Home canning is a relatively simple process, but many variables can affect your finished product. There are so many resources with unsafe information that it is important to make sure you are following the most recent safe home canning guidelines. One guideline for home canning foods safely is using a pressure canner to process low-acid foods, such as vegetables, meat, poultry, and fish. These low-acid foods must be pressure canned at the recommended time and temperature to destroy Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that causes botulism food poisoning. Home canning low-acid foods in boiling water canners is absolutely unsafe because 212 degrees F is not high enough to destroy botulinum bacteria. (Note: Water bath canners are safe to use for high acidic, researched recipes. Some examples where the water bath canner is used are for jellies and jams, fruits, tomatoes with added acid, salsas and pickled vegetables. You are not required to know the specific acidic level of your product but you are advised to follow updated researched recipes to know if it requires a pressure canner for safe canning)
With good reason, most people have a healthy regard for the possible dangers of pressure canners. Usually this respect is based on an old story of a pressure canner “blowing up” in someone’s grandmother’s kitchen. Regardless, it is important to realize that pressure canners are safe if the safety precautions are followed and the canner is used properly. Dangers arise when the unit isn’t maintained and/or used properly. To make sure your pressure canner is working properly, all dial-gauge pressure canners should be tested for accuracy each year.
OSU Extension, Lucas County will be testing dial gauge pressure canners on Tuesday June 23rd, from 10:00am – 1:00pm at OSU Extension at the Toledo Botanical Garden by appointment only. In June, there are additional pressure canner testing events happening across the state. You can register for an appointment at https://go.osu.edu/2020pressurecannertesting. If you have any questions about the pressure gauge testing in Lucas County, please email or call Patrice Powers-Barker, FCS Educator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-574-0983. Appointments are 15-minutes, so please arrive on time. You only need to bring the pressure canner lid to be tested.
Please note, for the month of June, OSU has required that we set up pressure canner gauge testing across the state in this specific way. If for some reason you cannot attend on Tuesday, June 23rd, our office anticipates that we will be scheduling one-on-one pressure canner testing in the near future. At this time we do not yet have specific information but we are confident that there will be other opportunities for this service this summer. If you cannot make the June date and have any questions, please contact Patrice.
If you are new to home canning and are wondering, “do I need to have something tested?” please know this is only for stovetop PRESSURE CANNERS that have a DIAL GAUGE. This pressure gauge testing is NOT for:
- Water bath canners (high acidic foods can be safely canned in a boiling water bath)
- Pressure cookers (these operate in a similar way to a pressure canner but they are not recommended for canning)
- Pressure canners that have a weighted gauge (no dial gauge used to read pressure)
If you would like to attend online lessons, the OSU Extension state food preservation team is offering a short lesson and question and answer “office hours” online every other Tuesday. Other resources include videos on “how to” can and OSU Extension has FactSheets related to canning as well as other methods of home food preservation such as freezing and drying. Links to all of these resources can be found on the OSU Extension, Lucas County webpage at: https://lucas.osu.edu/home-food-preservation
Remember, home food preservation can be safe, simple and easy to learn! OSU Extension is here to help.