Why Test Your Pressure Canner Dial Gauge?
Is your dial gauge accurate? There are several reasons the calibration of a dial gauge may become inaccurate…being bumped or dropped, stored in extreme temperatures – hot or cold, or just from use. Even new gauges, whether it is a replacement gauge or a new canner, need tested before use.
Dial gauges on pressure canners need to be tested every year to make sure the pressure is reading correctly. If your gauge is off by more than two pounds (psi) it is not accurate and needs to be replaced or you will put those that eat your home canned food at risk for a foodborne illness such as botulism. If the dial gauge is off by two pounds or less an adjustment can be made. Weighted gauges do not need to be tested.
Once we have checked the dial gauge for accuracy and inspect the condition of the gauge (broken, cracked, rusty, does not return to zero, interior moisture) we look over the condition of the canner and lid if available. In doing so we inspect the gasket for wear and tear, including the safety plug and may recommend one or both be replaced. We check the safety valve/petcock (run a pipe cleaner through it) for a clear airway, look at the condition of the handles, and view the overall condition of the canner. Once completed you receive a dated pressure canner inspection report for your records which includes storage instructions.
Now that you understand an accurate gauge is essential for safety schedule an appointment with OSU Extension-Morrow County to get yours tested!
*FREE for residents of Morrow County – provided by your levy funds
- Pressure Canner Dial Gauge Testing – by appointment only
Food Preservation Canning Q & A
Q: I can’t find canning lids (flats) anywhere! What can I do?
A: Yes, there is currently a shortage of canning jar lids. First, don’t be tempted to reuse lids that have previously been processed. It is safe to use lids one time only. Lids will last about 5 years so be cautious when obtaining lids from friends and family that have been in storage.
This year you may consider freezing as an alternate method of food preservation.
Find more information and several helpful links at https://livehealthyosu.com/2020/08/24/where-have-all-the-canning-lids-gone/
Q: Is it safe to can in my electric multi cooker? It has a button for canning?
A: While there are a variety of electric multi cooker units on the market, there are many concerns about using them for home canning purposes. The recipes we recommend are tested and USDA approved following specific time and pressure requirements for processing. It is unknown if the process may be replicated in the multi cooker unit. Because time and temperature are essential in the safety of home canned products, the recommendation is to not use these units in home food preservation.
If you would like to read more details, check out https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/electric_cookers.html
Q: I have a smooth cooktop stove. Can I pressure can on my smooth cooktop?
A: This burning issue depends upon a lot of factors. Some manufacturers of smooth cooktops put conditions on canning while others say to not can on them. Some pressure canner manufacturers do not recommend using them on a smooth top.
Canners may exceed the maximum diameter pot allowed and water bath canners may not be flat enough to work well. Excessive heat can damage the cooktop and may even trigger an automatic cut-off on the burner, resulting in an under processed product.
Therefore, the recommendation is to consult your smooth top as well as your pressure canner manufacturer before making your decision. For more info visit https://go.osu.edu/canningonsmoothcooktop