Pressure Canner Testing

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Just as recipes are handed down from generation to generation and, in some families, so is the equipment needed to prepare them.

Pressure Canners are no exception. Many pressure canners are passed down or bought at estate or yard sales. Often there’s no way to know if they are working properly without being tested. Even new canners should be tested to ensure the safety of the food being processed.

Pressure canners with dial gauges should be tested yearly to check for accuracy. The Randolph County Center of the N.C. Cooperative Extension has the equipment to test pressure canners with dial gauges.

Vegetables will soon be ready for canning and the Extension Service is ready to aid families in their efforts to assure food safety.

With under-processing, even in a pressure canner, there’s a chance botulism spores may be presents in the cans. Using a boiling water canner is not recommended for vegetables because it poses an even greater risk for botulism poisoning. Because many families still can their own vegetables, they need to make sure it is done properly and that the pressure canners must be accurate. If a dial gauge reads higher than the actual pressure, then the food inside may be under-processed.

Pressure canners with weighted-type gauges (or jiggler-style) instead of dial gauges aren’t tested. These gauges are supposed to maintain their accuracy.

Green beans and tomatoes are among the most popular vegetables for home canning. Because of their low acidity, vegetables such as green beans must be processed in a pressure canner. Meat, poultry, and seafood must also be processed in a pressure canner.

In addition to testing pressure canners with dial gauges, the Cooperative Extension also has several publications with the updated U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations for home canning. The U.S.D.A. changed many of their canning recommendations in the late 1980s.

A free service to check the pressure canners with dial gauges will be held during the months of May and June at the Randolph County Center. You must call 336-318-6000 to make an appointment. The Randolph County Center is located at 112 West Walker Avenue in Asheboro. Just bring the lid, not the pot and it will be checked at no cost. To make an appointment or for more information call 336-318-6000.