Pressure Canning Method for Low Acid Foods

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Using the pressure canning method is a bit more advanced than the boiling water bath method, but it opens up a whole new world of foods that you can preserve. There's something very satisfying about hearing that little "plink" sound when a canning jar seals while it is cooling down.

Examples of foods canned using the pressure method.

Some Low acid foods are:

-Most vegetables

-Meat & Poultry

-Seafood & Wild Game

-Soups, Stews, and Sauces

Foods that would be unsafe for the boiling water canning method can be processed and stored perfectly safely using this technique.

The Pressure Canner

The main feature of all pressure canners is that they have a locking, sealing lid that allows steam pressure to build inside the canner. Pressure is controlled in one of two ways.

an 80+ year old pressure canner -  still in service.  It's served four generations of my far.

The first uses calibrated weights that sit on a vent on the lid. Each weight holds pressure at a preset level (5, 10 and 15 PSI). These weights allow excess pressure to vent off gradually.

The second way uses a dial gauge to indicate pressure inside the canner. Pressure is controlled manually by controlling the heat of the stove. This type of canner also has a safety feature to prevent dangerous overpressure conditions. They have a rubber plug in the lid that blows out if the pressure ever gets above a safe levels.

Pressure Canning - The Process

This process involves using a pressure canner with about 3"-4" of water in the bottom of it. The water is brought to a boil, filled jars are placed inside and the lid is placed on and locked down.  Steam should be vented for 7-10 minutes.

Placing fresh home grown peas into the canner.

A weight is then placed over the vent to complete the seal. The canner is brought to the specified pressure and maintained there for a set amount of time. After that, the heat is turned off, and pressure allowed to fall off naturally.

pressure gage and top weight on a pressure canner.

Once the pressure is completely off, the weight is removed to allow any residual pressure to escape. The lid can then be taken off and jars removed. Jars are allowed to cool to room temperature and seal.

Any low acid food can be canned using this method. Because of the high pressure, temperatures will get higher inside the canner - at least 240°F. The higher temperature combined with the set time is what destroys bacteria, yeasts and molds (as well as their spores) that live in low acid foods. These microorganisms are harder to kill than those living in high acid foods, so make sure that you follow instructions to assure safety.

Some Examples of Pressure Canned Foods

This is in no way a complete list. This is just to give you a few ideas. Refer to the canning & preserving bible (Ball Blue Book of Preserving) for recipes and more ideas.

Pressure Canning Vegetables (Low Acid):

home grown and canned green beans.

-Sweet Corn

-Green Beans

-Shell Out Beans (Fresh or Dried)





Pressure Canning Meat:

Home canned beef.  Buy it on sale & can up a big batch.




-Venison and other wild game

-Fish and other seafood

Canned fish - in this case small bluegill - an alternative to freezing, and you don't have to remove the bones...Think - canned salmon...

Soups Stews and Sauces:

Home made pasta sauce,  All vegetable ingredients were home grown in our back yard garden.

-Pasta Sauce

-Vegetable soup

-Beef Stew

-Seafood Gumbo




Preparing food using this method allows you to preserve a wider range of foods than using the simple boiling water method. It may take you a bit more time and effort using this method but you can take pride in your work, knowing that you will be feeding your family tastier, healthier food and saving money on your food budget at the same time.

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Related Topics:

Canning Safety

Glass Canning Jars

Canning Meats

Canning Fish

Canning Green Beans

Canning Dried Beans

Canning Shellout Beans

Canning Fresh Peas

Canning Sweet Potatoes

Canning Potatoes

Making & Canning Pasta Sauce