There are 5 important steps pressure canning your food:
- Wash supplies ahead of time, keep the jars hot until ready to use by running them through the dishwasher or simmering over medium heat in a large stock pot. Fill the pressure canner with 2 to 3 inches of water, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Keep water at a simmer until jars are filled and placed in the canner. Be sure the pressure canner is working properly prior to preparing the food. Remember to check that the digital pressure gauge is functioning properly.
- Prepare the recipe for what you are canning. Fill the jars using a wide funnel and remove air bubbles from the jar. Be sure to wipe drips and spills off the rim and outer edge of the jar and then put the lid on and screw the band down until finger tight.
- Place the filled jars on the jar rack in the pressure canner. When moving jars with a jar lifter place firmly below the ring band of the lid to lift properly. Lock the canner lid in place leaving the vent pipe open. Adjust heat to medium-high. Once there is a steady stream of steam escaping from the vent pipe, vent for an additional 10 minutes to ensure there is no air left in the canner. Gradually adjust the heat to achieve and maintain the recommended pounds of pressure.
- Process the jars at the recommended pounds of pressure for the processing time indicated on the preserving recipe. Then, remove the pressure canner from the heat and let stand undisturbed until pressure returns to zero naturally. Wait 10 minutes, then remove the weight and unlock the lid, tilting away from yourself. Wait another 10 minutes to allow jars to begin to cool. NOTE: If pressure level falls below the recommended amount at any time during the process, bring pressure back up to required level and start the process over from the beginning to ensure safety of the food.
- Remove the jars from the pressure canner and set upright on a towel to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Do not retighten the bands as this may interfere with the sealing process. Once the jars are completely cool press the center of each lid. If it is properly sealed the lid will not flex or pop. Put any unsealed jars in the fridge to use immediately and store the rest in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
Know before you go! Download our full materials checklist: