Equipment You’ll Need
Here are two rules regarding equipment:
- Make certain equipment is in good condition. A pressure canner with a faulty gauge or jars with nicked edges can cause food to spoil.
- Make certain equipment is available and within reach. Lay out all needed equipment in the kitchen before you start. Mid-point in a canning session is not the time to remember you forgot to buy canning lids.
You’ll need a pressure canner if you can vegetables (except for tomatoes, sauerkraut, and pickles), meats, or mixtures of low-acid foods, plus a kettle or large stock pot with a cover and rack if you’re canning fruits, jams, jellies, pickles, etc. using the boiling water bath method.
Pressure canners are manufactured in various sizes; match your canner with your canning ambitions, if you will do a lot of canning, buy a big canner and save both time and heating costs with it. When using a pressure canner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. All canners require a rack on the bottom, so boiling water can circulate under the jars.
The dial-type pressure canner has a gauge that shows the pressure, a petcock that allows steam to escape under a controlled pressure, and a safety valve that will pop and thus relieve pressure if the petcock becomes stuck. The dial-type gauge must be checked for accuracy each year. This service may be provided by your State Extension Service or at stores where canners are sold. If the dial is inaccurate either way by two or more pounds, you need to replace the gauge.
The weighted-gauge pressure canner has a metal weight-type pressure control. When the desired pressure is reached, you will hear the control jiggle, releasing steam and preventing the pressure from rising higher. The weight on this type of canner may be set at 5, 10, 15, or 20 pounds. This type of canner does not need to be tested for accuracy.
A kettle or large stock pot with a rack and cover is used for boiling water bath canning of high-acid foods. Most people use a conventional black enamel canner although stainless steel canners are available as well. It is resistant to acids and salt solutions, so it can double for cooking pickles or brining vegetables. The kettle must be deep enough so jars sitting on a rack will be covered with at least one inch of water. There must be at least another inch in the kettle for the space required for a rolling boil. A pressure canner may be used for boiling water bath canning, too. Set it so that no pressure builds up inside by not locking the lid in place. Leave the petcock open or remove the weighted gauge so that steam can easily escape.
Pressure saucepans are not recommended for use in home canning.
Source: Mrs. Wages Home Canning Guide and Recipes, Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved. For even more canning tips and over 120 tested recipes from our test kitchens, be sure to order the Mrs. Wages Canning Guide.
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