how long to build pressure?

txtigerSeptember 7, 2010

How long should it take a for a PC to build pressure? I have a 23-qt Presto that I have just been using for BWB until yesterday, when I finally decided use it for pressure canning some chicken stock. I vented it for 10 minutes, added the weights, and it took more than 30 minutes for the weights to begin to jiggle.

My instructions with the canner say to turn up the heat to get up to pressure, but I could hear my jars boiling pretty vigorously and only had it on medium heat. I was also worried about siphoning if I turn it up really high to build pressure and then turn it down low for the processing time once the weights begin to jiggle.

The long time even before processing didn't bother me too much this time since it was just stock, but for canning vegetables I think they would be cooked to smithereens before I even get up to the right amount of pressure!

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I have a 16 qt presto. I usually have the water steaming (not boiling) before I lock things down. Usually takes 5-7 minutes to get to venting. Then I turn my cooktop down to 6-7 and let if vent. If I leave it on HI (10) it will build up about 3lb pressure as it is really boiling.

Once vented, I put on the weight and turn the heat back up to high. It takes maybe 10 minutes to get up to pressure, and I start turning the heat down gradually to maintain. Usually I have my cooktop turned down to about 5 and then it will maintain nicely.

With my old glass top stove, it took a bit longer, but that one I turned down to about 2 to hold pressure.

I also have a 21qt AA, and I find the only thing different between the two is that the AA takes a bit longer to cool down - the heat up times and temps are the same. When I have a big batch, I'll get both of them going at the same time.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 3:43PM
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I was wrong about the size on mine. I just double checked, and I have the 16-qt Presto also. So it seems that the difference is that I'm not turning the heat up to high when I put on the weights. I found that I'm able to maintain 10lbs pressure at the second notch (out of 9 I think) on my burner. I'm not going to have major siphoning if I reduce it from one of the highest levels down to 2 once the weight jiggles?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 5:19PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

You need to turn it on high to get it up to pressure, then start reducing the heat gradually once you start timing it.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 7:22PM
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steve22802(7a VA)

Txtiger, you're not still filling the pot all the way up with water like for a boiling water bath are you? That would certainly slow things down. For pressure canning you only need to use a couple inches of water, about two quarts.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 7:43PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

More than 2 quarts, takes 2 to 3 inches. Two quarts doesn't come up that far, but you are right about what yous said about the water in the pressure canner.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 10:35PM
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I just used a couple of inches of water. The canner has a couple of fill lines for cooking, and a lower fill line to indicate the water level for canning.

Next time I'll use higher heat to get the pressure up. I should probably be practicing with colored water in the jars for pressure canning. I did two batches of stock. I think I fiddled with the temp too much on the first batch. I lost a bit of the stock from the jars, and 3 of them did not seal properly. First time I've had a seal failure.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 11:22PM
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