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The Pueblo County Extension office provides assistance and programs for citizens in five main areas: Agriculture, Horticulture, Family and Consumer Science, Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Programs.

Pressure Canning   arrow

jars of home canned veggies What should be pressure canned?  Pressure canning is required for “low-acid” foods, such as: vegetables, meats, poultry, fish and pasta sauces.  Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that produces the botulism toxin cannot survive in acidic environments, but with low-acid foods, the additional heat provided through pressure canning is required to ensure the safety of the food
pressure canning dialsDial vs. Weighted.  There are 2 types of pressure canners, both of which can be safely used.  The first is a dial gauge, which uses a numerical dial to indicate the pressure inside the canner.  The dial can shift over time, so these should be tested annually in order to ensure accuracy.  The second type is a weighted gauge, which uses preset counterweights to hold certain pressures.  You can only hold pressure at 5, 10 or 15 psig, but these do not ever need to be calibrated or checked for accuracy.
two jars in pressure cannerHow much do you fill the canner?  The canner only needs to be filled with 2-3 inches of hot water.  Unlike the water bath canner, you are not using the water to boil the jars.  Instead, the pressure of the canner helps to convert the water into steam.  The longer the processing time, the more water you will want to add. 
pressure can lid1. Once your jars are filled and loaded in the canner with 2-3 inches of water, secure the lid.  Turn the stove to high. Heat until the water boils and steam flows freely through the open vent pipe.  Let steam flow continuously for 10 MINUTES.
digital timer2. After 10 minutes, place either the counterweight or weighted gauge on the vent pipe and allow the canner to pressurize.  For dial gauges, you can start timing your processing time when the dial reaches the recommended pressure.  For weighted gauges, you can start timing when the weighted gauge begins to jiggle or rock as the manufacturer describes. 
pressure canner3. When the processing time is complete, turn off the heat, remove the canner from heat and let cool and depressurize naturally.  DO NOT force the canner to cool or depressurize by removing the weight on the vent pipe
jars of green beans4. When the canner is completely depressurized, remove the weight from the vent pipe and wait for an additional 10 minutes.  At the end of 10 minutes, you can remove the lid and remove the jars from the canner.  Let them sit and cool for 24 hours undisturbed before storing.