The Jam and Jelly Lady

  (Lebanon, Ohio)
Yes You Can!
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Canning Tip #6: Which pressure canner is best for you?

Analog dial versus a weighted gauge - which is the best for pressure canning? 

I grew up using a weighted gauge canner.  My ears are well-tuned for listening to the pot "speak" through the jiggle of the gauge.  I know 30 feet away without looking at the pot whether the pressure is going a little too high.  One time the canner "told" me that the gasket had ripped by its insistent sputtering and spewing, and to abort the process until everything cooled and I could safely replace the gasket!  On the downside, these older canners are not as precisely made as the newer ones, and oftentimes even the newest gasket can't stop a little steam from escaping the sides of the canner.  Thus, it takes longer for the canner to reach pressure, and more energy to do so.  Time and energy...

I've got a new canner that I trust and am now selling through our cannery: the Presto 23-quart Pressure Canner.  It has an analog gauge - that is, you SEE the pounds of pressure by watching the dial (instead of listening to a jiggle). 

I have to stick pretty close to this pot as the pressure is rising to its optimum level because once the pressure begins to rise, it gains momentum quickly.  The new canner reaches pressure in about 1/2 the time of my older models (all Mirros) because the lid is very tight and doesn't leak any steam at all.  So even though I'm wary about walking too far from its side, I'm saving time and energy every day by using it!

OK, Presto, you owe me for this plug!  But seriously, this canner is a good bang for the buck.  And I also recommend the 23-quart over the 16-quart because it's only a few dollars more, but you can fit 18 pints compared to 9 pints. 

If you still have your older weighted gauge canner and you're comfortable with it, just remember to always have a spare gasket handy!  If you're using a newer, analog model, remember to take it to your county extension office once a year to have it recalibrated.  These gauges can lose their accuracy after many uses.  Happy canning!


Tips for Beginning Canners

Had a wonderful time Sat. teaching canning to a super groups of cooks from the Cincy area!  Thanks so much to Carol (the effervescent learner), Peggy (the inquisitive educator), Judy (Carol's generous and sweet friend), and Jennifer (the determined, gentle mother).  You women MADE the class so much better with your undying curiosity and genuine humor!  I truly loved working with you and "handing down" my knowledge to folks I know will treasure and share it!

Here's a tip that we talked a lot about in Saturday's class.  When looking at the mounds of tomatoes your garden produces this summer, don't get the idea of canning them all into salsa (USA's favorite condiment) without using a tested recipe.  I know, I know!  We all have a fresh salsa recipe that all our friends clamor for at cookouts and parties.  Yeah, a quart of it would make an unforgettable Christmas present!  But a fresh salsa recipe is not necessarily a canning recipe!  Safely canned salsa always contains vinegar to heighten the pH level.  Salsa without added vinegar or another acid source is not acidic enough.  Don't endanger your family and friends!  There are plenty of TESTED salsa recipes that you will really enjoy, i.e., The Ball Blue Book, etc.

No more class dates are firm at this point, but I'm planning one more all-day Saturday beginner's class in mid-May - before Sat. farmer's markets start up!  After that, the 6-hour Beginner's Class will be taught mid-week, either all-day or 2 week nights.  

Here are the Master's Class topics I have in mind for this summer:  1) Relishes  2) Curds  3) Pickling Fruit (watermelon rinds, pears, etc.)  4) Chutneys  5) Refresher Canning Course  6) Herbal Vinegars.  If any of these sound interesting or if you have any other topics in mind, please comment here or on our Facebook page (The Jam and Jelly Lady).  

Don't forget that I can't teach during the months of August, September, and December.  The cannery is too busy at those times catching up on the harvest and fulfilling gift orders.  But you can still make an appointment to purchase canning equipment at any time.

Thanks, again, ladies!   Hugs to you all! 

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