If you intend to can both low-acid and high-acid foods, you should have both a Pressure Canner and a Boiling Water Canner.
- A Pressure Canner is a must for canning low-acid vegetables, meat, fish and poultry. Two types are available: one has a dial gauge to indicate the pressure inside, the other has a metal weighted gauge. You MUST test your gauges for accuracy before each canning season. Remember – proper equipment in good condition is ESSENTIAL. Also – check the rubber gasket if your canner has one, it should be soft and flexible – not cracked, brittle or sticky. Make sure any vents or pipes with openings are clean and open all the way through.
- A Boiling Water Canner is needed for canning other foods, such as fruits, pickles, jams and jellies. It should be deep enough to allow at least 1 to 2 inches of water to boil over the tops of the jars.
Both types of canners should have a bottom rack to keep jars off the bottom of the canner.
Inventory your jars and decide if you need new jars this year. Inspect for chips, nicks or cracks, especially around the top sealing edge. Very old jars can weaken with repeated use and age; they will break under pressure and heat. Canning jars can be found in your local supermarket – watch for sales and specials if you’re considering investing in new jars this season. New jars will be a better investment in the long run than buying used jars at flea markets or yard sales.
- Mason-type jars specifically designed for home canning are best. Jars that use two-piece self-sealing metal lids are the recommended container in USDA guidelines.
A MUST every season is new flat lids – used lids should be thrown away. The screw bands are re-usable if they are not bent, rusted or dented.
A final essential for the upcoming canning season is reliable, up-to-date canning instructions. Information and instructions are available via the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Be sure to look over the instructions for what you plan to can well before you are ready to do so. You may need to acquire additional ingredients and other equipment that are necessary to preparing the food according to the instructions. Another recommended resource to use is the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.
Planning ahead for this canning season will save you time, money and frustration!
Are you ready? Join us for a successful canning season and say with us…
Yes – We CAN!
* Information published by the National Center for Home Food Preservation and prepared by Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D., Extension Food Safety Specialist, The University of Georgia. March 2011.