Want to know how to use a pressure canner? This guide on canning with a pressure cooker is the way to go if you are serious about learning the best ways to use a pressure canner.
Back in the day, fear is instilled in the minds of many as many pressure cookers are scared of explosions. Who wouldn’t be? There are a series of stories about pressure cookers blowing up.
So, I can’t blame anyone for being scared. Plus, if not used in the right way, things can go awry in a matter of minutes.
However, with improvements and guidance on this serious issue, things have really changed – a lot. So, don’t fret and decide you are not using the pressure canner.
Here I show you the step by step instructions and tips on how to safely use the pressure canner for canning purposes.
What is Pressure Canning?
Let me state clearly now that pressure canning is different from pressure cooking, so, you should not confuse one for the other; they are two different things.
What is pressure canning? Pressure canning is the process of preventing food from spoiling by making use of special and unique equipment set at a high temperature.
It is also worth telling you that this should only be done for low-acid foods, and not for acidic foods. So, low-acid foods include meats, poultry, fish, and vegetables.
In order to use the pressure canner, you have to get one. This method is great for people who have a lot of fruits and vegetables.
How to Use a Pressure Canner (A Step-by-Step Guide)
Let me walk you through how you can safely use a pressure canner for your food.
Heat the Pressure Canner Jars
The first thing to do here is to heat the jars. Fill the canner to about 2 or 3 inches, then closely shut the lid (don’t lock). Allow the water to nearly reach a simmering level. After which you will put the jars into the pressure canner.
Fill the jars with little water to keep them from floating. Close the lid loosely, and allow the jars to get steamy hot for a few minutes. Now, they are ready for food to be added.
Filling the Jars with Food
Take the first jar out and fill it and place it back into the canner before bringing out another jar to fill. Repeat the same process until you have filled all your food.
Use a jar lifter to remove the jars and add jars for safety purposes.
Remove Trapped Air Bubbles
Remove the trapped air bubbles between the food and jar with a flexible and thin spatula. Leave a headspace of about ¼ or ½.
Wipe Jar Rims
Wipe the jar rims with a damp and clean cloth to remove whatever food residue is there.
Locking the Lid
Having set the last jar into the canner. Ensure the water does not cover the jars. Now, set the pressure canner lid in place to lock the handles.
Kindly note that you should put the jars inches away from each other – you should not allow them to touch each other.
Venting the Pressure Canner
Lock the canner lid and ensure the vent pipe is opened and turn the heat to high; with the vent opened, the steam would be able to come out of the vent pipe.
Allow the steam to escape the vent for about 10 minutes until there is no air (just moisture) left in the canner.
Achieve and Maintain the Right Pressure
Ensure that you maintain the right canning pressure for your food as indicated in the recipe.
When the pressure canner is pressurized, the safety valve will pop down to the up position (that is for a canner with a safety valve).
Only remove the canner after the pressure must have returned to zero. Wait for about 10 minutes, remove the weight, and unlock the lid. Tilt away from the canner before opening, and allow to cool for another 10 minutes.
Removing Jars from the Pressure
Now, you should use a jar lifter to remove the jars from the pressure canner and set them on a kitchen towel or a wire rack.
Cooling the Jars
Leave the jars for about 12-24 hours to cool off completely. For the jars that are not properly sealed, you should consider eating them soon, and store the rest in a cool, dry place.
I use them all under one year, as they are best for cooking during this period. So, you should consider doing the same. So, you should note the date of canning them on the lid using a permanent marker.
Can you use Instant Pot / Electric Pressure Cooker for Canning?
Pressure cookers are being used to cook many foods such as vegetables, fish, meat, stew, and more. They have been around for a long and has been many people’s favorite cooker.
Yes. An electric pressure cooker can be used for preserving some foods, such as low-acid foods. However, if you are thinking about preserving a highly acidic food, you should not go for an electric cooker.
Why is Food Canning Important?
Food canning is the process of preserving food for a long time. With the process of pressure canning, you get to store your food and still get it with the highest of quality.
The taste and the flavors are still intact, thus saving you costs in the long run. Pressure canning is important to people for so many reasons. Now, let me walk you through these reasons.
For Preserving Harvest
Food canning is very essential for gardeners as they always have the need to preserve their garden produce. Some of these harvests need to wait for months. With this method, they are able to stop them from wasting.
Canning is Affordable
You get to enjoy your food all through the year when you can seasonal foods. With this, you get to save money on buying and get to enjoy the food of high-quality storage.
High Quality and Healthy Food
Foods that are preserved with pressure canners are healthy and of high quality. With this method, you do away with chemical preservatives in preserving your food.
Final Thoughts on Canning with Pressure Cooker / Pressure Canner
Using a pressure cooker is not appropriate for canning foods, especially when canning acid-concentrated foods. Instant pot or electric pressure cookers cannot replace a pressure canner.
I will advise you spend some cash on getting a pressure canner. Also, a pressure cooker doesn’t usually have as much space as a pressure canner, which makes it not suitable for holding many jars the way pressure canners will.
Follow the step-by-step guide listed above if you want to want to use a pressure canner to preserve your foods.