pressure canning in electric pressure cookers, stove top cookers and pressure canners
Image Adapted From USDA Complete Guide To Home Canning
Image Adapted From USDA Complete Guide To Home Canning

Although pressure cooking and pressure canning both use the power of pressure –  the equipment and procedures are quite different. With a little investment in time, you can use top-quality ingredients to make your own convenience foods. In this article we will answer these questions:

What is canning? What is pressure canning?

tempsCanning, also known as putting up,  is a way to preserve fruits and vegetables beyond their season and conserving meat without the use of refrigeration.  Canning removes air and destroys enzymes to stop the growth of undesirable bacteria, yeasts, and molds.  The ph-level (acidity) of a food dictates whether it should be canned with the water bath method or using pressure.

Acidic foods (low ph) contain enough acid to destroy or block bacteria growth. Acid foods include fruits, pickles, sauerkraut, jams, jellies, marmalades, and fruit butter. These products can be conserved with water bath canning (non-pressure) for the recommended time following tested recipes (to ensure acidity).

Low-acid foods (high ph) are not acidic enough to prevent the growth of bacteria – the airless environment inside a jar of low-acid food is the perfect host for a deadly bacteria which is odor-free, taste-less and otherwise invisible: Botulinum. Low-acid foods include meats, seafood, milk, grains and all fresh vegetables except for most tomatoes.  Tomatoes are tricky, the USDA wrote a special canning guide just for them. These foods can only be conserved safely with pressure canning carefully following USDA- tested processing times and temperatures1.

For both  water bath and pressure canning the exact processing time, temperature and/or pressure depends on the kind of food being canned, the way it is packed into jars, and the size of the jars – adjustments must also be made for altitude.

hip info: food poisoning

Botulism spores grow only in the absence of air (like inside an improperly canned food). They can only be neutralized following the USDA research-based processing times which ensure the destruction of heat-resistant microorganisms in home-canned foods.

Improperly canned foods that either used the wrong canning method, processing time, or with jars that have lost their seal can cause Botulism food poisoning.

Any case of foodborne botulism is considered to be a public health emergency because of the potential for that others will consume the toxin-containing food. State and local public health officials by law must be informed immediately whenever botulism is suspected.

The incubation period is usually 12 – 36 hours but symptoms may appear up to 10 days after exposure. The first symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that precede the onset of neurologic illness or growing paralysis without fever.

More info:  Botulism Report,  National Organization for Rare Disorders


Is there any way to can low-acid foods without using pressure?

According to the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning1.

 The time needed to safely process low-acid foods in a boiling-water canner ranges from 7 to 11 hours...

USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, ( click image to download)
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

While pressure canning low-acid foods range from 15 to 100 minutes. If you are inclined to boil something for 11 hours, keep in mind that the boil has to be maintained the entire time.  Any interruption to the heat source (electricity goes out, gas flashes off, flame blown by wind) means you need to start all over again.

That’s a lot of time, fuel, water and worry that can easily be solved with a pressure canner – which will get the job done in minutes not hours.

And, no, the USDA has not published non-pressure canning processing times for low-acid foods. So, if you insist on processing these foods without pressure – you’re on your own!

See Also: Pressure Canning Processing Times Chart, hip pressure cooking


What’s the difference between a pressure cooker and a pressure canner?

Although they both use pressure to get the job done, pressure cookers and pressure canners are made and used quite differently.  The most obvious difference is in size but they are also made of different materials, and valves.

The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning1 states that a pressure canner is..

A specifically designed metal kettle with a lockable lid used for heat processing low-acid food. These canners have jar racks, one or more safety devices, systems for exhausting air, and a way to measure or control pressure. Canners with 16- to 23- quart capacity are common. The minimum volume of a canner that can be used is one that, will contain 4 quart jars. Use of pressure saucepans with smaller capacities is not recommended.

The story goes that researchers did test smaller pressure cookers (saucepans) but they got inconsistent results – also, seriously, how many jars can you fit in a pressure saucepan!?!  Because these cookers come in different sizes, shapes, and volumes, the USDA couldn’t come up with a reliable rule of thumb to use with smaller cookers3. So, in 1980’s  they declared the minimum volume of a pressure cooker to be used for canning be the volume that can house at least 4-quart jars (this usually corresponds with  10 or 12 quart/liter pressure cooker).  Without doing further testing, the USDA cannot guarantee that a smaller pressure cooker will yield perfectly safe food in all jar size and food combinations tested for larger canners.

Spring valves not reliable

However, it is important to note that the USDA guidelines on using pressure cookers for pressure canning were written before sping-valve stovetop pressure cookers were introduced in the United States.  I emphathize this to make it clear that spring valves can, and do, fail – they need to be regularly replaced.  This is not the case with weighted valve pressure cookers – where the pressure counter-weight cannot change over time.

So even though spring-valve pressure cooker/canners have been produced and marketed following those guidelines (and we used to recommend them, too), our understanding of how spring-valves work and fail have changed our recommendation.

It is now our position that spring-valve pressure cookers, even those that are the correct size for pressure canning according to USDA recommendation, should not be used for pressure canning without being tested and calibrated at the local extension office.

Cooking in a canner?

Many readers have a big canner or they purchased an aluminum weighted-valve pressure cooker/canner and they ask how they can adjust a recipe written for a 6-10 quart stainless steel or electric pressure cooker to their 16 quart (or more) aluminum “pressure cooker/canners.”  We cannot in good conscience recommend aluminum pressure cooker/canner or pressure canners for cooking.  The aluminum is reactive so you won’t be able to use tomatoes, wine, lemon or anything else acidic directly in the pot.  These aluminum vessels are really designed to process food in jars.  The minimum liquid requirement is really high (3 quarts – 12 cups) compared to the average pressure cooker (1-2 cups). This greatly affects the minimum amount of food you can cook in it as well as the time it takes to come to pressure.  Finally, the size is unwieldy to use and wash for everyday cooking.

Pressure Cooker vs. Pressure Cooker/Canner vs. Pressure Canner

Pressure Cooker
Pressure Cooker/CannerPressure Canner
VALVEspring valve or weighted valveweighted valve
(spring valve not recommended)
weighted valve, pressure gauge
SIZE1 to 12 quarts/liters
(cooks for 1-12 people)
10-12 quarts/liters
(cooks for 5-12 people)
16 to 41 quarts
(not recommended for cooking)
COOKING?Can cook all food types directly in cooker base.Can cook all food types directly in cooker base.Food should not come into contact with the base of this cooker, only for cooking foods in containers, processing jars.
1-2 cups1-2 cups12+ cups
electric, gas, induction, halogen, ceramic, camping, portable cook tops or powers itselfelectric, gas, camping, portable cook tops or, depending on the model: induction, halogen, or ceramic,electric or gas

See Also: Recommended Pressure Canners

So, why does my pressure cooker or Instant Pot have a pressure canning button, instructions, and recipes?

Confusingly, some manufacturers include pressure canning instructions with their pressure cooker or even a button or function called “pressure canning” –  even if their cookers are not large enough to be considered pressure canners according to the USDA (see the previous answer), or their technologies have not been fully vetted (see next answer).

For example, one German pressure cooker manufacturer includes instructions for preserving meat, see below. The instructions do not state how the meat should be prepared and in what size jar it should be.  The USDA recommends meat be processed anywhere from 75-90 minutes, depending on the cut,  but this manufacturer’s instructions only require 20 minutes.

So, without information at how a manufacturer arrived at their recommended processing times, we recommend not conserving vegetables, meat, seafood, grains, milk and tomato products in a pressure cooker with vague pressure canning instructions.

Some manufacturers may include pressure canning instructions for low-acid meat and vegetables with a random processing time which does not match USDA processing times or altitude adjustments.


Can I use my electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot to pressure can?

Unfortunately, there are some electric pressure cooker manufacturers advertising their products as safe for pressure canning.  One, even said in their infomercial that their electric multi-cooker “Meets USDA standards for pressure canning” prompting NCHFP (an offshoot of USDA) to post an alert on their website warning consumers against these products3.

This multi-cooker infomercial shows an actress putting jars in the cooker with the words "Meets USDA Standards for Canning." The National Center for Home Food Preservation says it DOES NOT!
This multi-cooker infomercial shows an actress putting jars in the cooker with the words “Meets USDA Standards for Canning.” The National Center for Home Food Preservation says it does not.

The NCHFP warning said..

Even if there are referrals to the National Center for HFP in the instructions for canning in the manufacturer’s directions, we do not currently support the use of the USDA canning processes in electric, multi-cooker appliances.

The manufacturer of that product claim that their product reaches the right temperatures for pressure canning under 2,000 feet and fits four-quart jars – so what’s the problem? Doesn’t that meet the USDA standards?

The reason electric pressure  and multi-cookers  are unsafe for pressure canning are:

  • on/off heat cycles  electric pressure cookers are heated with a ceramic element that turns off when the target temperature, or pressure, is reached and back on when the temperature drops below a certain threshold.  Comparable pressure cookers can vary by about 1 psi during this process (see chart) – these limits can vary and be programmed by the manufacturer.  It is not clear what the minimum temperature during the “off “cycle will be.
  • no altitude adjustments processing times for foods above 2,000 feet require an increase in pressure – but the construction electric pressure and multi-cookers currently on the market cannot sustain pressure above 11 psi for extended periods of time.
  • no venting –  instructions for pressure canning for all of the electric pressure and multi-cookers we evaluated do not include specific instructions to thoroughly vent the canner for USDA recommended time of 10 minutes before processing1 – also see the answer about exhausting pressure canners.
  • not stovetop – The USDA process standards were developed with stovetop pressure canners, there is no data to either prove or disprove pressure canning is safe in electric pressure cookers. However, there is plenty of data about the dangers of botulism in improperly canned foods.

Even if the electric pressure cooker manufacturer claims (and even proves) that their cooker can reach 15psi – for example, the Instant Pot MAX, because of the way electric pressure cookers operate (on/off heat cycles) there is no way to verify that the temperature is maintained throughout the entire processing time.

See Also: Consumer Alert! No Pressure Canning in Electric & Multi-cookers says NCHFP, hip pressure cooking

How does altitude affect pressure canning?

boiling_pointWhile in pressure cooking, time is increased for higher altitudes, with pressure canning the processing time remains the same and, instead, the adjustment is made to the pressure (or weight).

When the pressure canner is used at higher altitudes the temperature it can achieve is lower.  That’s because both a pressure canner and pressure cooker only add pressure to the current atmospheric (ambient) pressure – as altitude increases, air pressure decreases.  This means that water comes to a boil at lower temperatures as altitude increases.  This phenomenon has a direct, negative impact on the temperatures inside the pressure canner.

To compensate for lower temperatures at high altitudes the USDA requires an increase of processing pressure by 1 psi for every 2,000 feet of altitude.  So, let’s say you want to pressure can pints of ground meat – their recommendation is to process for 75 minutes at 11psi.  BUT, if you’re at 5,000 feet altitude that 11psi is equivalent to just 9 psi at sea level- and that’s a lower pressure and temperature than is safe for pressure canning.  So, they recommend processing that same pint for 75 minutes at the higher pressure of  13psi.

Don’t worry if this is starting to sound confusing – all you really need to know is your altitude, and the USDA has already figured out all of the adjustments.

Here’s a handy little chart that sums up the USDA pressure canner adjustments.

Pressure Canner Altitude Adjustments Table

Do I need to follow a specific, tested,  recipe for pressure canning?

Tested recipes are only necessary for “hot water bath” canning (non-pressure) preservation.  When the food is conserved using the fruit’s natural or added acid (pickles) it is very important to follow tested recipes to ensure that the end result has a low enough ph to remain bacteria-free (see first answer).

hip info: don’t can me

The USDA warns against adding any of the following ingredients to canned foods:

  • pasta or noodles
  • rice
  • flour
  • cream
  • milk
  • any other thickening agents

Other than pasta and rice becoming mushy, the reason you shouldn’t add these ingredients into the jar is that they slow the penetration of heat through the food – so processing these foods at the right time and pressure might still generate insufficient heat to kill bacteria (you know, deadly botulism).

For the same reason, you should not pressure can mashed potatoes or pumpkin pulp – but you can cube them for canning and mash them after opening.

Pressure canning does not require specific recipes.  The process raises the temperature of the food inside the jars to a point that is high enough to kill bacteria and inactivate the spores that can grow into deadly Botulism. The key to pressure canning is not the recipe but the processing time and consistency (thickness) of the food. With a few exceptions (see “don’t can me” sidebar), you can safely pressure can your own, or our, recipes.  To figure out the processing time, look up each ingredient in the pressure canning processing chart, and use the time for the longest-cooking ingredient. Overly-thick or dense recipes cannot be properly processed- the sidebar outlines which ingredients to exclude.

So, let’s say you want to make a monster batch of the classic Bolognese pasta sauce to store away in pint jars.  The recipe calls for ground meat and pancetta (75 minutes processing time) and veggies like carrots, onions and celery (25 minutes) and tomato sauce (35 minutes).  The longest processing time is for the meat so that is how long you should process the sauce (75 minutes).  We used a “trick” sample recipe because it also calls for cream – leave it out of the jars.  Splash it into the sauce when you’re reheating it before serving!

More Info: Complete Guide to Home Canning – Selecting, Preparing, and Canning Vegetables and Vegetable Products (Guide 4), USDA

Why not just process everything for the longest time possible?

The problem with pressure canning everything more than the recommended time is that the contents of the jars could be impacted negatively by color, texture, and taste. This is called over-processing.  Let’s say you’re pressure canning green beans, and the USDA says that they only need to process 20 minutes, but you want to make sure those green beans are safe so you process them for 100 minutes, instead. You’ll end up with are jars of tasteless gray pulp, instead of delicious green beans.  It’s ok to go a little over the processing time, it’s not ok to double, triple or quintuple it.

What size jar(s) can I use for pressure canning?

Most pressure canning processing times are published for a pint (2 cups or about 500ml) and quart (4 cups or about 1000ml) jars – a few are published for half-pints.

You may want to pressure can smaller jars to give as gifts to friends and family.  There are no published processing times for all foods in smaller jars,  the safe way to go is to process the jars following the timing for pints.  However, keep in mind that this might over-process the food (causing a degradation in texture and color) so before pressure canning 100’s of these smaller jars do a trial run!

Ball Canning jars

Can I process jars of different size in the pressure canner?

If all the jars contain the same recipe, but they have a different size, follow the processing time for the largest jar in the canner.  Even if there is just one-quart jar and the rest are pints – you should follow the processing time for the larger quart jar, if pressure canning another batch is not possible.

However, the foods in the smaller jars might over-process so it is always best to do separate batches of each size.

Can I process jars with different contents (some with veggie and some with meat) in the pressure canner?

It’s best to do one batch of each kind of food.  But if you’re pressed for time, it’s possible to process jars with different contents in the pressure canner.  To do this, follow the processing time for the jar with the ingredient that requires the longest processing time.  For example, if you’re pressure canning three jars of veggie stock (15 minutes) and one jar of beef stock (25 minutes) you will need to process the entire contents of the canner for the longest time (25 minutes).

Be aware that the foods that need less processing time might-over process.

Do I really have to exhaust the pressure canner before processing?

USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning: exhausting a pressure canner
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning: exhausting a pressure canner

Exhausting, or venting, a pressure canner is done before processing to ensure that all of the air is out of the canner.  This is an important step because the presence of air can affect the temperature inside the canner – causing false readings of the pressure gauge or dial.

There is a direct, and expected, correlation between pressure and temperature – and it’s those temperatures are used to calculate processing times to kill bacteria.

Trapping air in a pressure canner will display the “correct” pressure on the dial or gauge but since that pressure is achieved with a mixture of air and steam, and not steam alone,  the actual temperature inside are affected.  Here’s a chart that illustrates how much the internal temperature changes in the presence of air.

Temperature inside Pressure Canner with presence of Air

Assumes cooker or canner has been vented or exhausted.
Assumes cooker or canner has been vented or exhausted and is operated at sea level.

The pressure of the steam alone is a known value if steam is the only gas inside the pressure canner.  But if the canner contains a combination of steam and air the total pressure inside is a combination of the partial pressures of various gasses 4.

How to do it

In the USDA’s illustrated step-by-step instructions for using a pressure canner, they instruct bringing the canner on the highest heat setting and to let the steam flow continuously for 10 minutes.  After that time, the weight or petcock should be closed or placed on the vent1.

Exhausting can also be done with a spring valve pressure cooker/canner by setting the valve to the open, or exhaust, position – and then, instead of adding the weight after the time is up,  the dial can be simply set to the desired pressure selection.

Bottom line: You should still exhaust your pressure canner or pressure cooker/canner regardless of whether the manufacturer recommends doing so in their instructions (some don’t)!

Should I throw away jars that didn’t seal properly?

USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning: checking jars for seal
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning: checking jars for seal

Improperly sealed jars can be re-processed or refrigerated to use within a week.  If those jars have remained in the “Danger Zone” (see chart in the first answer) for more than two hours just boil the contents for 10 minutes before consuming.

Where can I find reliable information on pressure canning?


Pressure canning requires specialized equipment, processes, and procedures – to ensure the stability and safety of preserved food.  With the proper attention to detail and reliable equipment and processes, it can be done safely at home.

If you have more questions or comments please post them below in the comments section or come visit the pressure canning forum and we’ll do our best to answer them – or find someone who can.

1. “USDA Complete Guide To Home Canning” National Center for Home Food Preservation website
2.  “Burning Issue: Canning in Pressure Cookers” National Center for Home Food Preservation website
3. “Can I can in a multi-cooker?” National Center for Home Food Preservation website
4. Myhrvold, Nathan, Chris Young, Maxime Bilet, and Ryan Matthew. Smith. Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. Vol. 2. Bellevue, WA: Cooking Lab, 2011. Print.


5/24/2018 UPDATE: The language in this article has been updated to address the growing number of electric pressure cookers which claim to have a pressure canning function.

10/25/17 UPDATE: We have taken a more conservative approach to using spring-valve cookers as pressure canners. See the “Spring valves not reliable” sub-head in “What’s the difference between a pressure cooker and a pressure canner?” answer, below, for more details.

As of today, there are still no electric pressure cookers approved for pressure canning processes by the USDA. So the answer to “Can I use my electric pressure cooker for pressure canning?” is still valid, two years after the original writing of this FAQ.  Our hope is that an electric pressure cooker manufacturer will either take-on testing or give the USDA funding for developing new or confirming old canning processes for electric pressure and multi cookers.


This article was originally published July 23, 2015 and has been updated on 5/24/2018 – see original article here.

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  1. Another very informative article.
    I had never heard of the exhaust method.
    I only can a few things because it is a different method of cooking, like your strawberry jam and cucumber pickles because they are so much better than store bought.
    And then, despite following every precaution and reportedly low (0) incidence of botulism from pressure cookers I am still paranoid and either refrigerate or freeze. Probably silly but I don’t want to be the first fatality.

    I am unclear on the exhaust thing.

    Do you put in the jars, set a timer for 10 minutes with the valve open, then close the valve and continue with the normal time?

    Are there other pressure cooking applications besides canning where exhausting the steam might be beneficial? Specifically would venting the steam and cooking less time at pressure make meat and root veg less dry or overdone. (I know they aren’t overdone for most people).

    Well I guess I will experiment a bit in the fall when I get home and see:)

    Thanks for all the food for thought.

    1. Hi Helen, the USDA Canning Guide has cartoons that explain it better than I ever could. You’re supposed to load everything up and then exhaust before starting the processing time.

      Exhausting is a normal part of pressure cooking but it’s only 90-95% effective. That’s when the weight jiggles , or the spring valve sputters before you turn the heat down. Well designed electric pressure cookers also have some steaming time programmed right before pressure cooking (Instant Pot does, for instance)..

      However, it’s not as important to get the cooking temperature exactly right in pressure cooking as it is in pressure canning.

      BTW, I experimented with “pressure canning” conserves and something interesting happened. All of the sugar caramelized and turned brown – the conserves didn’t look good but they tasted the same. I have since learned that with high-acid foods the important thing is to get a seal then the food themselves (or vinegar) does the rest of the conservation work.

      Before I got started canning I worried that adding too much or too little sugar would have an effect on the acidity. Well, I have since learned that sugar is ph-neutral so it will not throw off the acidic balance of the fruit.

      Hopefully, these bits of knowledge should chase away some of that paranoia!!



  2. I pressure canned your strawberry jam recipe and it stayed red and I actually added too much sugar. But it made good sundae syrup:)

    More or less what I thought about the loading up but I was still confused.

    I am not too worried about the paranoia as I only do small amounts. No garden or I might have invested in a canner. I do think the USDA and subsidiaries should be a bit more accurate and consistent in what they post, and get off their butts and retest canners and pressure cookers with modern equipment. And I have noted that European standards are different in some cases, 10 PSI IIRC. And they don’t seem to be dropping like flies either.

    My biggest canning things are tomatoes and bread and butter pickles which are used up or the pickles are snapped up by friends pretty darn fast.

    I think the canning process actually brings out more flavour in both and that is why I do it.

  3. I was reading through this thread again as I always find things I haven’t absorbed before and I find it a fascinating and controversial topic. Filled with ifs ands and buts etc.

    Wondering what this means in practical terms as I do have an IPS

    “Well designed electric pressure cookers also have some steaming time programmed right before pressure cooking (Instant Pot does, for instance).. ”

    Sometimes my IPS does spit out some steam before reaching pressure, but mostly it doesn’t. Wondering how this works as the valve is mechanical. Do they drive it into overpressure? My Fagor Futuro usually has a bit of steam escaping, is this a sort of exhaust function?

    Just curious.

    1. Yes, pressure cookers with steam coming out are “exhausting” or pushing out air from inside the pot with steam to ensure the highest temperature can be reached. However, I don’t know of any electric pressure cooker that is programmed to exhaust the USDA-required 10-minute exhaust.

      Spring valves tend to close before 100% of the air is pushed out – how much is left depends on the manufacturer and how long it exhausted before it seals shut automatically. As I mentioned above, this “defect” can be compensated for spring valves by exhausting with the valve in the “open” position for the required time before selecting the pressure.



      1. Where does the 10 minute exhaust time come from? Arbitrary choice of someone back in 1917 or is there an actual plot of pot volume vs. time to get all the air out?

        There isn’t really a good explaination of where the USDA gets their numbers from and that’s what leads to alot of confusion.

        I guess they figure “Math is hard” but it would be nice if they had a section with the physics/science behind the numbers:
        Why 20 vs 75 vs 90 minutes?
        Why 10 minutes for exhaust?
        Why X amount of time/pressure adjustment per 1000ft. change in altitude?

        1. Rob, I think it’s great that you want to learn more about this and the origins of the recommendations. I recommend you start here:

          Critical Review of Home Preservation Literature and Current Research

          They also include full references to the original research on which the USDA recommendations are based.

          Ciao & Happy New Year!


  4. Can I ask a question about how high you can fill a pressure canner?

    I’ve been looking at the Mirro 16 quart and 22 quart, which is now available at a reasonable price in Europe through ebay. The 22 quart specs say its internal diameter is 11.5 inches and it can take 16 pints in two layers. As the jars are given as 4.75 inches high, that means they fill 9.5 inches, not including any racks. By the time you’ve added the racks, the tops of the jars must be pretty near the lid of the canner.

    Does this mean you can ignore the rule that applies to pressure cooking of not filling up to more than 2/3rds? Is that because of the air space between the jars or have I misunderstood?

    I ask because although the Mirro is now available at an affordable price, I can’t easily get Mason jars here, but I can get Weck jars, which I understand don’t need a rack between them, just to stack on top of each other.

    1. Snoop the fill-lines in pressure cooking are required so that the food does not splatter and block the valves. This is not an issue in pressure canning where all of the food is in jars. : )



  5. Hi
    I have ip duo 7 in 1. Wanted to do small amount of water bath canning, where can I find timings for this?

    1. You can use the Ball Blue Book Timings, using the saute’ mode and glass lid. Add the jars when the water comes to a rolling boile and start the timing when the water comes back to a rolling boil (it will be cooled when the jars are added and needs time to go back up to boiling). Keep an eye on it as the saute’ mode turns itself off after 30 minutes.



      P.S. The USDA has an extensive guide for canning – choose fruit, vegetable or tomato and read the relevant PDF here:

  6. Hello there,

    I am wondering if the only type of jar you can use in a pressure canner is a mason jar with the screw down rings? I ask because I have and would prefer to use a different type of jar (lid is a bit more like a jam jar lid)

    Does the pressure canner also contribute to the cooking of the content? My sauce is a slow cook sauce and once it is done I don’t want to cook it even further in the canner.

    Lastly, any advice for finding a good pressure canner in the UK?

    Thanks so much,
    G :)

    1. Yes. It will continue to cook in the canning process. At its simplest, cooking is simply adding heat to the food. You are adding heat, and quite a lot of it while canning. Reduce your cooking time when canning things subject to over cooking. Though most sauces simply get better with more cooking.

      Mason jars are simply the American design of canning jar. There are others. All are quite acceptable. The glass needs to be heat proof and the seals needs to be secure. If they meet these requirement they should be fine. Yours sound like the single use jars used commercially. As such, you really should replace the lids every time, but you should be able to reuse the glass jars themselves. One thing. If the recipe was designed for canning in mason jars, you may need to alter the timing to allow for a difference in heat transfer for your jars. Adding a few extra minutes should be safe.

    2. You can use any jar approved for pressure canning – Ball is the most popular but not the only one. The other canning jar brands don’t have a complicated split lid and ring system but they work just as well.

      Bormioli jars are popular in Europe and should be available in the UK, too (while you’re still part of the EU, anyway : ). These jars come with a one-piece screw-on lid. While the jars do not need to be replaced, the lids often do. The Bormioli jars lids, for example, have a small ring of expandable material in the inner edge of the lip of the lid – this material expands with heat and ensures a tight seal for storage. Maintaining the seal hinges on the lid so you don’t want to be lazy or cheap and re-use older lids (the Bormioli ones come in economical packs).

      Each jar/lid manufacturer has their own instructions on how to prepare the lids for canning – so look for them on the package of lids and follow what they say.

      I made the mistake of getting a GAUGE Presto Pressure canner ( – and, being in Italy, I do not have anywhere handy to take it to be calibrated. So, my recommendation is to shop for a pressure canner that is regulated with a weight (like this other presto model – there is no need to calibrate that!

      I bought mine on amazon : ) – please follow this link to start your search so that the website can get credit for the referral should you choose to buy anything based on my recommendation:



      P.S. Check your second-hand shops, too. I just found a small electric autoclave (which is nearly the same as a pressure canner). Unfortunately, it had a pressure gauge on it so I passed. Lesson learned!

      1. Laura,
        Italy may not have specialist pressure canning gauge calibrators. But I thought you had a pretty large industrial base. There must be people there who can check the calibration of a pressure gauge. They’ll just be in some other industry.

        1. Yes, that is true. Not easy to find even if my husband’s parent company makes parachutes for the military, gas masks and inflatable slides for passenger airplanes – which I assume will have to be calibrated for air pressure! Everyone looks at me funny when I say that I need to confirm the pressure of a gauge – plus the machinery is in kpa and the gauge is in psi.

          If I really worked on finding a place I would, but there isn’t enough time in the day and now I wish I had bought a weight-controlled canner, instead.



          1. You can do as I did and buy a 3-piece weight to replace the one-piece that came with your canner. Then ignore the gauge. You can set it as needed for 5, 10, or 15 lb. Like this one:

  7. I have a question about pressure canning. Is it possible to prepare my jars and vegetables and fill the jars at night and boil them in the morning in my pressure canner? With working, I never have the time to pick the beans, prepare them and the jars, and find the time to process.

    1. The problem with leaving the jar out or filled with just washed & cut veggies is just asking for bacteria to grow. How about prepping all of the green beans and keeping them in the fridge. Then, rinse them another time and pack them into just-sterilized jars. Perhaps some long-time canners reading this will have additional suggetions on how to go about this as well!



  8. Most of my canning recipient (water bath and pressure) are for pint jars. Could I use quart jars instead and adjust the time/pressure?

    1. Yes you could, but you would need to more than double the time. From memory it follows the inverse square law. Which basically means if you double the size of the jar you need to increase the time fourfold. Pressure will remain the same.

      1. Greg, that is incorrect. If you check canning guides, times for quarts is not double the time for pints. Any canning guide will list times for quarts and pints for all foods that are safe to can in larger sizes. In fact, the majority of quart times are only 5-15 minutes longer than pint times.

    2. Some foods that can safely be done in pints cannot safe be done in quarts. This is due to food density not allowing the very middle of the jar to reach safe temperature. Yes, it us my understanding that the size difference between pint and quart is sufficient to raise valid concerns. I would check the NCHFP or USDA websites for recommendations for the specific food I was canning.

  9. Where do I get part’s?

  10. I would love to try pressure canning but in the research I’ve done, I can only find aluminum pressure canners. I have an induction cook-top. Do you know of any stainless steel pressure canners?

  11. Can I pressure cook pickled jalapenos or does that have to be done in a water bath if so how long

    1. If the pickling solution is acidic enough, only a water bath is called for. You can follow these processing times:



  12. I am canninggreen beans have them already in my pressure cooker and the gauge has quit, whatshouldI do

  13. I am new to pressure canning. My pressure canner only has one setting which is 15 psi. If the recipe calls for 10 psi do I decrease the time? Is there a chart for this adjustment?
    Thank you.

    1. I would use the same recommended time for safety’s sake. Do one small batch to see if you like the results before loading up the whole canner!



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