Pressure canner tune-up tips

canning tomatoes

If you’re harvesting your first cut of beans, tomatoes or other vegetables and fruits from your garden and want to preserve them, get your pressure canner out and make sure it’s in working order before you can.

Pressure canning is the only safe method of home canning, according to Ohio State University Extension, as botulism is a risk with water bath canning.

Related: Preserving food with boiling water canning and pressure canning

Make sure your pressure canner is ready for canning with these tune-up tips.

1. Read the manual

Read the directions that came with your pressure canner.

Every pressure canner is built differently, so if you have the manual, or can request a copy of one from the manufacturer, read it. If you’re new to pressure canning, this will help to give you an overview of how to use your pressure canner.

2. Check the gauge

The dial gauge on a pressure canner tells you the accurate pounds per square inch (psi) of your canner when it is in use, so it needs to be accurate. Have your pressure canner’s gauge checked out every year before you can. Talk to your county Extension office to find out how.

However, if you have a weighted gauge, you don’t need to have it tested. Read more from the University of Minnesota Extension.

3. Jars, bands and lids

You can reuse some canning supplies, but there are other supplies that can only be used once.

Jars can be reused.

Bands can be reused as long as they aren’t rusted, dented or damaged.

Lids can only be used once.

4. Check your altitude

Water boils at different temperatures and times at different altitudes. For locations higher than 1,000 feet above sea level, water boils at a lower temperature, so specific directions for higher altitude pressure canning must be followed.

Determine at which altitude you live, then follow directions for pressure canning at that altitude.

Visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s Geographic Names Information System and input your location’s name, state and county to find out your elevation.

Montana State University Extension explains that for weighted gauge canners, you must use 15 lbs. Of pressure for all altitudes above 1,000 feet.

For dial gauge canners, use the following pressures for these altitude ranges:

  • 0-2000 feet above sea level: 11 lbs.
  • 2001-4000 feet above sea level: 12 lbs.
  • 4001-6000 feet above sea level: 13 lbs.
  • 6001-8000 feet above sea level: 14 lbs.

Sources: Ohio State University Extension, University of Minnesota Extension, Montana State University Extension, National Center for Home Food Preservation

Do you have any other pressure canner prep tips? Share them in the comments below!

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