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Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 21, 11 at 9:48

After much procrastination, I've finally decided to try pressure canning. So my first step was to review all the posts I could find on the subject here and I think I've decided to go with the Presto 23 qt. canner. I'm also going to buy an extra rack for stacking pints and the weight system.

I'm not sure if I have the right weight system though. All the posts talk about a "3 piece weight" system but the only one I can find has 4 pieces (I think). Can you look at the link and see if I have the right one?

Presto Pressure Canner Pressure Regulator

When I get it, I'm going to try colored water as suggested in another post as my first experiment.

Thanks - Val

PS - I'm also going to learn the prayers :-)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

That is the right one - Part # 50332. It is 3 pieces - black handle center is 5 lb. and each additional ring is 5 lbs.

If you haven't already reviewed them be sure to check out How to Use a Pressure Canner Guidelines.

Good luck! :)

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Using a Pressure Canner


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 21, 11 at 17:02

Thanks Dave. Just ordered all three and should receive them by March 1.

I'm sure I'll have more questions so I'll post back here when I get the order. Can't wait to expand my pantry with veggies and soups.

Val


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 3, 11 at 15:03

Just an update....

I JUST finished successfully canning my first batch of WATER! :-)

Yes, I did procrastinate but I finally got it done today. Had to....the green beans are coming on!

Anyway...If any beginners read this, it was much easier than I thought it'd be and I can't believe I waited sooooo long to try this.

To practice, I just used two quarts of water (minus the food coloring..'cause I forgot) but pretended they were green beans....meaning I did everything the book told me to in order to raw pack, except the part about actually cutting the green beans and putting them in the jar.

I can't wait to actually can food :-)

I also wanted to thank everyone on this forum. If I hadn't been able to read all the great helpful posts about pressure canning, I don't think I would have ever tried it.

Val


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

Good for you, Val. It is not hard at all. Just like anything else, just takes time to prepare and process the foods.


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 4, 11 at 13:48

Thanks Linda. I must add that I'm very happy that I got the 3 piece weight system. It became clear to me why this was so useful when the pressure started building in the canner.

If I had only gone with the dial gauge, I would have had to watch the canner much more carefully. I think I would have had to fiddle with the flame more to maintain the right pressure. The weight system (I only used 2 pieces to make 10 lbs.) kept my canner at 10-11 pounds pressure the whole time.

It dawned on me when the weights were jiggling violently that the pressure was staying the same. Then I slowly began backing my flame down to slow the jiggling slightly and the canner maintained it's pressure. Now I know that I can keep my stove knob at around 3 and 1/2 and the pressure should be just right.

I'm telling all beginners that once you try it, it all starts making sense. Sometimes hands on experience is the best teaching aid.

Val


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 8, 11 at 23:03

Update: I just canned 6 and 1/2 quarts of green beans tonight. I'm going to be so happy this winter when I can open fresh canned green beans.

I'm slow at pressure canning so it takes me longer to do everything, mainly because I'm reading and re-reading the instructions to make sure I'm doing everything right but I'm sure after awhile I'll be as comfortable with this as I am with my Water Bath canner.

Next up: potatoes! :-)

Val


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 27, 11 at 7:32

Well okay! I did the potatoes yesterday and I'm not as excited about them as I was the green beans.

First off...the Ball Complete book was WAY off on the amount of potatoes you need so I had lots of extras left over that I'd already peeled.

Also, there was no way I could have boiled them for 10 minutes before packing. It only took about 5 to 6 minutes for the Yukon Golds to get heated through.

After stuffing 7 quarts (and having 2 quarts left over) I processed them just the way book tells us to. Vent 10 minutes, process 40 min. once pressure is met, cool down naturally, wait 2 min., lift lid, wait 10 min.,.....but when I did that, I had obvious seepage on a couple of jars.

One jar didn't seal (I know..it happens) so I guess we're having at least 3 quarts of potatoes tonight for supper.

Also, after the jars sealed I took a good look at the potatoes and you can tell they were blanched too long because they are cracking and splitting in the jars. Maybe that's normal, don't know.

Little bits and pieces of the process seemed to go wrong so I'm not sure what happened. Maybe it's the kind of potatoes. I'm going to try again when the Red Pontiac potatoes come in. Other than that, I'm not sure what went wrong.

Val


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

I've never pressure canned, but Yukon Golds are a rather soft potato. Maybe the Red Pontiacs would be better (though I'm not familiar with those). Better luck next time!

Time to make a BIG potato salad?


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 27, 11 at 8:23

Thanks ajsmama for the words of encouragement.

It's actually worse than I thought. I just went to unscrew the jars and clean them up for storage and 3 of the 6 remaining jars had lids stuck on so tight that I had to run them under some hot water to get them unstuck. 2 of those 3 lost their seal.

I think I know why they were stuck. I think it's because the seepage was so bad that it got under the lids and screw bands but I'm still not sure why so much seepage.

I filled them the way the book said to 1 inch. I made sure to wipe the rims. I'm just confused why this went so wrong.

Now I've got 5 quarts of potatoes sitting in the fridge and only 4 quarts to put on the shelves. I'm not a big fan of potato salad and neither is the granddaughter :-)
Got to find something to do with them though.

I hope I get this figured out before the red potatoes come in.

Val


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

Several possible issues here Val so a new thread specifically about canning potatoes might be best. Plus be sure to read through the many previous canning potatoes discussions as they cover many of your issues.

Not all potatoes can well and Yukons are one of the worst. They as well as reds are soft potatoes. You can can them but the results will vary greatly. Russets are what is recommended for canning.

Also the size you are cutting them into makes a BIG difference not only in how they will process but in the amount of jars you will get. Over-filling the jars with potatoes is another big issue and must be avoided.

cool down naturally, wait 2 min., lift lid, wait 10 min.,

Nope, that isn't right. Cool down naturally, wait 10 mins., remove weight, wait 2 mins. at least, lift lid, remove jars.

Dave


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 29, 11 at 9:13

Hi Dave

Thanks for the response, it got me thinking. I've read almost every post on here about potatoes...at least whatever the search engine brought up. I don't remember reading that about the Yukons though. I think your theory about size is probably my problem and also over filling the jars. I'll try again when the Kennebecs come in.

Which brings up my issues with my Ball Complete Book:

1. It said 2 to 3 lbs. needed for each quart. That was way off the mark for me. I weighed the potatoes before starting and only weighed in about 11 lbs. before I started peeling. I thought it looked like a lot of potatoes but I peeled them any way (1st stupid mistake). So I figured you were supposed to cram them in to make all those potatoes fit :-)

2. Now on this one you really had me going because I had read and reread the book several times to make sure I had everything right. So when you said I had the times wrong I thought "that's why I had seepage". But then I went back and read my instructions to make sure and this is what it says from the Ball Complete Book on page 385 "Method for Pressure Canning Vegetables":

"Turn off heat. Let pressure return to zero naturally. Wait 2 minutes longer, then open vent. Remove canner lid. Wait 10 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store."

So either my book is messed up or...I don't know. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the directions.

Val


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 29, 11 at 11:59

Val, Ball Blue Books says "After canner has depressurized, remove the weight or open the petcock.
Wait 2 minutes.
Then remove the lid, lifting lid towards you so the steam moves in the opposite direction. Let the jars sit in the canner 5-10 min to adjust to lower temperature."

NCHFP recommends "After the canner is completely depressurized, remove the weight from the vent pipe or open the petcock.
Wait 10 minutes;
then unfasten the lid and remove it carefully. Lift the lid with the underside away from you so that the steam coming out of the canner does not burn your face."

With my older and heavier canner that takes longer to cool than some, I use the NCHFP suggestion, works for me.


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

Yeah the NCHFP directions are the most current. Don't know why the BBB hasn't changed it as the change was several years back and made specifically to reduce the siphoning. NCHFP was what I was quoting above.

2-3 lbs. per quart is high IME. I did a 5lb. bag of potatoes yesterday and got 4 quarts loosely packed so that's right at 1 1/4 lb. each. Could maybe have gotten 2 lb. in if I'd cut them smaller but I don't and I pack loosely. So lbs. per quart easily relates to how you cut them. NCHFP says 20 lbs. for 7 quarts so that's almost 3 lbs. per quart but they also call for cutting into 1/2" cubes so cut makes a BIG difference.

Also, I forgot to mention the other day is that canning fresh, just dug potatoes, regardless of variety, doesn't work well at all. Potatoes always have to age first so the sugar/starches have time to convert. Give them at least 30 days of storage but the longer they are allowed to mature in storage the better they will can.

Dave


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 29, 11 at 22:52

Morz - thanks! I thought my book was messed up. Sounds like both Ball books have the same instructions.

Dave - Yes, I pretty much figured out that the poundage for the potatoes had to be way off. Only after I peeled them of course :-)

And now I know to pack them more loosely. But I DIDN'T know about storing the potatoes for 30 days. I canned mine straight out of the garden.

I've looked but I can't find any reference to needing to store them as opposed to fresh. Can you point me to something that tells about this? Or is this a personal observation? Why do we need to wait?

Thanks - Val


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

  • Posted by Lesuko Boulder, CO z5 (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 1, 11 at 13:56

I've been researching about canning and am undecided about which to buy. It seems the weighted gauge version is best in terms of being able to regulate pressure at 5500 ft, however, it is more expensive (All American). Based on the first post here, I called Presto about adding the pressure canner weights/regulator to their 23Qt and was told that the company cannot recommend this as it is has not been tested using the weights. I thought this might be a solution but has anyone been doing this for a while and if so, have you had any problems with sealing?
thanks.


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RE: Pressure Canning - Beginners Plunge

I know this has been discussed here in more detail in the past but I can't find the threads on it right now so it never hurts to repeat it.

Basically you need to research info on growing and harvesting potatoes to understand their nature rather than canning sites. That is where the relevant info comes from.

Curing and conditioning prior to use and/or storage is a standard part of post-harvest care of potatoes. If they are not to be consumed as new potatoes immediately after digging then they need to cure, to mature, before use so that some of the moisture they contain can evaporate, the CO2 they contain can be slowly released, and the starch content can stabilize.

Fresh potatoes that are exposed to heat will usually burst because the heat causes a rapid expelling of the CO2 gas and water.

A minimum of 2 weeks curing time is the standard recommendation following a 24 hour drying time. Longer when possible is preferred.

This applies regardless of if one plans to dry store, can, freeze or dehydrate the potatoes. NCHFP attempts to cover all this in the phrase "mature potatoes of ideal quality for cooking" when it discusses canning them.

Hope this helps.

Dave

Lesuko -

Based on the first post here, I called Presto about adding the pressure canner weights/regulator to their 23Qt and was told that the company cannot recommend this as it is has not been tested using the weights. I thought this might be a solution but has anyone been doing this for a while and if so, have you had any problems with sealing?

It works fine on the Presto and its use has been approved by both USDA and NCHFP and used by many here for a number of years - myself included. You'll find many discussions here about just this question. :)

Unfortunately Presto Customer Service can't seem to get with the program despite numerous attempts to correct the problem. That is why whenever this question comes up we advise NOT using Presto Customer Service as a resource. They only create, not resolve problems.

The Presto 23 qt canner with the additional 3 piece weight set (Part 50332) is an excellent canning set up and one you can be completely confident in using. I have both it and An All American canner and actually prefer using my Presto.

Dave


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