I have been using a pressure canner for 11 years now.
My Aunty bought me a Presto Pressure canner for my birthday around
the same time as a friend gave me Sally Wise book a year on the
farm and I fell in love with the process of preserving food for the larder.
A Pressure canner is a special stove top unit that can reach high temperatures and pressure.
It is a small compact version of the machine used commercially to can foods.
This process is different from waterbath canning,
which is used for preserving high-acid foods like fruits and
pickles or by adding sugar and vinegar to help preserve.
Pressure canning is necessary for low-acid foods like vegetables,
meats, and fish, which can harbor dangerous bacteria like
botulism. Using the pressure canner means we can preserve our fruit, veg and meat by using
only water and no additives like sugar or salt unless for flavor.
The main difference between pressure canning and waterbath canning
is the temperature and pressure required to safely preserve food.
water bath canning involves boiling jars of food in a large pot of
water for a specific amount of time. This process is effective
for high-acid or sugared foods because the acidity/Sugar prevents the growth of
However, low-acid foods require higher temperatures and pressure
to eliminate any potential bacteria growth. Pressure canning involves
placing jars of food in a special canner that can reach
temperatures and pressures of up to 15 PSI.
This high heat and pressure ensure that all bacteria are
destroyed, making the food safe for long-term storage.
When pressure canning, it is important to follow specific
instructions for each type of food.
Each canning unit has easy to follow guidelines for pressure canning different foods,
including vegetables, meats, and fish. These guidelines ensure
that the food is safe to eat and that the canning process is
effective. It is recommended you only use specific canning jars but we have
never had any issues using recycled jars and water bath fowlers jars in our units.
One of the benefits of pressure canning is that it allows for
the preservation of a wider variety of foods. Low-acid foods
like meats, beans, and soups can be safely canned using
this method. Pressure canning also allows
for longer storage times, with canned foods lasting up
three years or more.
Pressure canning is a safe and effective way
to preserve low-acid foods for long-term storage. Its not as scary or complicated as it seems
units can be expensive these days but ours has never missed a beat in 11 years so a worthy investment particularly for
those off grid who don't have refrigeration.
While waterbath canning is great for high-acid
foods and we still use it regularly the pressure canner allows for preserving a wider
variety of foods. It is great for making quick convenient meals like our own soups and sauces
that we can grab on busy days. We even use it to make our own canned beans from cheap dried beans
saving us time and money at the grocery store.