Have you ever heard of pressure canning? Canning is an age old tradition and if you walk into any cooking appliance store you are bound to see all kinds of canners. Some of the most popular canners are called water bath canners, steam canners and even pressure canners. Each canner must be used according to the kind of food that you are attempting to can. Water bath canners are suitable for hobbyists, whereas pressure and steam canners are aimed at those who take canning a little more seriously. Here are some tips which will make your canning experience much easier, especially if you are just starting out and not sure how to make the most of your canning machine.
Regardless of what kind of canner you use, the biggest mistake most people make is letting their canner pressure drop too low while they are processing their food. It is absolutely essential that your canner's pressure remains stable all throughout the canning process. If you happen to notice that the pressure is beginning to drop, quickly but carefully turn up the heat on your stove to bring the pressure back up. Don't turn it up too much or you may send the pressure too high. You need just enough heat to keep the pressure stable so it doesn't fluctuate too much.
If you were unlucky enough to experience a drop in pressure and were not able to bring it back up before it dropped too low, then the bad news is that you'll have to start the entire pressuring process all over again. Canners need to be at a precise pressure level for an exact length of time. If the pressure is not maintained then you must begin the entire process over from the beginning. This means brining your canner back up to the required pressure level and then starting the timing process from the very start. If you don't do this then you won't kill all the bacteria in the food you are trying to can. All of the bacteria must be killed to ensure that the canned food is safe to eat and not harmful to your health.
Related to pressure is the problem of venting. Venting is required because you need to get all of the air out of your canner. Like the pressuring process, venting must be carried out for an exact length of time. If you don't vent long enough then the air that remains in the canner lowers the pressure of the canner and may mean that you can't get your canner hot enough to kill all the bacteria. Be sure that you follow the instructions of your canner exactly and vent for the required length of time.
Canning can be a lot of fun and these were just a few tips to help make your canning easier and safer. If you are just starting out and haven't purchased a canner yet, then you may want to consider a water bath canner. These canners are great for beginners and will make it much easier for you to get used to the canning process and the steps involved. Once you've mastered a water canner, you can move onto a steam or pressure canner and enjoy the ability to can a much wider variety of foods.
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