the heat to maintain desired pressure.

10. The processing time varies in different foods and jar sizes, but it often range from 5 to 15 minutes. After the processing time, turn of the burner and let the pressure canner cool down until the pressure is vented.

11. Remove the lid to lift of the jars out of the canner. Place the jars carefully on a towel and let us slow down the heat overnight. Do not try to force them to cool down by put them in cold area.

Notice: after cooking, wash and dry the canner, lid and gasket. Take of removable petcock and safety valves and wash and dry them.
Below is a great video to help you start with pressure canner, watching it will help you a lot:

How to check the safety of your pressure canner

To make sure your pressure canner is in good condition, you should check the following parts on your pressure canner:

– The gasket must be flexible and soft, not hard and easily broken (not all the pressure canner have gasket)
– The vent port and opening is always clean and not be blocked
– The lid has always been fit properly and lock into place
– If you use the dial gauge pressure canner, make sure it is checked once per year for accuracy.

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