Altitude Adjustments

If you live above 1000 feet elevation you need to figure your altitude adjustments for both water bath and pressure canning. As your altitude goes above 1000 feet above sea level the atmospheric pressure is reduced. This causes water to boil at temperatures lower than 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

For safety in water bath canning you must bring the contents of your jar to at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit. To compensate for the temperature difference you must increase processing time.

The pressure canner is also affected by atmospheric pressures. A pressure canner must reach a temperature of 240 degrees Fahrenheit in order to stop botulism. To compensate for altitude differences, you must increase the amount of pressure used. The time does not change, only the pressure used.

Time and pressure information given in the recipes on this site is for elevations of 1000 feet or less.

Finding your elevation

What if you don't know your elevation? You would think with all the technology out there that there should be a site where you could plug in your address and find out your elevation. I have looked for one and just can't find any that are easy to use.

One option is to google "your town, your state, altitude". In my case the first result was a wikipedia article that included the elevation of my town. Another good option is to call your county extension agency and they may have some information for you. Cooperative Extension System Offices has a general listing of extension services by state here in the US. If there is no office listed for your town, just find the next closest one.

Be aware of altitude changes if you live in mountainous areas. In my case again, we live outside of town and are actually several hundred feet above the altitude of the closest town.

Adjustments

Pressure canners need an added 1/2 pound pressure for each 1,000 feet above sea level.
Adjustment for Pressure Canner
Altitude in Feet Dial Gauge Canner Weighted Gauge Canner
0-1000 10 10
1001-2000 11 15
2001-4000 12 15
4001-6000 13 15
6001-8000 14 15
8000-10,000 15 15


Water bath canning requires 2 minutes more time for each 1,000 feet above seal level.
Altitude Adjustments for Boiling Water Bath Canner
Altitude in Feet Increase processing time
1001-3000 5 minutes
3001-6000 10 minutes
6001-8000 15 minutes
8001-10,000 20 minutes


Use these charts to make adjustments to

  • Water Bath Canning
  • Pressure Canning.
  • Safety

    canning guide Canning Methods - which one to choose?
    Step by step: Pressure Canning
    Step by Step: Water Bath Canning
    Tomatoes Safety
    Unsafe Methods
    Spoiled Food
    Altitude Adjustments
    Botulism
    Sterilizing Canning Jars
    Canning Terms


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    Canning Books by Sharon

    I have attempted to share safe preserving methods. However, I make no promises. You alone are responsible for your health. Be aware of current safety recommendations.
    See my Full Disclaimer here.