afraid of pressure canner

gardener1908July 12, 2009

I have only canned tomatoes before, anything else I have frozen. This year I plan to do some serious canning. I purchased a new pressure canner (presto).I have never used one and have heard horror stories about them blowing up and what not. Any tips, advice, or things to look out for would be greatly appreciated.

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I'm like you plan to pressure can too. Found this , worthwhile read.

Here is a link that might be useful: canning tips

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 10:52AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

If you are going to use that new Presto as a dial gauge canner, you must get the gauge tested first. It can be off by as much as 4 lb. new out of the box and unsafe to use.
They only "blow up" if you walk away and leave the burner up too high. It is operator neglegence. They have safety plugs that blow first. They are totally safe if you watch them properly.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 1:41PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree that any problems associated with modern pressure canners are due to user neglect or ignorance or proper techniques. And ample info on how to use and use them safely is readily available for those new to the process from NCHFP, the Ball Blue Book, Ball Complete Book of Home Canning, etc.

Yes there are all sorts of old horror stories out there - most patently untrue - and they sure do get freely passed around. And the canner manufacturers aren't good at providing detailed or accurate home canning instructions in their manuals either.

As to tips, as Linda Lou said, unless you also purchased the 3 piece optional weight set for your Presto you will have to use it as a gauge canner. That isn't recommended because of food safety concerns unless you have the gauge tested each year and unless you strictly follow the different pressures and times required for gauge canning. So we always recommend purchasing the weights. There are many, many detailed discussions here on pressure canners and PC techniques you can browse through. Here are a few to get you started.

The link below is to the NCHFP Pressure Canning instructions and guidelines and it will answer most any questions you may have. Please use their guidelines and instructions and avoid using so-called blogs and personal web sites for PC info as most are grossly inaccurate.

So what sorts of things do you plan to pressure can?


Here is a link that might be useful: NVHFP - Using Pressure Canners for Food Preservation

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 2:00PM
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Like the others have said, check out the links on safe canning, then get the weights so you don't have to worry about having your guage checked every year, then go to it. I started canning over 40 years ago and had heard all the horror stories, too. None of them have ever happened to me, but I use recommended methods and keep an eye on my canner when in use. Dig in and do it and each time you can something, you'll develop more confidence. Keep us posted on your progress.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 11:43PM
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jcpyburn(z7b/8 West Texas)

I don't really know very much about pressure canning but I have a friend who is afraid of using one and my husband won't let me use one because of safety concerns. One day I was at my MIL's house and somehow the discussion came around to the times that a pressure cooker blew up on her and another time on my SIL burning them both badly. I asked them why they had exploded and they BOTH said " Well, I don't know why, I had used it find for a long time and it worked fine. But I think the little thing that lets off steam was broken." I didn't know what they were talking about at the time cause I had never used or really seen one much but after I read up on it I was thinking well of course they blew up they were not able to release any steam! I don't know how much this adds to the discussion but I just thought I would give an example of how user error can lead to those "horror stories" from people but they don't give the real reason behind the story. This is exactly why my husband won't let me use one!


    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 12:08AM
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Thanks to all. I haven't checked to see if mine has weights or not, if not I will make sure I get them and have the gauge checked. Thanks for the links digdirt. I am planning on canning beans, salsas, tomatoe sauce, peaches, applesauce and whatever else I see on this forum that excites me. You all seem to have some great recipes. By the way, digdirt, my family has already eaten all 7 jars of the pickles! Said they were the best they ever had, nice & crispy. Thanks for the tips.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 9:15AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Glad to hear they liked the pickles! :)

This is exactly why my husband won't let me use one!

So I assume that the fact that thousands of home canners have been doing it for decades with no problems wouldn't carry any weight with you (or him)? That's too bad because BWB canning is so limited and pressure canning opens up a whole other world of home food preservation.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 10:14AM
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Re: July 13, 9:15 post, you can have your gauge checked but NOT your weights. Weights are specially factory made to release steam at a certain pressure.
If you have a gauge and weights, the weight will let you know if your gauge is OK.
My Presto has both the 3 piece weight set and the gauge. I use the 10 pounds set as I live under 1000 feet and my weight starts rocking at 10 1/2 pounds. That is exactly where I want and need it at my elevation so I do NOT have my gauge checked yearly. My 10 pound weight checks my gauge in essence. My local Agricultural Extension also no longer performs this service as they used to.
You want to be very careful in canning but not so paranoid that it keeps you from functioning. It is a lot of fun. Here in So. Calif. where I live and can, people cannot believe that someone (me) still does that. I have a time not having them throw out the jars. To most people in So. Calif. today, jars are for recycling or throwing out.
Have fun! Jim in So. Calif.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 11:18AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Many new models of other brands come with only the weights - no gauge at all. But your new Presto won't come with the weight set - it is an extra option that has to be ordered. They only come with what they call the counterweight (a one piece 15 1/2 lb. weight that just sits on the steam vent to prevent excess pressure build up in the canner, and of course they have the gauge.

So order the 5-10-15 lb. 3 piece weight set and then like Jim says, don't worry about the gauge as you can basically ignore it - the weights do the pressure regulating and do it far more accurately.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 1:04PM
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jcpyburn(z7b/8 West Texas)


I would love to try but with my husband its a no-go! so I dehydrate everything I can't water bath and use that. Works pretty well, maybe not the best but you do what you can do. Sometimes I freeze too if I have enough space. :) Maybe someday if I keep pestering him he will relent and let me!!


    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 2:13PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

Let me see IF I am understanding this, when the pressure gets to say 10 pounds the weight rocks? Mine reads 10 pounds but the weight doesn't giggle until it gets much higher say like 15 pounds or more. I have an older Presto canner. I have used it very little and I do mean very little until this year. I tried to find the date mine was done in the book but I'm not finding a year it was made. But I know I have had it 10 plus years.
Dave what is the 5-10-15 lb. 3 piece weight set? It's THREE pieces? What does this thing look like? I googled it to see if I could find one but didn't find one.

I found a forum where they were discussing this and someone gave the item number. they said you order part number 50332 for the weight set. It comes apart. You have 3 pieces. The center is 5 lb. Add one ring and you have 10 lb. , add the third piece along with the other 2 and you have 15 lb. pressure.
They even have a pic of what one looks like and mine looks just like the last pic but you can't see air between mine. Well actually mine looks like the second pic on the metal part and the last pic with the little black knob thing on it, that's how mine is. So I don't guess I have a 3 piece one. The little black knob screws off it but I can't get the other thing apart.
So now wonder I kept having to stand over mine. UGHHH Mine basically stays at 15 or above in pressure and kept wanting to go into the black where it says caution. I thought my stove eye must be trying to go out or something because it was SO changeable! I WILL BE getting me one of these things! Maybe that will make it much easier. There are two links on this link below where they have found their 3 piece weight sets.
Now I have another question for you.... WHERE does one find out what model they have? Even my book that came with mine doesn't have it on there. Uh ha it says look on the bottom of the canner. ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: Pix of the 3 piece weight set

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 10:33PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

What model do yoy have? What brand is it? You can usualy find a model number stamped on the outside bottom. To narrow down the possible thousand different models, let us know what band it is and when did you buy it. Also, you can measure the number of quarts of water it takes to fill it. With this info, it will narrow down choices. The OLDER Presto came with only a SINGLE FIFTEEN POUND WEIGHT as mentioned previosuly. Thats the reaon Presto offers an optional weight set for allow you to get 5, 10 or 15 pounds pressure by using the specific weight disks.

Here is a link that might be useful: PHOTO OF PRESSURE WEIGHT SETS

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 2:08AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

If you have a dial Presto, it doesn't have a weight. That is called a counterweight. I am repeating, it is NOT a weight !!! It is called the counterweight. It is only to let pressure build. You control the pressure with the heat on your stove. The weight set is totally different. You use the weight for your altitude. Yes, it is part 50332. If the set fits your vent pipe on the canner it will work.
My guess is it will. Only the really old ones don't accomodate the weight set due to the vent pipe being too big around and the wrong shape. Even my old one from the 1970's will use the set just fine.
I highly recommend using the weights instead of relying on the dial.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 2:34AM
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robin_d(8b Tacoma WA)

I'm personally trying to wrap my head around "my husband won't let me". My husband knows that I am a responsible adult and capable of making my own choices and decisions, and anything less smells a bit like domestic tyranny. :-(

Besides, you can't can things like Stew or Chili without a pressure canner, and what man doesn't love those, eh?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 3:33AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree with you Robin. Carly, if I told my wife she wasn't allowed to do something it would be the very next thing she did. And she'd hit me over the head with the PC as she did it. To each his own I guess. ;)

When compared to pressure canning, there are very few things you can do with a BWB. You can't even can most vegetables without a PC.

gardnpondr - should be clear now but if not let us know.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 9:14AM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

lol, well I wasn't going there on the can't do stuff. ;) I'm sure each of us do things our spouses don't want us to do all the time. lol
anyway mine is a presto pressure canner cooker or visa versa. I took it to the hardware store today along with my other regular pressure cooker pot I have that needed a new handle as well as a new seal and they had the 3 piece regulatators and I bought me one and it does fit the little thing that sticks up on the lid. They had to order the seal and the pot handle for the pressure cooker though because they didn't have it. They had all kinds of them but didn't have this one.
Thank you all once again! Man I feel MUCH BETTER now that I have this thing to use on there. I was telling the lady at the hardware store about some of the pressure canners being off by 4# and she'd never heard of it. I hadn't either until now. BUT now I know!

LOL OHHHHHH and get this! lol I was watching a TV show on the PBS station yesterday evening and she was making beans. She said when you pressure can your beans they wont bother your stomach. I was like wow, good to know! I canned a bunch yesterday and DH ate a belly full for dinner last night and for lunch today. lol They're not bothering him either. ;) I pressure canned them in the canner. She said also to use a bay leaf in them and that would also help BUT when canning them I don't know if you could put the bay leaf. I got the recipe I canned from someone on here and man that recipe is awesome! BOTH of us love it. It's the one with the chili powders, onion flakes, pepper, salt, cumin, and cilentro sp? and can't remember what else. But it's VERY GOOD!

OHHHHH I forgot to ask..... This regulator thing was in a small ziplock bag with no directions on how to take it apart, it came with this little metal thing, and we can't figure out HOW to take it apart. It IS 3 pieces and has this little hole on the bottom to stick this in but how to get it apart. NO DIRECTIONS? You can see a pic of what I am talking about on my blog link below.

Thanx again you guys!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pic of the regulator

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 11:44PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

That sure doesn't look like the 3 piece weight set but maybe it is just the photo and the weight set doesn't come with any metal probe that I know of. Did it have the right part number on the package? Part 50332

The 5 lb weight is just the center hub with the knob on it and there are 2 5 lb rings that sit down on it and lift right off of the top. The hub and 1 ring=10 lb. Hub+both rings=15 lb.

Here is a picture of it apart.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 11:58PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

It's 3 pieces but the part number isn't the same as you meantioned. This one is, Item number 42209 and it says it's a 3 piece pressure regulator on the package. This is an old old store so I figured it was just an old item number. There is another number under the bar code but they have written the price and the word Presto over it in a magic marker so I can see what the number is.
That's what this one will look like if it was taken apart. There is a small ring thing around the middle piece that you pop out to take it apart but the thing spins when you try to get it out. It's in a groove. It's made to take out because it has a gap to take it out. Leave it to me to find a weird one. lol

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 1:13AM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

This is the pressure canner/cooker that I have on the link below and the pressure regulator is totally different on this one on the link. I've been TRYING to find out what weight one I bought but coming up empty on it. I did email Presto with some questions to be sure on this one I have though!!

Here is a link that might be useful: My Model number for my canner

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 1:24AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I have no idea why the little metal thing is there. I can't even find a part with that number.
The right weight set is 50332. They just come apart, you take the rings off on by lifting up and removing from the top of the center post. I am not sure the thing you have is even large enough. It may be for a old COOKER, not a canner... as I said, I have never heard of that part number nor seen one with the little metal pin thing.
I am thinking you have the wrong part.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 3:26AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yeah, return that one. It is not the correct weight set for your canner. It's for a small cooker. The 16 qt., 21 quart, and 23 qt. Presto canners all use part 50332.

Contacting Presto has proved to be pointless in the past for most others as they usually claim the 3-piece weight set doesn't exist despite all of us who have and use them.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 8:22AM
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Not sure if this will help you or not for parts try Sears for ordering new/needed parts

might help


Here is a link that might be useful: sears pressure canner parts by model #

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 9:54AM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

Well you were right on dealing with Presto! Check out this email! LOADS of help!

Hi, I have a Presto canner #0175005 and I had to purchase the 3 piece pressure
regulator for it. Now what I am wondering is HOW do I get this thing apart for the different pressures? It didn't come with any directions with it. It just has this little metal thing with a curved end on it. It has this metal
piece around the weights but how in the world do you hold it to keep it from turning while you PRY that thing out of there?
Thank you!

For one thing, you have the wrong regulator for your model, The regulator
that belongs with that particular canner is 1 pc 15# regulator , it does not come apart.

THEN I found out on here that I may not have bought the RIGHT ONE, so I emailed back asking this!

Model #: 175005 Presto Canner/Cooker

Hi, I'm sorry.......I have already emailed you a few minutes ago but just
happen to find out I don't know if I got the right 3 piece pressure
regulator or not. I'm wanting the 15 pound one and this one I have doesn't
give the pounds on it. It says it's 3 piece pressure regulator and the item
number is 42209. If this is not the 15 pound pressure one, which one is this
one I have? Thank you for your time!

Your regulator part #09978, is a 1 piece 15# regulator. That is the correct one for your model. The variable regulator is for the canners with no gauge.

SO NOW I ask you, WHAT do I do? LOL Am I misunderstanding or did they NOT asnwer my question about the pounds on this one I bought so I would know if it was 15# or not. ?????

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 4:01PM
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robin_d(8b Tacoma WA)

Perhaps it would be easier just to order it? I found mine at my local hardware store.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 5:28PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

Thank you Robin for that link.
I finally got it apart and have got a good pic of it on the link below so you can see it in more detail.
You can see the little metal thing that holds all the pieces together. BUT after I took it out of the groove, there really is NO reason why it should go back in because it stays in place without it in there. You have to screw the knob off to even get it all apart. So it makes no sense that it's on there to begin with.

Here is a link that might be useful: 3 piece pressure regulator

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 5:56PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

This is not common knowledge about using the 3 piece weight set.
I teach food preservation/safety. It was MY research with Presto and speaking with Elizabeth Andress at the Univ. of Georgia that I came up with this method.....
Since the new All American come this way with both a dial gauge and weight set, I wondered why we could not do the same with the Presto dial canner. So, I contacted Presto both by email and phone. They even told me the part number to use and yes, it would work and be safe. So, then I contacted Elizabeth Andress since she is the expert on such things. She is the most respected person in the field of food preservation/safety. I got a great reply from her, stating this was a great idea. So, this is not something you will be taught by others. This was my own development.
It is safe, though. It is part no. 50332. I am sharing this find with others, such as you, to help you out.
What you get with the canner is a COUNTERWEIGHT. It is not meant to regulate the pressure with, only basically to hold the pressure inside. It technically will jiggle at about 15 lb, but not many need a 15 lb. weight to can with. Most folks need 10 lb. weighted gauge to can with.
So, there you have it from me, the one who came up with this and have it verified.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 7:37PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It would help if you would refer to it as the 3 piece weight set and NOT as a "pressure regulator". It isn't a pressure regulator and it isn't a counter-weight, it is a set of weights. So no they did not answer your question because the terms of the question were wrong. But as we already said, they won't answer you anyway so you will just have to take our word for it.

What we have been advising you to buy is a 3 piece weight set and even given you the part number, a photo of it, a description, and links to where to order it and we have already advised that the part you purchsed is not the correct part and will not work so it doesn't matter if you can get it apart or not, right? Whether or not you choose to return it is up to you.

Honestly, I don't mean to sound short but you are way over-complicating what is a very simple thing to do. In addition to all the info already provided, there are umpteen other discussions here about how and why to do this.

With a Presto canner you have 2 choices: (1) have your gauge tested annually or (2) buy the 3 piece weight set part number 50332 and replace the counter-weight on your canner with that set of weights. That really is all there is to it.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 7:55PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

Alrighty then. Thank you Linda Lou and Dave. I thought this just might be another kind that you hadn't seen yet but obviously I was mistaken which I don't mind saying. Just wanted to make sure before I take something back and ask for another. I will call her tomorrow and just get her to order this one part number 50332 for me and maybe it will also come in at the same time my other things come in that she has ordered for me.
For the record Dave, it IS WRITTEN ON the package this thing came in, 3 piece pressure regulator, it doesn't say weight. So THAT is why I was calling it what it had on it's package. Sorry THEY were wrong with what they call the thing.
Thanx again.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 12:36AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

it IS WRITTEN ON the package this thing came in, 3 piece pressure regulator, it doesn't say weight. So THAT is why I was calling it what it had on it's package.

I understand that and we know that even the contacts at Presto can't seem to make the connection between the 2 different parts no matter how many times it is explained to them.

But we all know how stores often mis-label and sell the wrong things. ;) And we had given you the correct name and part number so that info should have been of help to you.

Unfortunately these type of stores also often mis-order things so I wish you luck going that route. Personally, I continue to recommend that you order the correct 3 piece weight set from one of the many online vendors who know and understand this issue and are used to dealing with it and sending the right part. Going that route would have saved you a great deal of time and confusion.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 9:17AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

A 'regulator' is the same as a weight set when it comes to PC. The weighs are designed to offer internal pressurs at specific amounts. The pressures set by the weight cannot increase due to the fact that the weight is REGULATING the pressure. Terminology for describing the weight set, can be variable and be defined by the maker as a regulator, pressure control, or weight set. Stores simply sell things based on the knowledge of their buyers and the way products are described by the manufacturer. The 'weights' are simple physics, the more 'weight' you add to a small vent pipe, the more pressure the inside will get to before the weight has to let some excess pressure (in this case steam) out. Once its back down to a set amount of pressure, the 'weight', or in another case, 'regulator' will control the actual internal pressure of the canner. Industry uses this same exact method for controlling pressures accurately. Even your home hot water heater has a 'regulator', or a spring controlled valve (weight) that will open if pressures inside exceed a specific point. The water heaters MUST have some positive set means to prevent an explosion or bursting of an overheated tank.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 2:29PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Not in this particular case Ken - thus all the confusion.

Yes, of course weights act as pressure regulators - we all know that - but you can't use the terms interchangeably without creating confusion for folks and ending up with the wrong parts. Just like you can't call the counterweight that comes on the Presto a weight (even though technically it is a 15.5 lb. one) or a pressure regulator (even though it technically is one) without confusing folks.

But in this particular case this item is labeled as and sold as "a 3 piece weight set" and is used to replace the counterweight. That is the point I am trying to make.

As we have discovered in the past the term pressure regulator means one thing to the folks at Presto and one thing only - a counterweight. And likely it's the same to most mom and pop hardware stores - especially if they know little about pressure canning. Ask them about pressure regulators and you will get exactly the same useless answers and parts from them that gardenponder got.

So if we call it what it is, what it is labeled, and we check for the correct part number too then folks won't be buying the wrong thing.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 4:12PM
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From my research, Presto will NOT tell you it is "ok" to use the weight set with the canner. This is because they do not want to be responsible for someone walking away from the canner, the instructions say to stay by the canner to monitor the pressure at all times.

I bought my Presto last year, and then bought the three piece weight set. It works just great. In fact, I need pressure just over the 10lbs for my elevation, so I added clipped washers so it will hold around 12 lbs, which is more than I need but I like a bit of a "buffer".

My bookelt says you can "test" the gauge by putting the counterweight on and it should regester just over 15 lbs when the counterweight starts to jiggle. If it does not, then it says the gauge needs to be serviced.

I also have an AA canner (bought a month ealier than the Presto) that comes with both the weight and a gauge. It says that the guage is only to be used to keep an eye on the pressure (like when it's building or cooling down) but not use it in place of the weight.

So, Presto says to use the gauge and not weights with their canner, and AA says to rely on the weights, not the gauge with their canner. Since the Presto is designed to work on a Glass top stove, it is much lighter and thinner walled than the AA. I expect this means it is more likely to have issues if you are not careful and let it over pressureize. And with the glass stove, if you don't keep an eye on it, you are also more likely to let things way overheat and ruin your stove.

So if you mess up with the Presto, and can't tell them that you stood beside it and watched it the entire 90 minutes, they can say you didn't follow directions and you are out of luck.

I put the weight on mine so I can go about the kitchen and not have to watch the dial and tweek the temp on the cooktop every 30 seconds to keep it right. Now I set the dail on about 1.5 (very low) and the weight rocks as it should.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 4:46PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Dave, you are providing the information EXACTLY. I really appreciate your post on this. It is confusing, since Presto does call the counterweight a regulator.
Since I teach this stuff, it is technically called a counterweight on this type of canner. It doesn't regulate the pressure, it only holds the pressure in and allows it to raise. You, yourself are the one who regulates that with the temp. dial on your stove with a dial gauge.

I am so glad that many of you are taking the information about the weight set and using it to your advantage.
I did speak with some reps from Presto and as I said, I was even told the part number to get and use from them on the weight set.

I really thing the set Rose got was for a small pressure cooker. Sure it was a set, but not the right one. So, Rose, I hope you took it back and are getting the right one, 50332.

Happy canning folks !

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 5:14PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

Thank you Linda Lou! I haven't taken it back yet because it's a small drive to the hardware store from my house. I called her today and told her this one was wrong and that I needed her to order part number 50332 for me and I did not call it a pressure regulator I called it a 3 piece weight set and she got my phone number and called be back about it because she wanted to look IN HER book and see if they had that part number. She called me back and said they did, and that she would order that one for me. I will take this one I have back when it and my other things she ordered for me a couple days ago comes in. She said she orders on Thursdays and so this was good that I got her today.

I know what you mean Cathy, it's a pain in the behind to litterly stand guard over the thing. Most of the time you are trying to can something else or at least trying to get it ready etc. OR trying to catch up on something else you couldn't do while you did your canning.

Thank you all again and so sorry for all the confusion!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 6:56PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The actual 10 pound weight is really at 11 pounds pressure. Something that controls pressure is called a regulator, no matter if its electronic, manual, weights, or springs. They all control a pressure at a specific amount. There are simply too many confusons about a simple device that has worked well for centuries and no other pressure control means are necessary or designed for canners. The ONLY reason you want to monitor a pressure canner while its boiling is to prevent the canner from getting too hot and boiling out all the water before the event has completed.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 9:47PM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

this has been a good thread, I got my new presto on Saturday and haven't canned with it and won't be in the next couple of weeks (nearly wrote fortnight!) but will be order the 3 peice part from Amason tonight, kicking myself as a lot of reviews recommended buying it! more fool me!
My question is is this is such a inaccurate science (the dial thing) why do presto use it at all, why not save all the heart ache and supply the 3 piece weights as well? for alittle more money? or do away with it all together and just include the weights, I don't see that the gauge offers any convenience at all as you have to keep your eyes glued to it?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 9:51PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

That would be great if they did just do the same as All American and include both.
Those gauges they use are cheap ! At least they are now sending the new gauges packed in styrofoam that is cut to shape to hold the gauge. Used to come in a little box, and that was it. So, I heard from a gal that sells the canners where she works. They said something to her about working with their suppliers/manufacturers on improving the gauges.
Since I figured out about the weights, I am using them,too, and I test gauges. Some of the folks say the rattling of the weights drives them crazy, so they would rather babysit the dial. Not me ! It is so much easier this way. You can be doing other things while you listen to the rattle. I do like seeing the visual gauge, just so I can compare the pressure. No biggie, but I do like having both.
On the Presto, let it jiggle the whole time. On the Mirro it is a few times a minute, but Presto is constant.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 10:22PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

Oh me to LindaLou, would much rather not have to baby sit this thing and also don't mind hearing it rattle. KsRogers you have been so helpful and patient and I do appreciate it. NOW I understand how this thing works but don't ask me to explain it. lol
I to like having both as well LindaLou. OR will like having both.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 12:05AM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

Thanks Linda Lou
no, I would rather hear the rattle, with twin 4 year olds I can't afford the luxury of siting and watching, and I can't afford the fall out if I did it wrong, 4 year olds are precious and I can't order replacements for them :) and on that note I have also brought Ball jars, haven't canned in years but I will not be using my eye on jars in the future, I am a changed women.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 9:50PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I sure remember what it was like to have twins around. They were my husband's little brothers. Oh, the things they would get into was something else.
It was rather hard to cook potatoes for dinner when they had rolled them all down the hill, LOL !
Brings back a lot of memories.
Hope you can some great things for your children. I know they will love it. My grandson sure does ! Especially the cherries.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 5:33PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Actually Presto may be catching on - finally - or Walmart forced them into it like that have done to some other companies.

They have a limited edition model with weights only in 16 qt. size now available from Walmart only. Ran across it when digging for info for the Presto Canner 1745 thread.

Thought I had seen it there but didn't pay much attention to it until Misskimmie asked for info.


Here is a link that might be useful: Presto canner at Walmart

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 9:27PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

If it were me and I accidentally dropped a dial gauge, I would toss it out and simply put a threaded plug in the hole in the lid. They are not accurate and should never be relied on even if they were calibrated and included a conversion chart.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 10:43PM
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valereee(6a SW Ohio)

Wow, it's too bad that Presto weight-only canner is only a 16qt! I have a 23-qt, and I can't imagine using something that much smaller.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 11:03AM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

Well I got the right one and I sure do appreciate all your help. It looks like they may have changed them just a little though BUT it IS part number 50332 this time. This things going to be sooooo nice!
Thanx you guys!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 1:09PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

When I bought my Presto canner in the 1970's the first thing I did was order the "Three-Piece Pressure Regulator for Canning and Cooking" listed as an accessory piece on the parts list at the back of the manual.

It cost me $5.50. It emulates the much pricier All-American pressure canner, which has a gauge and a 5-10-15 regulator as the standard arrangement.

Although I had my gauge tested from time-to-time I never used anything but the three-piece regulator and never depended upon the gauge for anything but verification.

So it's been around for a long long time. There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don't know. [Ambrose Bierce]

What changed, apparently, is that while Presto continued to manufacture and sell the piece, they quit mentioning it. Why, I have no idea.

As far as fears of exploding canners is concerned, this did happen shortly after WWII. If you go to the link and select History of Pressure Canning then scroll down to The End of the Beginning you'll read why this occurred.

Miss Vickie's site is a wonderful all-around pressure cooker resource, by the way. So is her book. There are other resources for canning, like the NCHFP, but anyone new to the world of pressure cookers and canners can find a wealth of information there.

When I told my husband you were frightened of pressure canners he said, "Good. She'll treat it with respect." Today's canners are engineered to be safe in ways some old ones weren't, but during operation it's not the time to "multi-task" or wander out to the garden. Just remember that, do a trial run or two before canning, and you'll be fine.

I hope you don't let fearfulness be a barrier. A pressure canner can open a world of economical and healthful options for your family.


Here is a link that might be useful: History of Pressure Canning on Library Menu

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 4:05PM
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Thanks to all. As usual on GW I have gleaned a wealth of information. With cool weather still waiting for the big crops to come in. Will be using the pressure canner soon.

Readinglady, your husband is right, I will treat it with respect and will do a few trial runs. Bookmarked Miss Vickie's site. Looks like some good reading.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 11:01AM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

Oh my goodness, I used it a couple nights ago and it was awesome! I did some okra and had two canners of them and it worked like a charm. I could hear it rattling all the way into the office on the other side of the house so I didn't have to stay right there the whole time. Actually I really think my pressure canner was off by more than 4 pounds because the guage was registering about 13-14 pounds the whole time I was using the new 3 weight set. I know it's the right one this time because it's the part number you gave on here. I have to keep remembering the guage isn't right.
I did have a little of the water cook out of my okra though and not understanding WHY on this batch. I left an inch headspace like the directions said to. I also waited until the pressure was 0 before I opened the canner and then I waited 15 minutes before taking the jars out of the canner.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 12:03PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

It may have had a bit too high heat while processing. That can also force out liquid.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 3:41PM
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Thank you, thank you, thank you.. (I would put little musical notes around that if I could)

I bought a new pressure canner about 3-4 weeks ago... before I found you wonderful folks. I opened it up, looked at it, drooled a bit and then put it back in the box until I was ready to use it. Then after doing all the reading here I found I will need the higher weights because my elevation is around 2800. I was certain my new canner's weight was not a multi-piece and I was ready to be disappointed. So planning to do my first batch of anything tomorrow, I thought, well let me at least check the weight so I can say I tried... Then yahoo!!! I do have the 3-piece weight and I probably never would have tried to take it apart, if not for you wonderful folks, the links with pictures and your comments... I just can't sing your praises enough.

Wal-Mart 16-Qt Presto canner/cooker...about $69

Thanks again and tomorrow Potato Leek soup...can it get any better???


    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 11:08PM
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dogear6(7 / Richmond VA)

One thing I notice when reading the threads on being afraid to pressure can is that not many people must be using a pressure cooker. Once I got the knack of the pressure cooker and making sure it was at the right pressure, etc., I realized that the tales of exploding pots were from old pots that did not have safety features built in, not following instructions, or just plain old made up stories.

I bought a pressure canner but have not used it yet simply due to lack of time. But after pressure cooking for so many years, it doesn't bother me to try pressure canning. The instructions have differences, but the technique is pretty similar.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 11:52PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Good point dogear6! The great advantages of pressure cooking - a roast in 20 mins., vegetables in 5 mins., meat that just falls off the bone, deep undiluted, infused flavors, etc. - seem to have been lost or forgotten over the years.

Only thing faster is a microwave and in some cases the PC beats the microwave. But only we "old folks" :) seem to still do it.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 9:37AM
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History of Pressure Cooking, very interesting...
I especially liked this photo.... My Mom told me about the rationing back then. The sugar, butter, tires, shoes were hard to get, and many other things. Gas was rationed. Besides going through the depression, I'm sure WWII was another reason that so many folks of that generations were so conservative, saving every little thing and learning to made do with what they had for the rest of their lives.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 11:36AM
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Be respectful of pressure caners. That means follow guides, instructions and rules about their operation. Always check the safety features, seals, and make sure the vent pipe hole is clear before starting.

A couple things I have learned with some time and practice (and hearing a sad story about a caner being boiled dry.) If you are boiling a presto pressure caner hard enough that the weights are giggling enough to be heard on the other side of the house, you are probably running it too hot. This might not be that big of an issue for a quick batch of something that only takes 20-30 minutes to process. However if you run the caner that hot when processing something that takes 60-100 minutes, you are in danger of boiling dry and damaging the caner.

With the presto weight set, it should be rocking constantly but not necessarily rattling as if it is trying to launch. I've processed things for 60-75 minutes and there is a definite difference in the amount of water left in the caner in relation to how vigorous you keep the weight set rocking. If canning meat in wide mouth half pint jars, I'm certain I would want to add jar rings under the canning rack to elevate the jars and allow me to put enough water in the caner without covering the jar tops so I could make sure not to boil dry before the end of processing time.

Along these lines, the reason the caner manuals generally say not to use outdoor propane burners for caning is they tend to be quite hot and difficult to adjust to a low enough burn for appropriate canning. This topic has also been discussed at length on the forum. You need to be able to get a good consistent low heat without the burner going out in order to can. I do my canning outside over a propane burner but I was careful to get one that could be regulated down to a pretty low flame and I made wind screens to go around the burner/pot. Even so, the minimum easily maintained flame on my burner is only just cool enough for canning.

As for those who's hubbie won't allow a pressure canner.....Perhaps you can find a preserving buddie with a pressure canner and go over to their house for some preserving parties. Then bring home a few jars of chile or stew or soup and see if you can convince the other half that new caners with proper care can be safe enough.

My other half originally refused the idea of pressure caned veggies cause he though it would all be "mush" Now that I have been caning soup, stew, beets, etc, he has finally relented and decided it is ok. (His original idea about canning veggies was totally unsafe and I had to quash that totally.)
Good Luck

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 12:55PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

All excellent points, tc!! Always good to be reminded regularly of everything you said.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 1:08PM
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We got a pressure canner (Mirro 22 QT) 3 or 4 years ago, for some reason or another we never ended up using it, but this last week, I decided it was time to get some use out of it (canning deer meat)but we can't seem to get it working right. I read the manual a couple times over, was very confident with everything, I thought I'd start with just the 2 quarts of water and vinegar, for a practice run, but the weight refuses to jiggle.
I'm canning on a woodstove (my only option, as our stove is a flattop)I got the heat really high, until it was steaming pretty good out of the vent, then I set the weight on at 15lbs pressure (because of our altitude) and after a couple minutes the weight will just tip to the side, and a bunch of steam will come out, then I push the weight back on, and it sits for a while, then it tips to the side, and it will not jiggle.
So I've done a lot of research on the net, and the only thing I can come up with is something is messed up with the rubber seal, but, I've never used it before?
anyone have any ideas?
sorry for the novel :)

ps. this is an add on after reading some other posts about the weight/regulator discussion and I'm likely not calling it the right thing, but it comes apart in three pieces for the 5, 10 and 15 lbs pressure

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 4:27PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Jammi, Just a thought - you say you are canning on a wood you by chance know if it's level?

My vintage Mirro 22 qt, has no guage but the one piece type weight with different holes for 5, 10, 15#....doesn't work worth a darn unless on a completely level surface - the weight hangs up and won't jiggle otherwise. I check the level each canning session before using it (keep a small carpenters level in my canning supplies), resort to putting pennies under the burner ring of my electric stove.

If losing steam and perhaps even dripping along the edge of the lid it could be your gasket, but if it seems sealed tight except the weight won't 'dance' could be the level of your stove top.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 4:45PM
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Hmmm....That is VERY interesting, I bet you nailed it,
Will definately see if its level when I get home

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 5:00PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Hmmm, pressure canning on a wood stove. Now that has to be a challenge. How on earth do you keep your pressure steady? Especially for things that have to run for an hour or more?


    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 7:07PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

A wood stove is do-able but you have to know your stove and how to maintain a steady fire.

There's no reason in principle why it wouldn't work but the more experience you have with a wood-burning range the easier it is.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 10:15PM
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Can you pressure cook/can on a glass top? BJ's has a cooker for $22. It's small, but I think I have read on this forum that a cooker can be used as a canner for pints? I'd really like to fit quarts, but I'll have to see what size this is.

I also have an old dial-gauge canner I got at a yard sale (lady threw it in when I bought all her jars), but don't know what kind it is and if I can get the dial tested or find a weight set for it. Plus I'm worried it may scratch my stove (very heavy).

Thanks - hope this wasn't a hijack.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 8:51AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I don't see it a hijack, but maybe important enough for its own new thread.

First, not being familiar with BJs, I looked that up and may be missing the one you mention....I find a 6.5 qt size for approx $25, its definitely a cooker, not canner.

To be considered safe to pressure can in, it must be large enough to hold 4 Qt size jars sitting on a rack, even if you don't plan to use quarts in it, it has to be at least that minimum size or is only a cooker for uncanned food. My 8 qt Mirro falls short by about an eyelash of the lid seating firmly with 4 quart jars in it - and that one I only cook in, not can.

Those glass topped stoves can vary, some you may can on, others it will void the stove warranty. My sis-in-laws is JennAir and she has put her really weighty All American canner on it the last couple of years. It hasn't harmed the stove, but the problem I find in watching her can is the stove cycles up and down in heat setting, seems to be a built safety mechanism of the stove itself. She came very close to losing her 10#s pressure several times during the course of canning tuna 100 minutes last month - and I was wishing she had just brought her things here and used my electric stove with additional canning burner.

Some times those older canners are great finds. Is there some kind of model or description on the bottom that would tell us what it is?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 4:51PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Can you pressure cook/can on a glass top?

Depends on the stove brand. Some yes and some no. If the burner is one that cycles off and on then you can't keep the pressure steady.

Presto makes a pressure canner model in 2 sizes that they advertize as specifically approved for glass top stoves. But I can't say that I have ever seen a canner for $22, a pressure cooker yes, but not one large enough to qualify as a canner.

Never heard of BJs either but found a website that I guess is them. No pressure canners sold there, only small unusual named cookers and none big enough for canning. There are only 3 manufacturers of pressure canners - Presto, Mirro, and All American.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 6:27PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

Well you're not going to believe this but someone just gave me a pressure canner just like the one I already have. So now I have two! This is wonnnnnderful having two! SO I came back on here looking for the right model number so I could order me another 3 piece weight set and was floored this info was still on here! I had printed out info on it but didn't print out the part number! ughhh so NOW I have it written on my paper. Cleaning up the canner and testing it out soon to see how the gaskets do on it. Going to have to order a couple lid handles for it though because one is missing and one is broken off since I was having to use my hammer to loosen the lid on it. It was like glued on. It hasn't been used in awhile. The gauge is rusty a little on the outside and on the top of the inside just a bit and wondering if that will be ok as long as it's outside of the canner? Hubby thinks it needs replacing but I told him I don't use that anyway and you go by the weight set. It's been stored in a shed so it's a little rusty but not really bad.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:50PM
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