Home canning equipment
Proper equipment in good condition is required for safe, high quality, home-canned foods.
Pressure canners are required for canning low-acid vegetables, meats, fish and poultry. The large kettle has a jar rack, a lid that locks in place, a safety valve, a vent, and gauge. Gauges indicate inside pressure and are either dial gauges, or metal weighted gauges.
Dial gauges must be tested for accuracy each canning season.
Check the cover's gasket and make sure it is flexible and soft. If it is brittle or cracked, replace it. Make sure vent openings are clean and open. Follow manufacturer instructions, because new canners have new instructions.
Boiling water canners
Fruits, pickles, jellies and jams are processed in boiling water canners. The canner should be deep enough to allow at least 1 to 2 inches of water to boil over the jar tops. It must have a tight-fitting lid and a rack to keep jars off its bottom.
Use only standard, home canning jars that seal properly, are durable for repeated use, and safe to use in pressure canners. Inspect for nicks, cracks or chips, especially around the sealing edge. Jars weaken if banged against each other; if a metal knife touches the bottom or side; if jars were scoured with steel wool; or used in the freezer. To check their condition, immerse them in water and boil for 15 minutes. If they are not good, they will break! Remove hard-water film by soaking jars in a solution of 1 cup vinegar per gallon water for several hours.
Always use NEW, two-piece, self-sealing, metal lids. Throw away used lids. The lid's air-tight seal keeps a vacuum when it comes in contact with the jar rim. Lids may need to be boiled or held in boiling water before placing on jar rim; follow manufacturer's directions.
Write year purchased on lid boxes and use lids within 3 years. Store in a cool, dry place.
Screw bands are reusable if they are not bent, dented or rusted.
Reviewed 2010 by Glenyce Peterson-Vangsness