I have to be honest – pressure canning is my favorite canning method! I find it much less fussy – once you get past the whole “dangerous pressurized vessel” stereotype that is. So, what is pressure canning? I answer this and all your questions around this method in this FAQ!
If you are satisfied with only canning pickled veggies, tomatoes, and jams, you can stick with water bath canning.
But where is the fun in stopping there?
If you are like me, you may want to expand your canning capabilities to everything from meat to potatoes to chicken broth. We are talking about a FULL pantry with an array of canned goods here.
And that is where pressure canning comes in.
With pressure canning, you can preserve food that does not have a high acidity. That means you can make all kinds of food, even meat, shelf stable for up to a year – no freezers or electricity required!
It’s a great way to give your family food security, without worrying about power outages or freezer burn.
In fact, I just canned the last bit of meat from our pig we raised. And now I can rest easy knowing that the meat will not go to waste and can be a source of fuel for my family for the year to come!
Ready to start pressure canning yourself?
Lucky for you fancy friend, I’m answering all your questions around how to pressure can in this What is Pressure Canning FAQ. (Check out my How to Water Bath Can FAQ here!)
Simply scroll through or click on a specific question with the links below!
1. What is pressure canning?
Pressure canning is a method of preserving low-acid foods. As opposed to water bath canning, pressure canners reach the required temperature of 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
The natural bacteria in the food is destroyed at this temperature. Once your jars are ready to cool, the lids should create a vacuum seal, keeping any other bacteria in the air out of your preserved food.
2. What do you need to pressure can?
In order to pressure can your food, you must have a proper pressure canner.
My favorite pressure canner? I have two – my All-American 915 and All-American 921 (affectionately referred to as the submarine).
If you want to find something a bit more affordable, Presto is another common go-to brand. My assistant has a Presto 01755 16-Quart pressure canner that she swears by.
Of course, you will also need a few other tools. For a full list, check out my blog Canning Tools and Supplies: Fresh Preserving 101.
(Watch my YouTube video here for the backstory behind my $25 thrift store find that is the All-American 921.)
3. How does a pressure canner work?
Pressure canners trap steam inside – thanks to its lid and rubber sealer – allowing steam to build up pressure. This higher pressure allows water to boil at a higher temperature.
That is how your pressure canner can reach the required 240 degrees to keep your food safe and shelf stable.
Pressure canners will either have a dial gauge or weighted gauge, along with a vent port. Find out how to use a pressure canner in the next question!
4. How to use a pressure canner (How to pressure can)?
Before you use your pressure canner for the first time, make sure to become familiar with each part – the vent, gauge, etc.
Once you feel comfortable with your machine, it’s time to can!
Here are the basics steps when pressure canning (make sure to refer to your specific recipe for varying cook times and details):
- Fill your pressure canner with a few inches of warm water.
- Add in the rack and set your filled jars inside.
- Make sure the lid is on and sealed.
- With the vent port off, turn on your stove to high heat until you see steam come out of the vent.
- After 10 minutes of venting, add weight to the vent port so the canner can increase pressure.
- Processing times will vary. You can begin counting when the gauge is at the pressure recommended by your canner’s manual.
- Once you’ve reached your desired processing time, you can turn the heat off. Now, wait until the gauge goes back to zero.
- Use a jar lifter to remove the jars and set them on a towel (I usually cover them with a towel as well to avoid any temperature shock) to cool.
- Once cooled, make sure the jars are sealed.
- Label and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year!
Before I start canning, I usually reference one of my favorite canning resources – The
Complete Guide to Home Canning put out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This book is an amazing resource, and you can count on it to give you the best instructions in order to keep your food safe for you and your family.
5. Why do you have to vent the pressure canner first?
The USDA recommends venting your pressure canner 10 minutes before it is pressurized.
Venting is important to get all of the trapped air out. Any remaining air in the pressure canner can lower the temperature – meaning it could cause your food to be under processed.
6. What can you pressure can?
You can pressure can a wide variety of low-acid foods. That includes meats, seafood, vegetables, and more!
Some people even can full recipes. I tend to be more of an ingredient canner – that way I can mix and match. But it’s all up to the canner and your specific family needs!
7. Can you pressure can in an instant pot?
Since instant pots and electric pressure cookers do not normally have a gauge to show the pressure, it is not a good idea to try canning in an instant pot.
8. What if the jars don’t seal during processing?
If your jars don’t seal during your canning process, I recommend sticking it in the fridge and using it within a week. You do not want to subject the food to heat again.
To tell if your cans have been sealed, you’ll want to remove the rings on your jars. The rings can cause a false seal and allow bacteria to sneak into your canned food.
9. Can you can on an electric stove?
The short answer is yes – you can use an electric stove to can. That said, gas is a more consistent heat. So, you’ll likely have an easier time finding the optimal running temp for your canner. Electric might need some fiddling.
I have canned on an electric stove for years now. And it works just fine!
But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled to start canning on my new-to-me 6 burner Viking stove! Just look at that beauty!
10. How can I learn to pressure can?
I am not exaggerating when I say that canning changed my life. It helped me get through a difficult time in life when I needed to do something with all my anxious energy.
And since then, my pantry keeps on giving!
I want everyone to be able to have food security for their family – and have a lot of fun in the process!
And that is why I created a course to help everyone learn to can and refine their canning skills!
No matter your canning skill level, I’d love for you to join me in my How To Can Food: The Beginner’s Home Canning Course!
When you join How To Can Food: The Beginner’s Home Canning Course, you will:
- Hit the books (and the country store shelves) to load up on reading material, resources, and, of course, so many jars.
- Discover all about the different kinds of canners – water bath or pressure canning, you’ll be ready to roll!
- Whip up some delicious, basic recipes that anyone can tackle. Can we say amazing jelly??
- Process fresh meats (yes! meat!) and make them shelf-stable and safe for years.
- Learn how to store your filled jars properly so you can enjoy your canning efforts for months to come.
And so much more!
Click here to learn more about How to Can Food and register for the course today!
Happy canning, fancy friends!