Toi Degree: Have your pressure canner checked

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 16, 2015

By Toi N. Degree

Rowan Cooperative Extension

Canning season is right on our heels, which means it is time to pull out those canners and give them a tune up before beginning to can.  Today’s pressure canner may have a dial gauge for indicating the pressure or a weighted gauge, for indicating and regulating the pressure.

Weighted gauges will either keep rocking gently or make a frequent jiggling noise to indicate that the correct pressure is being maintained. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions to know how a particular weighted gauge should rock or jiggle. Weighted gauges do not require testing.

Check dial gauges for accuracy before use each year. Gauges that read high cause under-processing and may result in unsafe food. Low readings cause over-processing. Pressure adjustments can be made if the gauge reads up to 2 pounds high or low. Replace gauges that differ by more than 2 pounds.

Free canner testing is available — just bring your pressure canner lid with gauge for testing while you wait. There is no need to bring the entire canner —just the lid with gauge is all that’s needed. Also bring your rubber gaskets and safety valves so that they, too, can be inspected to make sure they are in good operating condition as well.

American cannier owners, please be advised that you do not need to have the gauge tested. The instructions that accompany these canners state that users are to use the weight when canning.  The dial is just to indicate that pressure is back to 0 before opening. You are to follow the 5, 10 or 15 pound directions as you would for any other weighted canner.

I will begin testing dial gauge pressure canner lids each Thursday in June and July beginning Thursday, June 18, between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon. We are located at the Rowan Agriculture Center on Old Concord Road. You may reach our office at 704-216- 8970. You may call ahead to make an appointment or just stop by during the hours mentioned above.

Replacement gauges and other parts (e.g. gasket, safety plugs) for canners are often found at stores that sell food preservation equipment or from canner manufacturers.  If ordering parts from a manufacturer, be sure to provide your canner model number and describe the parts you need.

For more information on canning or other food and nutrition topics, contact Toi Degree at 704-216-8970 or  Toi N. Degree, Family and Consumer Education Agent, North Carolina Cooperative Extension; Rowan County Center.