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Presto Canner Question

Posted by homemadecountrylife Zone 8A CA (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 22, 12 at 17:43

I just bought the Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker, yesterday. This is my first canner and I want to know if I need another rubber sealing ring and do I need a Presto Pressure Regulator?
And I can't find the phone number or a way to find my local extension office to have the gauge calibrated, any ideas?

Thank you :)
~ Amanda


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Presto Canner Question

Below is a link to a map of extension services by state.

It's always good to have a spare gasket, though it may be a long time before you need it. However, you want to be ready in case somewhere down the line you discover in the middle of a busy canning day that you need a new one.

I'm not sure what's you're asking about the weight. If you're referring to the three-piece Presto weight, it is not required, but it does make the gauge unnecessary (except to verify) and therefore increases your convenience and the canner's versatility. Part # 50332.

Carol

Here is a link that might be useful: US Map of Extension Services


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RE: Presto Canner Question

I'm with Carol in that I'm not sure what you mean by " and do I need a Presto Pressure Regulator". It comes with a pressure regular.

What it does NOT come with is the 3 piece set of weights (Part #50332) which replace the pressure regulator it comes with. That is often discussed here and strongly recommended so that you don't have to have the gauge tested every year.

Weights are always more accurate than gauges and most agree they are also much easier to use.

Dave


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Thank you so much for your expert advice Carol and Dave, but now I am even more confused. That part that is mentioned is a Pressure Regulator (I've included the link), but you are saying that it isn't necessary? Or to throw away the ones that it comes with and replace them with these (the Part #50332)?

~ Amanda

Here is a link that might be useful: Presto Pressure Canner Pressure Regulator


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RE: Presto Canner Question

OK, the canner comes with a 15-pound weight. Since foods are canned at 10-11 pounds (depending upon whether it's weight or gauge) with the 15-pound regulator you have to read the gauge and monitor the readings to maintain the appropriate pressure.

That means it's critical that the gauge is accurate (i.e. test annually) or there's a risk of your food being under-processed. (Over-processed is a quality but not a safety issue.)

The regulator I referred to has rings so that it can be used at 5-10-or 15 pounds pressure. You set the regulator at 10 pounds and it turns the canner into a weighted one. As long as the weight is gently rocking you know you're at the appropriate pressure regardless of what the gauge shows. So if your 10 pound weight is rocking and the gauge shows 12 that tells you the gauge is off a bit and reads high.

Do not discard the original regulator. Well, you could I suppose, but it still works just fine. But it's less convenient as you must be certain when using it that the gauge is accurate.

I hope this makes sense. I recommend you fill some jars with hot water and do a trial run or two to be sure you're comfortable with operation and that you "know your stove," i.e. what temperature settings work best to maintain steady pressure. If you add food dye to the water in the jars, then any leakage (siphoning) can be seen in the canner water. That is an indication you're not yet regulating the temperature steadily enough for smooth operation.

Carol


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Carol, I forgot to thank you for the extension info that you mentioned earlier, and offering great insight and help.

Do you go by your gauge or by the weights? Are they both "fail-safes" for each other? I have been told that checking your gauge in the spring each year before canning season is best, but what if I haven't had it checked yet, can I just go by the weights until I get it calibrated? I don't want to, but it's a "what if" question I've had. So the perfect situation is when the 10 pound weights are rocking and the pressure gauge reads 10, that makes complete sense.

Thank you for your testing method, that makes complete sense and I like it. I never thought to see how the canner would fit and works on the stove top, monitor which setting regulates the pressure well, ect.

Thank you, I am taking everything to heart and learning a lot along the way. My husband does not understand my love of canning and does not enjoy the fruits of my labor much at all. I grew up on farm land, and while my Mom only BWB canned, and I am quite familiar with it and have always loved it. Pressure canning is kind of scary to me, but I welcome the challenge. So I beg your pardon if it feels like you are walking an infant through this whole process :)

~ Amanda :)


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RE: Presto Canner Question

I use the gauge as a backup. It's like an extra belt, LOL.

With a 10-pound weight it's not necessary to have the gauge calibrated. In effect, you calibrate it yourself, because the action of the weight will tell you how accurate (or far off) the gauge is and you can use it or not, accordingly.

My husband, who knows a lot about pressure and gauges, says the gauge is the cheapest part of the canner. Even if you took it to be checked, just bumping it on the way home could throw it off again. So from my perspective the weight is better because it's machined to be that weight and it's never going to change.

Carol


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Opps!
Same question submitted twice on 2 posts. Ken where are you?


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Amanda - we were all infants at one time or another when it comes to pressure canning. :)

Our only reluctance in discussing this particular issue stems from the fact that it has been discussed in detail so many times here before and those discussions are still available to read.

As Carol said and as I mentioned above, weights are far more accurate than any gauge, even a tested gauge. Which is why we always recommend spending the $12 to buy the weight set and use it instead. You can check the gauge if you wish as you go along or you can just ignore it as most do. But no, you cannot remove it.

Whichever weight is needed for your altitude (5-10-15 lbs.) goes on the vent stem where your pressure regulator sits now. Just put that regulator away in a drawer.

And Carol is so right - several trial runs first. Ok?

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of part 50332


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Hey Amanda,
We are twins!! I thought that you had decided on the 22-qt. I must have misread the other post.

So what are you putting up first??

Carol, THANK YOU for the testing idea!! I do not have any food dye and will go out today and get some. I really like the idea of doing a few test runs to get used to this.

I also did not realize that the gage was so cheap, nor so sensitive that a bump could throw it off. Won't be using it then and will only use my weights (will leave the gage on, of course).

Dave, I (and I'm sure Amanda) really appreciate the discussion on weights. I did not realize how sensitive the gage was.

While, I am sure, that some topics have been talked to death, not always will they show up on a search. The search engine, on the site, is not the greatest. You have to know the right 'term' to use and as newbies we- generally- don't. I have spent a great deal of time looking for something and finally gave up and posted the question. I am very happy that you, Carol, and the other experienced members, share your knowledge--- even if it is for the 10,000th time :)

Sheila :)


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RE: Presto Canner Question

We all have experienced frustration with the search feature here.

Two recommendations: 1) Use Google to search this forum. On the Advanced Search feature you can enter the URL for this forum and Google will search only these threads. Or you can enter the URL for Gardenweb Forums and then you will get hits from other Gardenweb discussions. (Though as we're specifically preserving-focused you'll get the best results for canning questions here.)

2) Save really beneficial threads to your computer or use the Clippings feature of Gardenweb. I was going to post a link to a very useful thread on canning dried beans to another recent discussion only to discover it's dropped off this forum due to age.

I have a whole collection of saved threads on my computer. Those I can search using Windows "find" feature and locate precisely the messages I want.

Carol


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Here, I'll tie a bunch of the discussions about this to this thread too. That way they will be easier to find in the future.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Presto canner weights discussions


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Sheila, I did buy the 22 quart. I mis-typed it, by accident :) I don't know what I want to start with, but I am thinking it will be spaghetti sauces with veggies and some meats.

Carol, I might be in trouble with the pressure gauge then, because I live at about 2,600 feet above sea level. If I send it off to be calibrated, and then have them send it back in the mail to me, then it might get bumped "off" again. So I think using the weights would be better for me to use since I live so far above sea level I think I would be in the 15 pound weight category, right?

Dave, I have that weight set in my Amazon cart now and once payday hits, I'll buy it. Thank you for the clarification.

I do have one other quick question, can I just place the jars in the canner with the jars of hot "product" once I've filled them, or do I need to wait until they've cooled off first? I just don't want the jars to shatter under the heat and pressure.

I know you have answered it all before, and I have found a couple of the threads, but sometimes I can't find them again, and other times I struggle to understand how it all works :) It all feels like your trying to build a rocket for the first time, without the parts (I haven't received my Presto Canner yet), while someone is trying to "walk you through it" blind :)

~ Amanda


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Oh Thank YOU, Dave!! Threads I haven't seen before and couldn't find before I posted my question - thank you! I'm off to read and bookmark them! I especially like the first post's title "Afraid of Pressure Canner" :)

~ Amanda


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RE: Presto Canner Question

You fill hot jars with hot product and place them right in the canner.

Aside from the food safety issues (cold product in cold jars would need more processing time than tested for) you risk breaking cold jars due to thermal shock in the canner.

Carol


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RE: Presto Canner Question

NCHFP provides step-by-step instructions for how to use a pressure canner including your question on the jars.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - How to use pressure canner


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Thank you Carol and Dave for your expert advice and direction. I will bookmark the website and be sure to put my jars in the canner hot and not cooled. I figured that is how to do it, but the only wrong question is the unasked question. Better to ask then assume :)

Are there any good pressure canning books out there? The only pressure canning recipes I'm finding are in my BBB. Other then the NCHFP on the internet, is that about it ?

~ Amanda


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RE: Presto Canner Question

There are some pressure cooking books out there but I can't recall ever seeing one that was just pressure canning. It is usually incorporated into the whole food preservation focus in books.

NCHFP covers most everything since, with the exception of soups, pressure canning is mostly how to can a specific food - chicken, dried beans, carrots, corn, etc. rather than recipes of mixed ingredients oriented. What sort of instructions are you looking for?

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is a good one. So is Putting Food By by Hertzberg and Stocking Up but be sure to get the latest editions as the previous editions are outdated.

Dave


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Good advice to know, Dave. I have all of those books but I think I have the 90's versions and one of them that is might be from the 80's because I couldn't pass it up at a library sale. I love to collect canning and cookbooks, I just can't get enough of them. When I go to Barnes & Noble I go weak in the knees seeing all of the books in the cooking section, I want them all :)

I was looking more for acceptable pressure canning recipes from them. I want to find some soup recipes (with and without meat and bean ones), and then spaghetti sauce (with veggies and meat) recipes. I don't just want to wing this, I wing everyday cooking but I want solid black & white recipes so can I be confident that they are safe to eat.

~ Amanda


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RE: Presto Canner Question

I want to find some soup recipes (with and without meat and bean ones), and then spaghetti sauce (with veggies and meat) recipes

Then all of those are on NCHFP.

Dave


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Thank you Dave, I did look and read through the instructions a few times and poked around the site. I did find a couple of recipes, but I guess I didn't look hard enough. I will go back and thoroughly look at them.

I was given some happy news this evening. My friend has invited me over to her Mormon friends home to can tomatoes with them, tomorrow morning! And on top of that, she uses a pressure canner, so I can pick her brain a bit , and gain first hand knowledge on how to control the temperature, see the weights in action and how to fully operate it from start to finish. I am so excited I can't believe it! I am more of a visual learner so reading how to operate something is hard for me to understand and digest. This is going to help me complete the operation picture.

~ Amanda


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Just be sure to use the right processing times for the method of canning tomatoes and that they add the required lemon juice. Some canners still use outdated methods since that is the way they were taught.

Dave


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RE: Presto Canner Question

I agree. I am concerned that if they don't, what recourse do I have? I am given whatever extras they have, leftover from the two families, that they don't want. What if I come home with 10 jars of improperly canned tomatoes? Can I open them and freeze them in baggies, instead?

From what I am reading I think it takes us about 50 - 75 minutes at 15lbs for our elevation (2,600 ft above sea level) to pressure can them. Does that sound right? Last year when I BWB canned my quartered tomatoes I processed them for 50 minutes for my elevation (I rounded up to 3,000 ft above sea level).
What do you think?

~ Amanda


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Processing time depends on the method used.

Crushed Tomatoes with no added liquid

Whole or Halves in Water

Whole or Halved in Tomato Juice

Whole or Halves without Added liquid

If they don't add the lemon juice or citric acid then you can mention it but there is no point in getting into an argument with them. When you bring them home I would freeze them. Or you can open them add the juice and reprocess them. Your choice.

Dave


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Ok, I'm back from canning with the lady. I am concerned, though. She chopped up about 5 - 8 pounds of tomatoes, added water, splashed in about a 1/2 cup of white vinegar then brought it all to a boil. She ladled it all into 1/2 pint jars and processed them at 10 pounds of pressure for about 20 minutes. She seemed to be winging it and that has me concerned.

Do you think I should take my share and reprocess them in a BWB (I don't have my pressure canner yet, it's in the mail)? I hate to think that I've boiled out all of the flavor, if I do reprocess them. What do you think, are they safe?

~ Amanda


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Anyone?


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RE: Presto Canner Question

You can re-process within 24 hours, though I would add the amount of citric acid called for since you have no way of knowing exactly how much vinegar was added originally.

One problem with vinegar (and the NCHFP notes this) is the distinctive change to the flavor of the tomatoes. Plan to use these in spaghetti sauce or something strongly flavored.

If it's just a couple of jars I wouldn't re-process. I'd freeze the contents.

Figure you learned something about operating a PC and discount the rest. Also, be sure you still read the NCHFP instructions on operating a canner. These old-timers often are not up to date on the procedures either, especially the wait time at the end.

Carol


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RE: Presto Canner Question

We had to leave right after she removed the weights and let the pressure out, so she said she would deliver them to me on Friday. That would be three days after they were processed. And I'm not sure how many she will give me, but I may just freeze it all. I don't have any citric acid, unless I can use Fruit Fresh? What do you think, should I reprocess or freeze? I think I might get 4 or 5 half pint jars, from her.

Thank you, Carol, for your opinion :)
~ Amanda


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RE: Presto Canner Question

We had to leave right after she removed the weights and let the pressure out

Whoa! Big mistake right there!
Fruit Fresh is ascorbic acid, not citric acid.

Freeze and cook before eating.

Dave


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RE: Presto Canner Question

We had to leave right after she removed the weights and let the pressure out

Whoa! Big mistake right there!
Fruit Fresh is ascorbic acid, not citric acid.

Freeze and cook before eating.

Dave


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RE: Presto Canner Question

Thank you, Dave, I'm thinking the same thing. I'm just going to freeze it all. Bummer, I don't have much space, which is why I am trying to can. But I just don't trust her methods at all, especially when she never even measured anything. I was cringing and asked her if she wanted me to get her the lemon juice and to measure out a tablespoon in each jar. As you can tell, she said no and that everything would be fine.
And I checked the Fruit Fresh bottle, and your right, it is ascorbic acid, not citric acid. May I ask what the difference between them would be? I know ascorbic acid keeps my fruit from getting brown, does citric do the same?

~ Amanda


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