It’s been a long time coming! I’m sorry, remember those appointments I talked about for Mom? There was a lot of them. Plus, Danny and I have been spending a lot of time with our kids. Between mom and the appointments and the kids and sports, the work on the farm, I just don’t have a lot of free time to blog right now! Man, the running is crazy! 😉
So, some precautions…… Make sure that your gauge is working right before canning anything. Your local ag office can test it for you and if it’s off, they can reset it as well. DO NOT use the canner if you think that the dial gauge could be off.
Don’t let your canner get above 15 lbs of pressure. I don’t know what happens, but that’s what I was told by all my neighbors. I figure they have to know what they are talking about, and just don’t let it get that high.
Always read the instructions that came with your canner. This is important. It mentions how high the pressure can get, how to keep your canner clean, and how to set up your counter weight. Plus, you will learn all the parts of the canner. This image is a great way to know what I am talking about (maybe, this is just a quick guide on how to can.) Make sure you read it and understand how to use your canner.
Once you have prepped your jars, and your recipe and packed them into the jar (don’t forget to leave headroom!), you have to prepare your canner.
Your recipe should specify how much water to use, if it doesn’t, use at least 3 inches of water. I fill mine to the first line (inside on the canner wall) for pints and to the next one for quarts.
I bring the water to a rolling boil and then add the jars. Don’t let the water boil so long that you lose some water. Fasten the lid securely. Don’t place your counter weight on the canner yet. You need to let the water boil. You are looking for steam to vent through both the regulator vent and the pressure vent (or petcock, it’s the little round thing that seals when the canner is pressurized) and let it vent for 10 minutes.
Place the gauge (weighted gauge or counter weight) on the vent. The canner will start to pressurize and the automatic vent will close. DO NOT leave the canner. Once you have reached the correct pressure, you need to start timing. Just as with hot water baths, if you lose pressure you need to restart the timer. You will have to adjust the heat setting to keep your pressure consistent.
When your timer has gone off, DON’T open the canner. Turn off the heat and let it rest. This will allow the canner to de-pressurize. Once the dial has reached zero and the vent has opened, you can take off the lid.
Place the jars in a draft free area on a towel for 24 hours, after which you can check the seal.