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Pressure Canner Testing

Pressure Canner Testing

Pressure canners allow us to safely preserve low-acid foods at home. Because low-acid foods like vegetables and meat are more susceptible to botulism, these foods must be canned in a pressure canner. The pressure canner allows us to reach a higher temperature - up to 240 degrees - in order to kill any potential pathogens that would survive the boiling water bath method.

However, our pressure canning process is only as safe as our canner is accurate. For those who use a dial gauge pressure canner, it is recommended that dial gauges be tested annually prior to the beginning of each canning season. Dial gauges can become inaccurate for a variety of reasons including age, exposure to excess moisture, being improperly stored or being bumped or dropped. It is important to note; however, that I have tested a dial gauge passed down from generations that was still accurate and I have tested a gauge that was brand new that was completely inaccurate.

Remember water boils at 212 degrees. It is the pressure that allows us to achieve that higher pathogen-killing temperature. If your dial gauge is inaccurate you could be producing unsafe home-canned food.

There are several Purdue Extension offices across the state that have the capability of testing your dial gauge. If desired, we can also inspect your entire pressure canner to let you know if we see any causes for concern with your canner. While weighted canners, that use a weight rather than a gauge, do not need to be tested we can still conduct an overall inspection of your canner.

Click here to find the nearest Extension office that can provide this service. 

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