Basic Steps in Pressure Canning :
Always READ YOUR PRESSURE CANNER MANUAL AND TAKE NOTICE OF WHAT IT SAYS.
1. Have your pressure canner ready to go – clean and checked (inside rack, gauge and jiggler) then check that you have enough jars, rings, lids and other accessories you will need. Fill the canner with required amount of boiling water, and then sit on stove ready to be put back on the heat as soon as you are ready to begin filling your jars.
2. Thoroughly wash all your jars that you will use and band, then check jars for nicks or sharp edges on the rims that might prevent a good seal. Discard rusted and bent ring bands because they may not tighten on the jars properly as they are being processed and thus cause seal failure.
3. Scald jars, lids and rings and keep in very hot water until ready to use. Well this is what I was told to do and you can do this if you choose however I need to be careful of water in my home (being on tank water only) and so I wash my jars etc as above and then I put them on a tray in the oven and leave on low until I am ready to use them. My lids I keep in a small saucepan of hot water on the stove.
4. Fill clean hot jars one at a time. If necessary you can re immerse in the hot water. I usually take a couple of jars out of the oven at a time myself.
5. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace to allow for expansion when you fill your jars. Prior to popping the lid on the jar run around the inside of the jar of ingredients with a plastic spatula to remove any trapped pockets of air then wipe rim of jar with a clean damp cloth to remove any likelihood of food residue on the rim before covering with the lids. If the rims are covered in syrup or sauces they may not seal properly.
6. Remove lids as you fill each jar, from the hot water and place on jar followed by the screw bands, tighten the screw bands until it is tight but not so tight that you have trouble undoing it. Some say finger tight while others say hand tight. If the band is screwed on too tightly the jar will not seal and if it is not tight enough the lids may be forced off with the movement of the boiling liquid in both the canner and the jars. So have the lids tight but not excessively so. (now that should be as clear as mud) LOL
7. As each jar is filled set it into the canner of hot water on the stove, as you place the jars be sure to leave room between them so they can move freely
8. and not touch as the water boils and they rock a little. (I am sure they move though I can’t see this naturally, because they are often in a different position to what I put them in when I remove them)
9. Pop the lid on the canner. Securely, leave the weight of the vent port or open petcock. Heat at the highest setting on your stove until steam starts to gush from the vent port or petcock. It is important to vent the steam for at least 10 minutes.
10. Place weight on vent port or close petcock, the canner should begin to pressurize in the next 3 to 5 minutes.
11. Start timing the process when the pressure reading on the dial indicates that e recommended pressure has been reached or when the weight starts to jiggle/rock.
12. Regulate the heat under the canner to maintain a steady pressure reading either at or slightly above the stated correct gauge pressure for what you are processing.
13. The Presto canners should rock slowly through out the process. This may be an intermittent rock it is so slow. Also use a timer to indicate when the time is up, it is so much easier and more accurate then relying on your memory.
14. When the timed process is complete, turn off the heat and either leave where it is to cool and for the gauge to return to zero or remove the canner to another surface. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID UNTIL THE CANNER GUAGE READS ZERO (0) wait at least 2 to 5 minutes after this before opening.
15. After the canner has depressurized, remove the lid being careful to hold the lid away from you so that you do not get burnt by the sudden force of steam which will blow out if you open the lid soon after the gauge reaches zero, like I do.
16. Remove jars immediately after opening and place on a towel or wooden board on the counter leaving enough space between them for the air to flow around them. Avoid a drafty area and do not touch the jar lids or attempt to tighten them if they look like they have come a little loose. Jars should not be touched again until they are completely cool in 24 hrs time.
17. The liquid in the jars will be bubbling, this is perfectly normal. During the cooling process you will hear the delightful sounds of “pinging” as they seal.
18. Once cold you can check the seals to ensure they have remained sealed by both eye balling the jars to see if they look concaved and by pressing down in the centre of each jar to see if it stays down. The jar lids will also have a dull sound when tapped lightly.
19. Label each jar including name and date it was preserved.
20. Store jars with or with out rings in a cool dark place. I store with rings at the moment because they are more stable this way to double stack although once I have a pantry or store room again I shall place a thin sheet of ply between each layer and store with out the screw bands. Screw bands may rust particularly in humid conditions so it is a good idea to store the jars with out the bands on.
I hope this has been or will be of some assistance to all of you who are considering going down the route of pressure canning. Once you start using it and realise how many other possibilites are opening up in the preserving line as a result of doing this, you will want to make more.
Happy Days in the Kitchen