The Basics of Pressure Canning

By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)


When I first started canning I found several sites that provided information/list on how to properly pressure can food safely in canning jars. The lists all varied a little bit, but were pretty standard. Always check your recipe for exact directions and make sure that your recipes came from a modern canning book, manual or other reliable source. I stated out using the Ball Blue Book of Canning.

The basic steps in pressure canning are as follows.

1. Place food in a clean jar, leaving the required headroom (headroom is the empty space left at the top of the jar. Your recipe will tell you how much to leave).
2. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth.
3. Place a hot, previously boiled lid on the jar and screw down the ring hand tight (don’t over tighten).
4. Place the jar on the rack in a canner which has about one inch of water in it to create steam. Please check the directions that came with your canner, mine indicated to place 3 quarts of water in the canner.
5. Turn on the heat with the petcock open.
6. Exhaust steam forcefully for several minutes. Again check the direction that came with your own canner.
7. Close the petcock and allow pressure to build to that needed to process the food. I live at an altitude that is not higher than 1,000 feet and I use 10 pounds of pressure. Check your recipe if you are over 1,000 feet.
8. Hold the pressure at this reading for the entire time you must process the food.
9. When this time is up, turn off the heat and wait for the pressure to drop to zero.
10. Carefully open the petcock and allow any steam to escape. (Warning – steam is very hot).
11. Open the canner and remove the jars to a dry towel in a draft free area to cool. (Do not touch the jars until they are cool). Once cooled remove the metal rings for the jars.
12. Check for a complete seal. There should be absolutely no give.
13. Store jars with the rings removed and do not store the jars by stacking them on one another.

I hope this helps. I cannot stress the importance of following whatever recipe you are using completely.

Happy canning!

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