“Processing Foods In A Pressure Canner”
There are many advantages to processing foods to destroy all microorganisms in a pressure canner. First of all you do not need to sterilize the canning jars ahead of time, just make sure they are clean and the rims are free of chips or nicks.
All meats and fish, plus low acid foods such a most vegetables must be pressure canned to insure they are bacteria free. A bonus of pressure canning is the shortness of time in processing the foods.
Pressure canners cut the processing time down to minutes instead of hours like a water-bath canner. Water-bath canners like the old porcelain lined ones are only good for fruits and high acid vegetables.
Water-bath canners have to have the jars completely covered by at least an inch of water during the processing to insure all air is removed from the jars causing an air-tight seal when they are removed after the processing time is over.
Pressure canners use about an inch of water on the bottom of the canner and it is the live steam and high temperature that kills any Botulism in the food. Food canned by this method retain more natural flavors and color and if stored properly after processing have a life span that is in years. The filled jars rest on a small rack on the bottom of of the canner but cannot actually touch the sides of bottom of the canner, so leave plenty of room for the live steam to circulate.
Pressure canners are dangerous to use if not handled properly. Once the canner has reached proper pressure you musts monitor it constantly as the pressure can reach dangerous temperatures and pressure within minutes Many canners have had their lids blown up to the the ceiling and people burned due to scalding. Constant attention must be paid to the degree of pressure. When buying a pressure canner do not skimp on quality as bargain canners simply are not worth taking a chance on dangerous explosions. The only maintenance on canners of this type is occasionally replacing the rubber gasket on the lid when it no longer provides and air tight seal and steam escapes from under the lid. Fortunately these gaskets are fairly inexpensive. The pressure valve on top of the canner usually does not have to be replaced and lasts the lifetime of the canner.
The lid of a pressure canner cannot be removed until there isn’t any more live steam coming out of the vent on the top of the lid.
Due to the short processing time the advantages are many, but safety rules must be followed.
Pressure canning is the only way to be completely sure the food is Botulism free after canning.
Growing and preserving your own foods seem to be a declining hobby, but nothing is more rewarding than serving your family foods that you have grown yourself without unnatural chemicals and that is completely bacteria free and safe to eat.