The summer food preservation season will be here before we know it so it’s a good time to start getting ready. The National Center for Home Food Preservation offers tips for getting equipment ready for the season.
- A pressure canner is essential for canning low-acid vegetables, meats, fish, and poultry. Two basic types are available. One has a dial gauge to indicate the pressure inside the canner; the other has a metal weighted gauge. Dial gauges must be tested for accuracy before each canning season. Check the rubber gasket if your canner has one; it should be flexible and soft, not brittle, sticky or cracked. Also make sure any small pipes or ventports with openings are clean and open all the way through.
- A boiling water canner is needed for canning other foods such as fruits, pickles, jellies and jams. The canner should be deep enough to allow at least one to two inches of water to boil over the tops of the jars. Both types of canners should have a rack in the bottom to keep jars off the bottom of the canner.
- Inventory your jars and decide if you need to buy new jars this year. Inspect those you have for nicks, cracks or chips, especially around the top sealing edge. Nicks can prevent lids from sealing. Very old jars can weaken with age and repeated use; they break under pressure and heat.
- Purchase new flat lids. Used lids should be thrown away. The screw bands are re-usable if they are not bent, dented or rusted.
A final must is reliable, up-to-date canning instructions. The Recipes link on the Safe & Healthy site has links to resources from the University of Wisconsin Extension and other reliable sources.
Dial gauge canners must be tested each year for accuracy. Ordering information and a how-to guide is available for the Presto Testing Unit. County offices should plan now to send master dial gauges to Presto for calibration. A sample letter is available.
Remember, the Presto gauge testers are designed to be used only with lids from: Presto, Maid of Honor, Magic Seal, and National canners.
Interested in learning, or reviewing, how to test a dial gauge canner? There is a blog post and a link to a video to help you review.
Happy Spring…Safe Preserving! Barb