July 5, 2011

Pressure Canning Basics

Back in January I bought a pressure canner.  This allows me to can meat and vegetables.  Actually, I can can pretty much anything except dairy products and eggs with it.  Since I bought a lot of meat in June, while it was on sale, I have been using my pressure canner quite a bit, as well.  Since I knew very little about pressure cookers and canners until about a year ago, I'd like to start with some basics about them.

The basic idea behind pressure canning and cooking is that steam is hotter than boiling water.  This allows food to cook faster, and allows you to preserve foods in a pressure canner that you cannot in a boiling water bath canner.

Pressure Cooker-  Pressure cookers are amazing!  I have done very little myself, since mine is huge, but I understand the basic idea.  Just imagine a crockpot that cooks food in less than hour, and you have a pressure cooker.  In addition to the traditional pressure cooker that you put on the stove and watch the pressure gauge, you can now buy electric pressure cookers that do all the work for you (you just press a few buttons).  A pressure canner can be used as a cooker, but a cooker cannot be used as a canner.

Pressure Canner-  This is what I own.  It is a 23-quart canner.  I can can 20 pints at a time.  I can also use this pot as a boiling water canner, in which case I cannot double layer jars, allowing me to can up to 7 jars at a time (I think-better check on that).

Did I leave something out?  Let me know if you still have questions.  I will post next about canning chicken.  So easy!

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