Pressure Canning Equipment: Jars & Lids

We always recommend “using what you’ve got” when preserving, however when pressure canning you will need a pressure canner (not a pressure cooker) and extra strong jars – either Ball Mason or Fowler’s Vacola jars are safe for pressure canning (normal twist top jars will shatter at the high pressure level). Preserving tools, funnel, ladles, etc. also make pressure canning quick and easy.
   
JAR SIZES
You can use any jar size up to 1L (quart) in size for pressure canning. 500ml (pint) and smaller are processed at a shorter time than jars that are up to 1L in size. Think of what serving size you will use: for batches of spaghetti sauce (or other family meals) for example, you may want quart jars – or pints for couples, half-pints for individuals, etc. If unsure, pints are a good size for both meats and/or vegetables.
   
CLEAN JARS BEFORE USE
Always wash jars well using soap and soft cloths (no abrasives, these will scratch the jars). Rinse jars. Check jars are clean, with no cracks or chips before use.
   
PRE-HEATING JARS
Boil jars for 10 minutes to heat through before using. You can also wash your jars in the dishwasher and keep them hot until ready for use.
   
LIDS
Buy new lids every 12 months. Ensure lids are clean, and are not old, bent or damaged in any way. Use new lids with every batch for Ball Mason jars. The jar and screw on band are reusable. Fowler’s Vacola jars require new rubber gaskets (rings) with every batch. The jar, lid and clips are reusable.
Fill jars with food, add lid and process accordingly. Do not adjust lids after processing – allow them to cool like normal to create a strong vacuum seal as the lid contracts.
   
STORAGE
Once jars have cooled overnight after processing, remove screw bands from mason jars (remove clips from vacola jars) and wipe down jars. Label clearly then store in a cool, dark and dry place for a year or more. Wash bands before storing them in a box for next time.
   

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