Pressure canning is necessary for home canning low acid foods. This includes all meats, and vegetables. Each recipe will be a bit different in how the food is prepared for processing. Invest in a good canning book for more information.
Ready? Here we go. First gather all your canning supplies:
It is a real bummer when you are in the middle of canning and have to stop to go find some piece of canning equipment that you did not pull out ahead of time and now is NOT where you are sure you left it.
* pressure canner
* canning jars
* canning lids and rings. be sure you have enough lids for jars
* canning funnel
* towels, dish cloths,pot holders
* pots and bowls, knives, ladles, whatever is needed to prepare your food
* AND the food!
Be sure to use fresh picked , high quality food. Your final product will only be as good as the food you select.
Wash your canning jars, either by hand or in the dishwasher. The do not need to be sterilized prior to canning but should definitely be very clean.
You jars will need to be warm when you pack your food in them. You don't want to put hot foods in a cold jar. If you wash by hand leave the jars in hot water to keep warm for packing. Or if you use a dishwasher simply leave the jars in the dishwasher with the door closed. The steam and heat will keep your jars warm.
Fill your canner with 3-4 inches of water. Yes, that is all the water needed. Remember, pressure build up is the key to safety in pressure canning. The pressure buildup is what causes the high heat necessary to kill botulism spores. The jars do not need to be covered with water like a water bath canner.
Set rack on bottom and heat water until hot, not boiling. Keep warm.
Put your seals or lids in a pan of water, bring to almost a boil. Turn off the heat. Leave the seals in the water until ready for a jar.
Prepare and pack food according to instructions in your recipe. Be sure to leave the correct amount of head space. Remove air bubbles from your jars by running a non-metallic spatula around the inside of the jar. I like to use a plastic orange peeler for this step. It is small and easily slides down.
Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a damp tea towel or paper towel. You want the rims to be clean to ensure the lid will seal. Place seals and rings on jars. Tighten finger tight. You really don't have to crank down hard, snug is fine.
Place jars on the rack in the pressure canner. The jars must not sit directly on the bottom of the canner. Steam needs to flow freely around each jar. Sometimes this takes a little maneuvering, twisting the jars so that the flatter sides leave more room.
Place the cover securely on the canner. Heat to boiling. Do not cover the vent yet. Allow steam to vent for 10 minutes. This is an important step don't skip it. This pushes all the air from the canner. After the 10 minutes, close the vent with your weight or counter weight.
Let the pressure build to the pressure recommended in your recipe. Be sure to adjust for altitude When canner reaches correct pressure, lower your heat to maintain pressure level. Adjust heat as needed to keep it at the correct pressure.
NOW start timing. Time needed will be given in the recipe. Be sure to adjust for altitude. When time is up, turn off the heat. Do not remove weights or open the vent. Let the canner set until pressure comes back to zero.
DO NOT try to speed up the cooling process. Just let the canner cool and release pressure all by itself.
When pressure is at zero, remove the weight or open the vent. Then wait two minutes.
Carefully remove the lid, be careful CONTENTS ARE HOT AND STEAMY. Tilt the lid so the steam will not hit you in the face. Wait another minute or two.
Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars and set upright on a wooden board or a thick towel to cool. Be sure they are in a draft free area and leave 1 to 2 inches space between each jar so air can circulate.
Listen - Did you hear it? This is my favorite part.
As the jars cool the seals (or flats) will pull down and seal. They make the coolest little pinging sound. Leave the jars alone until completely cool
I leave mine on the counter overnight. After jars have cooled completely, NOW you may press on the lid to check the seal. The seal should be sucked down and not pop up Remove the screw cap and wash the jar. The outsides will often be sticky.
Label the jar with the food type and date.
Now stand back and admire all colorful jars full of delicious nutritious foods! Good Job.
Hi, I am Sharon, a simple woman in love with her hardworking husband, and mom of 4 sons.
In my mission to keep up with the appetites of my crew, gardening and home preserving food has proved to be a great way to provide nutritious, simple, delicious meals.
I've been canning foods for many years. I didn't have to. I wanted to...for fun. I enjoy the results and the satisfaction of doing it myself. Today, preserving food is a part of our frugal simple lifestyle.
http://www.simplycanning.com/index.html is my way of sharing the news that home canning is a viable option for providing healthy foods for your family.
Visit http://www.simplycanning.com/pressure-canning.html for more information on safely home canning with a pressure canner as well as recipes, tips, and support.