How to Use a Pressure Canner

1.     CHOOSE your preserving to determine the number of jars you will require. Use clean, jars and new lids.
2.     PRE-HEAT jars by covering with water in the pressure canner and boiling for 10 minutes (or use your dishwasher). Keep jars hot until ready to use.
3.     PLACE canning rack inside pressure canner. Fill pressure canner with 2 inches of water and a tablespoon of vinegar (if you have hard water) and bring water to a boil.
4.     WARM lids by placing into a bowl of boiling water (not on heat)
5.     PACK food into hot jars (usually 1 inch for pressure canned items, refer to the recipe to confirm). The headspace is the distance between the jar rim/top and the surface of the jar contents. Remove bubbles and correct headspace, if required. Wipe rims and add lids. Place jars into canner (use second rack if double stacking) and put lid on canner and twist to secure lid.
6.     PROCESS JARS in pressure canner by heating on high until white steam is in a constant, steady stream out of the top (venting) for 10 minutes. Then place the weight onto the vent port (next to the pressure gauge). Closing the vent port allows the pressure to build, which will take less than 5 minutes. The lid lock (if your pressure canner has one) will spin around and may release a little water before springing upright and staying upright. Start the timer once the pressure is reached (either by reading the dial gauge or listening to the weights “rocking” steadily if you have a weighted gauge canner).        The pressure level you will use depends on your altitude: the higher the altitude, the higher the pressure required. If the pressure rises higher than you require (the weights rock too much), lower the temperature by adjusting the heat source. Or if the pressure drops slightly (weights slow down rocking or show a drop in pressure on the gauge) increase the temperature. Keep the pressure constant for the time listed in the recipe – if the pressure drops low you need to restart processing from the beginning.
7.     TURN off the heat once the time is up, and allow the pressure to return to zero. Do not move canner or try to open the lid or remove the weight. Then remove the weight and wait 5 minutes before opening canner lid. Leave jars inside open canner for a further 5 minutes to adjust before removing jars carefully and allowing them to cool overnight on a towel. You will hear the jars ping as they cool and create a vacuum seal.

Share on: