These are general pressure canning directions. Each recipe will be a bit different in how the food is prepared for processing. Links to more specific canning recipes are at the bottom of this page.
Time needed will be given in the recipe. Again, be sure to adjust for altitude.
Check your gauge often. In pressure canning, you must maintain the correct pressure. If the pressure drops below the recommended level, start your time over. ~ Bummer ~ I hate it when that happens! Yes, I've done it.
The best way to avoid this mistake is to make it a point to stay in the kitchen and do other stuff, checking the gauge occasionally. You can be cleaning up or getting your next load ready. Take a break! You deserve it. Have a cup of coffee or tea or ice cold water! Put your feet up.
When time is up, turn off the heat. Do not remove weights or open petcock. Let the canner set until pressure comes back to zero.
NOW is the time you can leave the kitchen. DO NOT try to speed up the cooling process by pouring cold water over the canner or using some other artificial method. Just let the canner cool and release pressure all by itself.
When the pressure in the canner is at zero, pressure is released, so you may now remove the weight or open the vent. Then wait 2 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.
Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars (again, no tilting) and set upright on a wooden board or a thick towel to cool. Be sure they are in a draft-free area and leave 1-2 inches of space between each jar so air can circulate.
Pressure Canning Questions:
Can you over process foods?
Greetings! I just used my Presto pressure canner for the first time.
I'm trying it out on my enchilada sauce (no meat). Is there a problem if
the pressure is ABOVE the stated level the entire time? I know below
would cause a start over. I found you on FB and want to also say THANK YOU for all your great recipes and help :)
If your pressure goes over, it is still safe. Of
course, you don't want to go too much over, and some foods will be
overcooked if you go over a lot when pressure canning. But it is safe. You are correct that
if it goes under, you need to start your time over. That is always a bummer!
I hope this helps.
How much water do I need to use in a pressure caner?
by Hillbilly Homer
How much water do I need to use in a pressure caner? Ive been using 3"-4" for my quarts and I was told that I needed to fill the caner up to the lids. Is this right?
When you are pressure canning, you put about 3 quarts of water in before your jars. When you place your jars, the water will come about halfway up your jars or possibly to the shoulders.
For some items that have a really long processing time (corn and meats), I will start with 4 quarts of water instead of 3 quarts. I just feel like it ensures that my canner will not run dry.
Is annual checking of the pressure gauge necessary?
I have recently read that you should have your pressure gauge checked each year, but it seems as if people who I know, who have been canning for years, are not really doing that. Is it really necessary to have that gauged checked each year?
Yes, you should have your pressure canner gauge tested each year.
The USDA recommends that gauges be checked every year. That way, you will know that the gauge is reading correctly for pressure canning.
I confess I also used to skip having my gauge read. But I decided to have it checked one year just because it had been awhile. I found out that my gauge was not reading correctly! Not a good thing.
Now I go ahead and do it regularly. Better safe than sorry.
Check with your local Ace Hardware Store. Ours has a canning day each year. The local extension comes and checks gauges for a discounted rate. They offer advice and recipe booklets too.
What should my pressure cooker sound like?
I am using a pressure cooker for the first time. I have read the instructions at least 12 times. I finally got enough courage to use it today. The instructions say, "when the control jiggles vigorously, reduce heat..."
Can I assume that the loud and, quite frankly, frighting hissing was the "jiggling vigorously" the instructions speak of? I have a 22 qt. MIRRO.
Shari, your question made me smile! I never think of the hissing as being frightening. :0 But I suppose if you have not used a pressure canner and are not sure what it is supposed to do, it could be kinda nerve racking.
Yes, if the sound was loud and frightening, I would definitely say it is time to reduce your heat. It will rock back and forth letting steam out at each rock. This is what is releasing the steam, preventing the pressure from getting too high.
Filling the pressure canner
I am new to pressure canning but have started canning a few things. My question is do I have to fill the canner up? Can I just do say 2-3 jars?
Just curious as I wanted to can some beef from my freezer but didn't have enough to fill the canner. BTW it need to be cooked as its been in the freezer about 5-6 months.
Yes, you can run a partially filled load while pressure canning. It is more efficient to have a full canner, but if you only have 4 jars and you really need to get it processed, it is perfectly safe to do so.
You need to follow the same instructions as if you had a full load. Do not reduce the time or pressure.
Pressure canning an already Water Bath Sealed Jar
Last summer I used a recipe for stewed tomatoes for the internet. The woman said she always used a water bath for this particular recipe. I did the same and got a great seal. Before we ever used them I started reading other posts on line that said stewed tomatoes needed to be pressure canned, (which I have never done by the way, but do own a pressure canner given as a gift).
My question is ....Now that I'm nervous about this, can I recan these jars in the pressure canner? They still have a great seal which tells me they canned properly...the only thing I'm concerned about is if the recanning with the pressure canner would kill any bad bacteria from the peppers and celery and onions that may be there.
Unfortunately, since they were canned so long ago, I don't believe it would be recommended that you reprocess at this point. If you discovered your error within 24 hours, it is safe, but not after this length of time.
What's the difference between a pressure canner and a pressure cooker?
These are two very different things, and they are NOT interchangeable. Pressure cookers cook food directly under pressure. They're more like a slow cooker of sorts, with one of the most popular versions today being the Instant Pot. A pressure canner is a canner that's used to process canning jars full of food for food preservation purposes. A pressure canner and pressure cooker are not interchangeable. Read more about canning in a pressure cooker here.
Sound of the Weighted Gauge? Could you please help me. I bought a MIRRO 16 quart pressure canner, model number 92116, brand new earlier this year. No matter what I do, I cannot get my weight to jiggle. It lifts off the vent, spins while releasing steam then sets back onto the vent. In about 15/16 counts, it does it again.
I can't find any information on it saying if this is normal or I'm doing something wrong. Would you happen to know if this is normal for this make of canner? Thank you so very much. I'm about ready to beat it with a sledge hammer.
I don't have a Mirro, but yes, I would think that is normal. If it lifts up, and releases steam...consider that a jiggle. My All American also does a weird hissing-type jiggle. The point is that the weight is releasing steam, indicating that the pressure has reached whatever poundage you are working with.
Double stacking pint jars
My canning book says that I can double stack pint jars in my pressure canner. Do I need to have
a rack or something between the jars or can I simply place the jars on top of one another?
Yes, you do need to have a rack between your jars when they're double stacked for pressure canning. You can purchase another rack just like the one that came with your canner or use some other type of rack.
How lucky you are that your canner will fit two layers!
This page has ideas for other things to use for racks. Maybe they will give you ideas of what you may already have: Canning racks.
double stacking pint jars
Do i need to add more water in double stacking pint jars?
No, you use the same amount as if you had one layer. The reason is that the pressure build up is what processes the food and jars. The amount of water is the same.
Uncovering The Steam Vent
I've always heard that when the pressure canner has done its work, you should let it cool down completely without doing anything to hurry it along, like taking the weight off the steam vent, for example.
I admit that I have done that a few times, and I noticed that when I did, the bubbling sound inside the canner got noticably louder. I have also noticed that some broth from inside the jars has been pulled out into the canner.
My questions are:
1. Why does it matter if I take the weight off the steam vent to hurry cooling?
2. Why do I get broth from inside the jars pooling in the canner even though I left plenty of head space?
3. Are these two things related?
Yes, the two things are related. If the jars cool too quickly, they will expand and push liquid out. Not sure of the science behind it, but I do know it happens when pressure canning.
I've also read that jars can break if cooled to quickly.
The other reason it is important to let the canner cool by itself is timing. When the USDA tests to see how long foods need to be pressure canned, they include the cool down time in the total cooking time. So if you cool the canner artificially, you are also shortening the total cooking time.
You should be letting the canner cool all by itself. When the pressure is back to zero, open the vents and wait two minutes. Then you can remove the lid. It will still be hot! Be sure it is tilted away so the steam doesn't hit you in the face.
Sometimes, I notice my jars are really bubbling hard still after I've opened the canner. I'll often leave my jars in the canner for 2 or 3 minutes more when that happens. This allows them to cool more, before removing them from the heat.
pressure canning instructions
I am new to canning and I made a batch of beef stew in my pressure canner. I followed the directions regarding times and pressure (pints 75 minutes at 11 pounds). I let it cool properly. I am finding there is a burnt taste to my stew. I am hoping that this isn't the case with all of my other canned foods... How disappointing!
Any ideas for making sure this doesn't happen again?
Thanks in advance.
Is it safer to use a pressure canner for all home canning?
I do a lot of canning as I have a 3/4 acre+, organic vegetable and fruit and medicinal herb garden. I have asked the question a lot whether it is better/safer to use a pressure canner for ALL canning, low or high PH foods.
I can never get a straight answer. Its always just you don't need to use a pressure canner for low PH foods such as fruit jams.
I have both water canner & pressure canner, neither one is any more or less time consuming to use. So would it not be safer to use the pressure canner for all canning??
Please let me know if you have the straight answer...Thanks alot, love your site...Tony
I can only tell you my opinion. I don't believe either one is any safer, provided it is used correctly. It is much safer for veggies and meats to be pressure canned. For fruits, pickled items, or any high-acid foods, it would be your choice.
If you want to pressure can everything, that is fine, but I can't really say it is "safer." It certainly won't hurt anything to use pressure canning, as long as you are using correct pressure and time for your food type.
Finding correct information on how to pressure can high-acid foods is the key. You still need to use appropriate and tested times and pressures for those high-acid foods.
I always use a water bath canner for high-acid foods so I don't have pressure canning information for them on Simply Canning. My new pressure canner (a 921 All American) has directions for some jams and fruit.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some foods that are traditionally water bath canned may end up mushy in the pressure canner. Salsa is one that I can think of. Pickles are another. Come to think of it, so would fruits like peaches and apricots.
Mushy foods might just be the reason to keep you using your water bath.
I hope that helps.
pressure canning all ?
I just made apple jelly and while my partially filled jar that I stuck in the refrigerator turned out perfect... My jelly that I pressure canned turned out liquidy. I am going to have to redo them all so I would say.. I should have stuck with water bath for them.
I pressured them since I was doing tomato sauce at the same time and thought it would save time! NOT the case at all... now I have to reset them all! Hope my mistake helps someone!
Is it safer to use a pressure canner for all home canning?
In your response to Tony you state foods like meats and vegetables should be pressure canned. Yet at the end of you response you state salsa may get mushy. Does this mean we shouldn't pressure can salsa (it is all veggies)? Thanks!!
From a Rookie Canner
Since salsa is acidified when you add vinegar, it is safe for a water bath canner. But the catch is you need to use a tested recipe so you know you have added enough acid.
"Help - My Pressure Canner Isn't Sealing!"
Pressure canner not sealing.
I'm using a pressure canner, but it seems the steam is coming out around the lid. Not sure if it has a good seal? and will the jars be ok for eating.
If the pressure is not building, then your jars will not be sterilized.
I'd suggest turning the canner off. If there is any pressure, let it release itself, then carefully remove the lid (always tilt it away so steam doesn't hit you in the face). Check the seal and see if it is twisted or dirty or anything. Then try it again.
If it still won't seal, you may need to buy a new gasket before pressure canning.
If it does seal, then be sure to start your time over for your food. It needs to process for the entire time suggested.
I hope that helps.
All American Pressure Canner Leaks
I have a very large pressure canner with no gasket.
It has big screw down nobs all around it. I bought it because I knew in time I would have to replace gaskets that would be hard to find.
It is leaking moisture now. Twice i lost all the water and was left with a carmelly mess to chisel off the bottom of my canner. I did manage to reach the proper pounds for the proper number of minutes. I expect to do some dear meat soon and I know this isn't going to work for the hour and half it will take to can it. My canner is made of aluminum. I don't know what to do.
It sounds as if you have an All American Canner. This link goes to a page about the All American and some reader reviews.
Try very lightly greasing the edge of the canner with cooking oil before you place the lid.
Be sure you also need to screw the nuts down evenly, working from opposite sides so the lid sits level.
Try these things first with just water in the canner to see if it works before you process another pressure canning load.
You might try calling the manufacturer. If you have the book that comes with the canner, there should be a number or just do a search online. Assuming it is an All American Canner, I've heard they have good customer service.
Your suggestion worked
I used your suggestion to put a little vegetable oil on my All American pressure cooker lid so it would seal. Thank you it worked! My cooker now does seal and comes up to pressure. Thank you for the suggestion.
I found this All American at a thrift store for a very low price. I figured it had some issue but I was willing to take the chance. It wouldn't hold pressure because of leaking around the seal. It now works as good as new. This was one of those $15 miracles.
You are a life saver.
Oh, my goodness! $15.00! What a deal! I love thrift stores!
I went to process a big batch of soup last night only to find that steam was escaping from the lid of the canner. I let it depressurize and sure enough it seems like the gasket has shrunk. I left the jars to cool for a moment and then refrigerated without touching the lids or bands. If I am able to replace the gasket today is it safe to reprocess my soup? Can I do so and leave the jars how they are or do I need to use new lids/ etcetera... the canner never gained any pressure.
Yes, it would be safe to reprocess your soup. However, you'd need to reheat it and rejar it. The soup needs to be hot going into the canner. As far as your lids, take a look at the seals. If they are not indented, they should be okay to use again for pressure canning.
Please keep in mind this is subjective. It really depends on the condition of the seal. The safest bet is to use new lids...but I'd hate to waste them. Use your own judgment.
Is my chicken usable? Or a waste?
I have an All American 921 and I was canning chicken when the pressure cooker began letting steam out of the sides. The pressure got all the way up to where I needed it then started to drop about 30 minutes into the process and I couldn't get it back up.
My meat looks cooked but obviously not long enough. It's been over 24 hours. Can I bag and freeze the chicken to be cooked in casseroles? I did sterilize my jars before use, although unnecessary, and I am hoping my meat is alright to use in some way.
Unfortunately, since it has been over 24 hours, I'd not trust it.
Canner is not sealing.
I have a new gasket, but there is steam escaping around the lid. Help!
The only suggestion I have is to be sure the gasket is clean and the lid where the gasket sits is clean. I've not had problems before with new gaskets, but if all else fails, try getting another one. If it works fine, then perhaps the leaking one is bad. Ask at the store...they may take it back and refund.
Steam escaping but pressure holding
It's my first time pressure canning and I have one of these canners also. Steam is escaping out the edges of the lid, but the pressure I need is still holding steady. So, I'm going to assume that everything is ok. Ok, Sharon??? Next time I'll try the oil, and tightening the screws more evenly.
And boy, it sure is heating up the house!
As long as you are able to reach pressure for the full processing time, it should be okay. Yes, canning does heat up the house! Not much can be done about that. :0)
Pressure canner leaking steam
I had the same issue with steam escaping from around the lid and never sealing.
We found out that after the pressure has built up, if we tap gently on the lid where the steam is coming out, it stops leaking. (We use a meat tenderizer to do this as it is handy, but a rubber mallet would work too.)
If we tapped on the lid before the pressure built up, nothing happens, so we have to wait.
how do I test the gasket on my pressure canner
I was recently given a used pressure canner and was told the gasket that seals it may need to be replaced. It looks ok to me but I don't know what its suppose to look like. How do I test it? Would I just put some water in it and let the pressure come up with no leaks? I'll be canning vegetables.
Yes, you can just add 3 quarts of water and go ahead and heat it up to the pressure you'd use when canning. This way, you will know if it works before you have a bunch of food waiting to be preserved.
The gasket should be rubbery and not stiff or brittle. If you see cracks or areas that look dry, I'll bet it won't seal for you.
Testing beforehand is your best bet.
Pressure Canner Leaking Steam
I'm stumped. I found a Mirro pressure canner at a garage sale for $6.
I've canned in a water bath canner many times, but I really want to start canning green beans and other things now too. The rubber gasket looked perfect (not brittle or broken at all) and the canner looked like it was barely used.
So, because I'm a newbie, I tried out the canner without any food in it. Just 3 quarts of water and a little vinegar.
Once the water started boiling, I noticed quite a bit of steam escaping out of on side. I cooled it down and rubbed some vegetable oil all over the rubber gasket.
When I tried it again, it still leaked steam. What should I do?
That was a wise decision to test the canner before you had a bunch of food ready to be processed. It sounds as if you do need to buy a new gasket for pressure canning.
If you don't have the book that comes with the canner, check the bottom and see if there is a model number or something.
Amazon usually has gaskets for pressure canners.
Thanks to Sharon
Your tip for the leaking All-American canner worked great. It's been such a headache until know. Who knew - a little oil was all it needed!
You are very welcome! Ah, you made my day. I love it when I can help.
Not enough pressure
I have a Presto 23 Qt. canner. I haven't used it for several years. I tried doing 8 pints of green beans today and had difficulty getting the canner to reach pressure. I turned the canner off and put some cooking oil around the seal ring and tried again.
With the 1st batch and the second, there was no leaking around the lid. However, I found I didn't have the heat high enough the first time.
By the way, I have a glass top stove, which I really don't care for. Anyway, the second time, after 40+ minutes it reached about 6 lbs of pressure. I finally gave it up. I guess I'll just freeze the beans in the jars after they cool.
Is it my seal ring or the stove?
It could be the stove. I don't have one, but from what I've read, they actually fluctuate the heat up and down. If you were not loosing steam around the lid, then it is probably not the gasket.
Other things to check: The weights. Were they damaged in any way? Or the pipe on the canner lid where the weight sits, is the end dented or anything?
I have have done a lot of pressure canning but never meat. I ran out of water part way through the canning so I let it cool down and then I add more water and brought it back up to pressure and timed it for the full length of time just to be sure. A second time it ran out of water.
I was tired by then so I let them cool and I put them in the fridge. They are all sealed but I know they are not safe.
Can I re-pressure can them this morning, it hasn't been 24 hours, but it would be the third try and this time I will put 4 quarts of water instead of the 2 or 2 1/2 that I was before.
Thanks for your help.
At this point, since that chicken is well cooked, I'd freeze it and try pressure canning again with new chicken. And like you said, using some extra water is a good idea.
I have two pressure canners a single loader 16 quart.and a double loader 22 qts....they are both Mirrors...one leaks pressure around the lid..(the smaller one) the larger does not...both take the same type gasket..or seal.....I have used the gasket from the larger non leaker on the smaller one..but it still will not hold pressure and leaks steam and water from under the lid...since they use the same gasket...why is the smaller one still not holding pressure and the larger one is working ok??? ..What could be wrong with the smaller canner??
I don't know for sure why the gasket would work on one canner and not the other (assuming the canners take the same size gasket). One guess is that the rim of the smaller canner has a ding or dent in it? This would prevent the gasket from sealing. Check the rim carefully and see if it was hit and ended up dented.
Hi Sharon, I was given a presto 13q. canner. The seal is good, and it vents fine, however, once I put the weight on it, it will not come up to pressure. It either continues to vent through the lock, or when the lock pops up, it just sits and boils. but the weight does not rock. I have cleaned the weight with a baby bottle brush to make sure it isn't gummed up. Any other thoughts as to why it won't pressurize?
Jo, it sounds like you've checked all the things I would mention. My only suggestions is to go ahead and get a new gasket and see if the seal is leaking just enough that you can't really see any steam, but it is preventing pressure.
Otherwise, if you have a knowledgeable local extension, you might want to have them take a look at it and see if they can detect any issues.
Tapping solved it!!!!
Thank you to the person who suggested lightly tapping lid once pressure built up. Mine was leaking and I lightly tapped the lid and it stopped and held pressure!
I have an All American 921 pressure canner. When canning consecutive batches of food I run into the same problem with the seal. The first batch no leaks or escaping steam. Second batch is a nightmare. Steam escapes and my temper rises. I have tried light oil on the rim. I always make sure the lid is equal all around before tightening and always let it vent for 10 mins. before putting on pressure gauge. I have not tried the rubber mallet, but I sure have thought of a sledge hammer after 3 hrs of frustration.
Canner not pressuring
I have a 13 qt presto canner for the last two years. I changed the gasket late last summer and only used it once with no problem. Today I tried to can 8 pints of green beans but the canner wouldn't build any pressure at all. I tried adjusting the gauge and the weight and still nothing. After 1 hour and 40 minutes, I gave up. I'm not sure what is wrong, especially as I have canned beans just fine in the past. Moreover, what do I do with these beans? Because of my work schedule, I won't be able to try again for 16 hours. I don't want to throw them away; can I freeze them or try canning them again?
Yes, you can freeze these beans. It sure seems that the gasket should still be good if you just got it last year. Maybe it is not sitting straight in the lid?
Canning meat, looking for information
I just came across this sight and was glad I did. thanks for all the useful information.
I was at a loss. I'm trying to can my chicken stock and the canner wouldn't seal, there was steam coming from one spot on the lid. After a couple of hours of despair, I got on here and after finding the tap the lid suggestion, I asked my husband to smack it for me. It worked!! My chicken broth is canning as we speak. Thank you so much!
I found a Burpee canner like the one with big screw downs and an actual attached pressure gauge at a yard sale for $10.00. It works like a dream!
It's huge and I love it. It even still had the original papers and baskets!
Sharon, I found out it wasn't the canner that had the pressure problem. It was my stove burner going out, and not heating properly.
Thank you for helping me figure it out.