Pressure Canner Testing Aids in Food Safety

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Pressure canner or cookerJust 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 dial gauge 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. N.C. Cooperative Extension, Randolph County Center has the equipment to test pressure canners with dial gauges.

With under-processing, even in a pressure canner, there’s a chance botulism spores may be present 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.

When canning, make sure you use recipes found in either the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning or So Easy to Preserve book. These are research-based recipes with proven processing times to make the product safe.

A free service to check the pressure canners with dial gauges will be held through the months of June-August at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Randolph County Center at 1003 South Fayetteville Street in Asheboro.

In order to follow safety guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19, we are requesting you drop off your dial-type gauge canners at our office for testing. Once they have been tested, sanitized, and bagged, we will contact you about pick-up. Remember to please just bring the lid, not the pot and it will be checked at no cost.

If you have any questions, please call 336.318.6000.