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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pressure Canning Trouble Shooting

I have decided that I like to can with a pressure canner that has a weighted gauge rather than a dial. I'll admit that I've never tried a dial gauge, but with young kids and a short attention span, I would probably forget to keep an eye on the dial. If I hear noise every once in a while I don't forget that I'm canning.

I have run into a problem though with my canner. I tend to over pressurize things, which leads to some overflow. I think I have figured out that the problem is that my stove burners aren't level which in turn throws off the weighted gauge.

To attempt to solve this problem, I am trying to level out my burners by putting coins underneath the plate. This helps a bit, but I don't think that I have just the right adjustment yet. I will keep fidling with it and hopefully get it figured out within the next couple of batches. If all else fails, I'll start canning some water with food coloring to check for overflow.

I just don't think I can bring myself to using a dial though. Any thoughts?  (** Added later - I now use washers to level out my canner, and it has done the trick!)

Tools of My Trade  
Much of what I preserve is pressure canned due to their low acidity in order to kill all bacteria that would cause dangerous food born illnesses. They can be safely canned by using the recommended times and pressures given for your altitude. I have a couple older Mirro pressure canners given to me that work wonderfully, and my mom has a newer one that she loves as well. If you do some asking around, you might find someone who has given up canning and has one available, or you can look for one like the one pictured below. It should hold around 9 pint jars or 7 quart jars.


McKrola Family said...

I have never used a weighted gauge.. I have used the dial. I don't feel like I have to stand there and watch it ever second... when it finally reached the correct pressure then I just turn it down and adjust until it holds stable.

Good luck getting your burners level. Smart to use the coins.

Joy said...

I also use a dial. I just brought my pressure canner out after a 2 yr break. I forgot to turn the burner temp down.. that would have been easier. I was checking it every 10 minutes to adjust it.
Unfortunately I have a flat top stove so I have a separate burner I plug in just for my pressure canner.

Sue said...

I have always used the type of canner you are, I was told that it is more accurate than the dials because just a small bang or thump of the dial when storing, etc. can affect it's accuracy.

Most stoves have leveling feet so I would put a level on the stove and make sure it is level side to side and front to back. They are easily adjusted without having to pull the entire thing out.

If you continue to have some spill over just put a little less in each jar, that would allow a bit more headspace while processing.


lhjf75 said...

I bought a pressure canner last year and it has both a dial and a wieght so what kind of canner do i have.

Esther said...

I have seen special burner attachments that are designed to hold the weight of a pressure cooker...probably more expensive than the 75 cents you have there :)

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for all of your suggestions! There is some tweaking I can do with the stove legs, but it looks like the stove top is a bit bowed - sinking in towards the middle. I'll see what I can do with the legs, and hopefully I won't need quite as many quarters to finish the job!

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