Pressure Canner Success!

grlsixxJune 24, 2012

I finally worked up the nerve to use my pressure canner today! I have been eyeing it since I found it at a garage sale last October, but was a little scared to actually use it. So, I re-read the NCHFP pressure canning instructions, gathered my supplies, and canned dried beans. Not a glamorous start, but I had a bunch of dried beans in the pantry. Most of the jars look ok! One jar lost about half the water that was in it. A few of the other had minimal water loss maybe 1/8". Any idea on what would cause that? Are they safe to use? I used the 3 piece weight set, and kept an eye on my gauge (which seemed pretty spot on- just at 11 lbs). There was a lot of sputtering and hissing from the vent pipe, even after lowering the heat. Is that normal? The weight was rocking steadily the entire time. I followed the instructions for cooling down. Not sure what I did wrong. All in all, the process was straightforward and not at all intimidating. Kicking myself for waiting so long! Thanks for all your help!

Heather

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jimnginger(9)

Your jars are safe to use if you cooked them according to the required time. Don't even worry if you did that.
Liquid loss - all kinds of reasons. Don't know why one jar would lose that much. That jar, even with all that water loss will be OK to eat. I would use it first however. Did you pre-soak the beans? Were they all the same kind of beans?
You do not need to have the weight rock vigorously on top of your canner. I think the old instructions said one jiggle every 15 seconds or 4 times a minutes. You only need to have it rock occasionally as all that it does is to verify that your canner is maintaining adequate pressure.
I just turn my canner down even more if it moves too fast. I don't want my jars banging together inside my canner by rapid boiling.
Jim in So Calif

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 3:00AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I used the 3 piece weight set, and kept an eye on my gauge (which seemed pretty spot on- just at 11 lbs). There was a lot of sputtering and hissing from the vent pipe, even after lowering the heat. Is that normal? The weight was rocking steadily the entire time.

How much rocking/spinning etc. it is supposed to be doing all depends on the brand of canner. Mirro and AA are different from Presto. Which is yours?

Dave

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 10:48AM
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grlsixx

Hi, Thanks for your help Dave & Jim!

I have a Presto canner. I am pretty sure it needs to rock steadily based on the research I did on this forum. I may have had the heat too high. I was really nervous to have pressure drop or siphoning from heat fluctuation. So I SLOWLY reduced the heat as low as I dared. LOL. I had it on a Med Low setting. Pressure stayed consistant. There was much more sputtering, hissing, and commotion when the heat was on high. It was still pretty noisy. My husband walked into the kitchen and said, "Wow, pressure canning sure is louder than I thought it would be" (as he scurried out quickly with his beer acting as if the canner was going to explode any second).

I processed 3 jars of Red Kidney Beans and 4 jars of Chickpeas. I followed the NCHFP instructions for dried beans precisely. I printed out the instructions and checked them off as I worked. Now that the jars are cool, the kidney beans are about 1/2" of water loss, top beans are not covered. The chickpeas are about 1" of water loss, with the exception of the jar that has about 3"of water loss. The liquid is now solid on all of the jars(if I tilt the jar the liquid doesn't move on any of the jars). Do you think I over-packed the jars? Maybe too many beans to water ratio? I filled the jars with beans almost to the 1" first, then filled with cooking water up to the 1" headspace. Sound Ok?

Now I am wondering if I used the wrong kind of jars. I used the new (last season) Better Homes and Gardens jars (walmart)that are shorter and squatter pints than the Ball or Kerr. They have a raised diamond pattern on them. I could only fit 7 pints instead of the canner's stated capacity of 10. Would that make a difference?

So much to learn!

Heather

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 11:25AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yeah Presto needs to slowly rock continuously. It isn't a shake rattle and roll, just a slow steady rocking. Mirro and AA are 4-6 times a minute minimum.

Kidney beans absorb a great deal of the water, more than some other types. So if you followed the instructions they are safe. Make a note that the long soak approach beans will soak up less than if you do the quick soak method but either works safety-wise.

But over-filling the jars with beans is a common mistake so next time put less beans in each jar and more liquid.

Congrats on over coming your PC fears! :)

Dave

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 12:11PM
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grlsixx

lol Shake rattle and roll. Will definately reduce the heat next time. I must have over-filled the jars. I also did the quick soak method, so will try overnight soak next time. Thanks for all the help and support!

Heather
dreaming of what to can next...

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 12:33PM
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