Monday, May 4, 2009

Processing Canning Jars with the Pressure Canner Method

Much of this is similar to the water bath method, so I debated about just saying "make these adjustments." For clarity sake, I decided to write the whole thing out.

Thank You, Moxie, for telling me how to get my blog to just show part of a post. Hopefully my decision to do that is an improvement.

Pressure canner Method

As mentioned in my first food safety post, the pressure canner method should be used for any low acid food such as vegetables or meat. In this post I go into a step by step description of this processing method.

Supplies you will need

  1. Pressure canner
  2. Canning jars: always examine the jars to be sure that there are no nicks in the rim
  3. Two piece lids
  4. Two sauce pots: one of them must be large enough to cover your canning jars with water.
  5. Tongs
  6. Canning funnel and a ladle
  7. Plastic spatula
  8. Dishtowel and a clean cloth
  9. Jar lifter
  10. Timer
  11. Whatever supplies you need for the recipe you are preparing

If you are new to canning, you can buy a Canning Kit rather than buying each piece separately.


  1. Place clean canning jars in the large sauce pot and cover with hot water. Place the lids in a separate sauce pot and cover them with hot water. Heat these to simmering (don't actually boil). An optional piece of equipment that can make this easier is a lid sterilizing rack. It keeps all of the lids separated. It is one of those contraptions that once I tried it, I wondered how I ever got along without it.
  2. Place the canning rack in the pressure canner, add two to three inches of water and heat this to simmering
  3. While all of this is heating, prepare your food according to the recipe.
Filling the jars
  1. Use either the tongs or the jar lifter to remove a canning jar from the hot water and sit it on a dish towel.
  2. Use the canning funnel and a ladle to fill the jar with food, leaving the appropriate amount of headspace.
  3. Run the plastic spatula around the edge of the jar a couple of times to remove any air bubbles.
  4. Run a clean damp cloth around the rim of the jar to remove any food that may interfere with sealing.
  5. Place the lid on the jar. I use tongs to remove the lids from the hot water, but some people like to use a magnetic wand.
  6. Screw the band on just until resistance is felt. Remember that air needs to escapes during processing.
  7. Use the jar lifter to place the canning jar on the canning rack.
  8. Repeat these steps until all jars are filled.
  1. Place the lid on the canner and lock it down according to manufacturers instrucitons.
  2. Heat the water to boiling. Add the weight and bring to the pressure specified in the recipe (always read manufacturers instructions with a pressure canner).
  3. When the proper pressure is reached, start the timer and process for the time specified in the recipe.
  4. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to return to zero.
  5. Remove the lid and let the jars sit in the water for 5 to 10 minutes to allow them to gradually adjust to the cooler temperature.
  6. Use the jar lifter to remove the canning jars. Place them on a dishtowel to cool. Leave an inch or so of space between them.
  7. After the jars have cooled for 12 to 24 hours, check the seals by pressing in the center of the lid. The safety button in the lid should not flex if the lid is sealed properly. If by chance you do come across a jar that is not sealed, place it in the refrigerator to be consumed within the next few days.


  1. I think the site feed thing is for people who read blogs through blog readers like google reader, which if you use a stat want only the short feed as that will cause people to have to click on over to your actual blog (causing a "hit") To do it on your blog main page, you have to go into your template and change some code. Here's a quick article

    or search google for "expandable post summaries" to find a better one if that one doesn't make sense. =)

  2. Thanks. I will look into that.

  3. how exciting its going to be to see all the delicious caning ideas....

  4. I just started canning last year, did a few things from Small Batch Preserving. I am excited to learn more.

  5. Your blog is very neat. I love canning and learning new things about canning. I just hope I will be able to can this year. I can't get any garden planted because its raining so much. Thanks for visiting my blog and the comment.

  6. I know nothing about canning, but I've always wanted to learn how. I have fruit trees in my yard, and it would be nice to make jam!

  7. I see pressure cookers are getting popular again. My mom used to cook in hers a lot when I was a kid.

    What is the time difference between the pressure cooker and the regular method?

  8. When it comes to canning, the pressure canner isn't really used as a time saver.

    The appropriate method depends on the acidity of the food. If the PH of the food is below 4.6, then the temperature of boiling water is enough to destroy the harmful organisms that can live in those foods.

    If the PH is above 4.6, then 212 degrees (the temperature of boiling water) is not enough to destroy the bacteria that can live in that food. A pressure canner has to be used in order to raise the temperature high enough to kill the bacteria.

  9. Sara, I hope you will tell me what type of fruit trees you have. In the fall I planned to write about apple, pears, peaches, cherries, and plums. I am making all my decisions based on what is in season here in Iowa. I don't even know what is in season in San Fancisco.

  10. Hi Charlotte,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. We received those purple peanuts from a friend who had purchased them in Taiwan.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. YAY looks like you got the expandable posts thingy to work!! Looks GREAT!

    Leslie~ Even if you don't get a garden could can good deals from the grocery produce section or visit local farmers markets and can don't have to grow it yourself to can it! You still save some $$ although the grocery store stuff may not be as nice as home grown!

  13. I have heard that you can can tomato sauce or juice just using the water bath method (not pressure cooker) as long as you don't add peppers or onions to it (which will make it less acidic); and as long as you add a T. or 2 of lemon juice to each jar. Have you heard that? I did it this year with my canned tomato sauce -- canned 10 jars.

  14. If you add 2 tablespoon of lemon juice for every quart of tomatoe sauce, then it is acidic enough to can with the water bath method.

  15. In your pressure canning instructions you might wish to include the standard guidelines of (1) allow the canner to actively vent steam prior to putting on the weight or counterweight, and (2) once the canner has returned to zero and the weight is removed an additional 10 mins. wait before removing the lid is recommended to prevent siphoning of liquid from the jars. These guidelines can be reviewed in detail at

  16. I've never canned anything better. I want to make jelly but I only have a pressure canner, will it work? Ahhh, I wish someone in my family canned stuff, can you drive over to SD? ;o)

    First timer

  17. anything *before. not better


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