pressure canning

vertigoxcured(8)June 2, 2012

i just pressure canned for the first time yesterday. i did greenbeans from a family members garden. i read the book that came with the canner cover to cover to make sure i understood how it worked. i was confident in using it. it got up to ll lbs of pressure(although it did go above that for a little while when i was trying to figure how low i had to turn the burner to keep ll lbs) and cooked for 25 mins. took it off the stove and set it in my sink for a little over an hour to release steam and cool down. when i opened it the water in the bottom of the canner smelled like green beans and had a tint to it. as i removed the jars from the canner (only 3) i notice the liquid level in the jars was down about a third. so the tops of the greenbeans are not in liquid anymore. is this a normal occurrnace or is this batch a bust? i cant find any information about how the stuff is supposed to look once you take it out!!! thanks for any input!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

If the canner was vented for 10 minutes before applying the weight if a weighted canner, if the gauge has been recently tested for accuracy if using a gauge canner, if the pressure never fell below 11 lbs for the full 25 min, and if the jars seal and remain sealed then the beans are safe to eat. The beans above the liquid will turn dark brown if the jars aren't used shortly but they can be discarded after the jars are opened.

If the answers to the questions above is no, then the beans will not be safe for shelf storage and should be frozen ASAP.

What you experienced is called "siphoning" - liquid is sucked out of the jars into the water. No it isn't normal but it does happen. With practice and experience it can and should be eliminated.

It is caused by the fluctuations in pressure as you adjusted the heat and by moving the canner to sit in the sink (don't move it until after the jars are removed) and possibly by opening the lid too soon if you didn't follow all the steps for cooling.

Using canner manuals for canning instructions is not recommended as most are far out of date. I linked the current step-by-step instructions for using a pressure canner below and it should answer many of your questions. If not, let us know, ok?


PS: you'll also find the current instructions for canning green beans on the same site NCHFP.

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - How to use a Pressure Canner

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 2:01PM
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Ahhhh ok. I did vent for ten mins. And started timing at 11lbs of pressure. It did get up to 13-14 lbs by the time I figured out how to maintain the 11 lbs but never fell any lower.

The manual did say to remove the canner from the heat source. So next time should I just leave it to cool on the burner? I waited a little over an hour to open the canner after the pressure went down and removing the weight.

Thank you for the link Dave. I will give them a goo read through when I get home from work!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 3:37PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Then you should be just fine except for the few dark ones you may have to toss later.

It takes several practice runs to get your particular stove knob and the canner into sync. Was the same for all of us.

If your stove is such that you can smoothly slide the canner to the side off the burner that's fine but otherwise just let it sit as is while cooling. It's the moving that causes the problem because the jars aren't yet sealed and the rings are loose so liquid can spill out of the jars.

That whole NCHFP site has all you need to know for the basics, how-tos, processing times, recipes and all. It is considered the 'official' source along with the Ball Blue Book of Canning.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 4:38PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I would add that waiting an hour after the pressure drops isn't really current info either.
Once the pressure reaches zero, you should loosen the lid (I leave it propped on top, but not closed), let the jars sit for 10 more minutes so they begin to cool slowly, then remove from the canner.

If the jars are allowed to stay in the canner, they don't always create a strong seal.

The link Dave provided is excellent and should help resolve the siphoning problems.

And remember, practice makes perfect! Or at least improves things!! :)


    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 11:11PM
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i read through the stuff on the website and im now working on my second attempt at canning some green beans. i sill havent figured out how to keep it at 11. i turned it down by half when the pressure got to about 9 but it settled at exactly 13...i keep turning it down and...its holding steady at 13. is there any problem with that? its supposed to be 11 but i figure some extra degrees wont hurt, right?!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 3:16PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

That is one of the problems with using a gauge canner rather than a weighted canner and why we so strongly recommend converting any canner to weights. It also saves having to have the gauge tested each year.

There really isn't anyway you can peg it on 11 and trying to do it only causes other problems like siphoning. Think of 11 as the minimum required.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 5:03PM
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You said you put the canner in the sink to release steam and cool down. I'm not sure whether you had water in the sink or not, but it is important to note that the canner should never be force cooled in water.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 6:29PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Good point Jill. No need to move the canner at all. Canner manuals are notorious for being inaccurate and out of date. Even new ones. They seldom get updated or corrected. That's why the NCHFP site is so important.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 7:10PM
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the canning went perfect this time no siphoning at all!!!! and this time i just moved it from the burner to another one as it stated to do on the NCHFP site. and NO i would never put a hot pot or pan into cool water! hahaa that one is common sense! i just wanted to make sure that a higher pressure wouldnt pose any problems like, turning the beans to mush, or anything strange like that!

thanks for replying everyone!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 1:59PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Good job. Now just get a weight set for your canner so you can ignore the gauge and you'll be all set.

And yes, while NCHFP recommends that as an option, it isn't required for any reason. Moving the canner increases the odds of tipping jars and getting food particles trapped between the jar rim and lid. So carefully slide it if you have to but otherwise just let it sit as it until the jars can be removed.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 4:43PM
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