Canning is a wonderful way to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables for use all year long. This is a wonderful exercise for any avid gardener, who wishes to enjoy their garden’s yield long after it has stopped producing.
Ordinarily, canning can be a tricky, time-consuming project, which makes many people avoid the task. However, pressure cookers and canners can make the process of canning faster and simpler.
This article will present several easy to follow steps that will help you to successfully can your fresh veggies using the pressure method.
Now you can enjoy your green beans all year long!
Step 1: Use the proper heat source
You will need to use a large capacity pressure cooker/canner for this process. The average size recommended is at least 6-8 quarts.
Using a larger cooker is necessary since you will need to place your jars on a rack in such a way that none of them touches the sides of the cooker.
Needless to say, the average three-quart cooker won’t hold enough jars to justify the effort. With such a large cooker, you will need to use the largest heating element on your stove.
This will help ensure that the cooker heats evenly, thus cooking the contents evenly without burning them.
Never place your cooker on multiple elements, as this will result in hot spots that can burn some of the contents of the cooker.
Step 2: Add water
To start with, you will want to add between two and three inches of water to the cooker. You won’t want to use too much, but at the same time you will want to be careful to not allow the cooker to boil dry.
If the water is almost gone, add another two inches and continue the process.
Step 3: Place jars in the cooker
Place your cooker’s rack into the cooker before putting your jars in. You want your jars a good few inches off of the base to allow the heat to circulate properly.
If your cooker didn’t come with a rack, use a metal rack that will fit into the cooker without touching the sides.
Placing the jars on the bottom of the cooker can also result in the jars becoming cracked or damaged due to the direct heat from the stove.
Step 4: Begin heating
Turn your heating element to the highest heat, maintaining this heat until the vent port begins to release steam.
Keep heating on the highest setting, allowing steam to escape for a full 10 minutes. At the 10-minute mark, place a weight onto the steam port, thus preventing any more steam from escaping.
The cooker will achieve the necessary pressure in about 3-5 minutes from this point.
Step 5: Maintain pressure
Once the proper pressure has been achieved, turn the heat down to the necessary level that will maintain the desired pressure.
Make sure that the pressure neither increases nor decreases during the cooking process.
Step 6: Finishing
Once you have cooked the contents for the prescribed time (as per recipe), then turn off the heat and allow the cooker to depressurize before removing your jars.
Refer to your manufacturer’s manual for any special instructions regarding this step.
Just as pressure cooking can make cooking easier by reducing the amount of equipment and even time needed, so too it can make canning faster and easier.
There is some debate as to whether pressure cookers can be used for canning, so be sure to consult your manufacturer’s manual to make sure your model is safe for the process.