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New to canning.

Posted by kikistreehouse (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 30, 11 at 0:16

Hello, Iam new to canning, Ive canned many jams with no problems . I live in Florida , Ive gone on to vegetables, Iam having problems . I have read several books on this and it seems they are different ? Iam have black eyed peas in presure canner now. Heres my first problem when using the presure canner , It said to add 4 inches of water the first time I did it I ran out of water and burned the bottom of canner, so I started adding more water, If I add water to the top of the jars does the water still reach 240 degrees, and am I wrong or correct in doing this.Second question. Ive done potatoes and carrots, Sweet potatoes and when they done they seemed over cooked, I cooked them before adding to jars as the recipe said so. There no one here doing canning classes .I wish I had someone to guide me throu this, I dont know if Iam just being pernoid(worring about botch-poisoning)Thank you for your time, jamie

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: New to canning.

It's good that you are worried. There's nothing more important with home canning than safety.

Below is a link to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. If you scroll down the page you'll see a free self-paced online food preserving (including canning) class you can take. This site has all kinds of information on canning, drying and freezing. I recommend you take the class and that you read the instructions on using a pressure canner.

Sometimes if the processing time is very long you might need more water, but you certainly would not need to add water to the top of the jars. I'm wondering if your canner is leaking somewhere, particularly around the gasket or if the lid is not properly seated.

Right now I am very concerned about the safety of the vegetables you processed and whether they were canned correctly.

Before you even attempt to can more vegetables, let's get the canner operation issue settled. Read the NCHFP instructions on operating a pressure canner then fill with water as instructed.

Load with a few quart jars filled with water instead of food and do a trial run. Note everything you do and everything that happens with your stove and with the canner. Then come back and let us know how it went. It's better not to overload you with information about specific vegetables until the basic issues are resolved.


Here is a link that might be useful: Preserving Food at Home a Self-Study

RE: New to canning.

I never have measured my water but going through 4 inches of water is not normal.
In the event your canner isn't leaking as Carol suggested, could it be that you have the heat turned waaay up. You don't say what kind of canner you have but with all current American canners, the weight should rock just gently.
Opps, I don't even know if you have a weight.
Suggest that you follow Carol's advise. Canning is an exact science but not that hard once you understand it.
And yes, I would be concerned about the safety of your food. You don't say whether after adding more water, you started over from the beginning of your canning process - as you must for the food to be safe to eat.
If your recipe called for 75 minutes, that means 75 minutes of continuous pressure and not an interrupted session.
Not enough information to make comments about safety.
Jim in So Calif

RE: New to canning.

Jamie, please do post more information about your canner.

I have two, a 21 qt AA and a 16qt Presto. They are the same diameter and take 1.5-2" of water in the bottom before adding jars. With a full load of pints, the water level does end up pretty close to the rings on the jars.

I have never noticed an appreciable difference in water level after processing, even for a 90 minute job. Like others have said, loosing a lot of water indicates something is not right.

As to potatoes, most have found that the times listed to heat them are too long. My Ball book says to boil for 10 mn, or until heated through. I have found that if I put cubed potates in boiling water and let it return to boil for about 1 mn, the potatoes are hot through, but still very firm. If I boil for 10mn, I might as well turn them into mashed potatoes.

It does take near 10 mn to get the water to return to a boil, so maybe if you had enough water that it stayed boiling while you added the potatoes, you would "boil" for about 10 mn to get them heated through.

RE: New to canning.

wow. Thank you So much. My canner is weighted , It holds 7 gts, (new presto) no leak I tested it, But I was new and to my understanding I was suppose to add between 3 and 4 inches of water.The water became low after a long presureing time. I did add more water after that . I havent had any lids not seal (knock on wood)Ive done all recipes exact to recipe stated .Ive done red potatoes. sweet potatoes.tomato sauce.carrots(muchey).Pickles.Onions(pickled).red and green peppers(pickled).zuccini and squash(pickled).sausla,plums, pears, peaches, oranges, cherries, mulberries (have a tree). and Florida wild grapes.I havent had any explood , I check the seals weekly. I took all rings off.I store in a cool dark closet.Last night I did Black eyed peas with onion and garlic (14qts). I do have a flat stove top , I did all on high.The weight starts to rock and I start the timing from there. Untill I bought one of these out door stoves. Now I use this out on the porch.I know I am a clean freak and I know Iam compulsive about it. Most of all the food has been eaten already. No one got sick Thank God. I had blueberries that were leaking (jar sealed)But the jars were stickey so I put them in the refergerator and ate asap.Do you see anything wrong here. Please tell me. Iam in Florida . I do keep the recipe close to me and reread it over and over. I have found some recipes that I would be scared to death to try. no way. I scared to do meats. I sliced my carrots maybe thats why they turned out muchey. Iam sorry to be so long here. I just wish I had someone here to guide me . My Ball book is opened all the time.Thank you for your time. Jamie

RE: New to canning.

I'm another one who has some real concerns about the safety of your canned food. Not to mention the possible damage to your canner.

Obviously, given all the things you list, you have been very busy canning but from the information you have provided some of your pressure canned foods may be unsafe to eat.

If, as you say "Most of all the food has been eaten already" then I have to ask why you spent the time and energy to can it in the first place?

The canner, if you were using it on high and IF your outdoor burner is too powerful, could easily be damaged beyond repair. That is the most likely cause of your water disappearing.

There is no reason to ever use the full amount of heat and while a maximum of 12,000 BTU burner is the maximum size recommended for any of the canners, there is no need to use more than 7500 BTU's max. So it sounds like you need to really power back. With the Presto canners the weight is only supposed to slowly and lightly rock not wildly rattle.

So some of your comments:

I havent had any lids not seal (knock on wood)Ive done all recipes exact to recipe stated.

Just because a lid seals doesn't mean it was processed correctly. Lids will seal with no processing at all. So you can't use that as proof that all is done right. Follow the exact recipe is a good thing but the CORRECT PROCESSING is just as important. How are you doing the cool down and jar removal? Are you waiting the 10 min between removing the weight and removing the lid? Are you adjusting for altitude if needed?

sliced my carrots maybe thats why they turned out muchey.

Don't slice them so thin. Cut them in chunks otherwise yes, carrots can get mushy unless you add Pickle Crisp.

I was suppose to add between 3 and 4 inches of water.The water became low after a long presureing time. I did add more water after that .

As other have said the actual amount of water needed depends on the amount of processing time AND not running the pressure canner full blast. Try putting in water up to 1/2 the sides of the jar. That is more than normally needed but at least it won't go dry.

Give us the name and model number of your outdoor burner or post an online link to it and please start using less heat until you all the rest sorted out.

Last night I did Black eyed peas with onion and garlic (14qts).

Where did you find a recipe that allows for adding onions and garlic to them? Far as I know that wouldn't be considered safe.


RE: New to canning.

Hello Dave , Thank you!For your time . This is a site like the stove I bought. I did adjust it to a lower flame . When i put my jars in the presure pot Its warm water then I bring it to a boil and then add the lid and when the weight starts rocking I start the prosseing time . After the time period I let it cool off and the presure has stoped usually wait 10 to 15 minutes then take jars out ,put on towel . As for the canned food Iam sorry I shoud have made it clearer. We havent ate up all the canned goods what I meant was we have ate some from everything I canned. I used the recipe from Mormonchef. for the blackeyed peas. Iam so to the point of stop canning . I would die if someone got sick from something I canned. I kinda thought that I shoud be to fill the pot half way mark on the jars being pressured canned after the first time and loosing so much water . so thats what Ive done and Ive read so much on internet about canning . I thought my food was safe . but now maybe I shoud just throu it all out.. I ate some of the peas today for lunch . I hope they were safe. tasted excelent. but Ive read that Botchulsim ( sorry I know I didnt spell it right ) you cant see or smell. I have several canning books and seems they are all different in one way or another. Thank you again.I started canning because I have 7 grandchildren and I wanted a better way to feed my family and with pay cuts I thought this was it ,Iam a firm believer in teaching my grandchildren the old ways . My grandmother and aunts canned . But they used the oven method on some things. I just never felt safe canning that way.They didnt add salt or lemon to anything being canned . So I decied I would try to teach myself. heres the link to the outdoor stove.

Thank you, Jamie

RE: New to canning.

OK, first please limit the recipes and times you follow to sites with tested, reliable recipes. Please do not touch that canner until you are more comfortable with what you're doing and until you get the canner operation down pat.

As a beginning canner, especially, you should limit yourself to the NCHFP I linked to above and to the Ball Blue Book or the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Trust me, you are really jumping the gun here trying so many new things without a proper grounding in basic principles of pressure canner operation.

If you can provide a link to Mormonchef so we have some clue as to what it is, we can take a look and at least assess it as a source.

It sounds as if you left out some steps in your canner operation. If that's the case, those vegetables on the shelf currently are very worrisome (not to mention we still don't know where you got your processing times and instructions from.)

Do not give up. Just slow down.

Don't read anything except the sources I mentioned above. Don't look at anything on the internet right now except this forum and the NCHFP until you're straight on things.

1) Did you put the lid on your canner without the weight until steam comes out of the vent in a steady plume for 10 minutes?

2) Did you then put on the weight and once the canner was up to pressure process for the full recommended Ball Blue Book or NCHFP time?

3) Did you turn off the heat and wait till the pressure was zero (0) then remove the weight and wait a further 10 minutes before removing the lid and taking out the jars?

If you missed any of these steps or if the canner (due to a leak) never got up to the recommended pressure but the vegetables were processed anyway, they are not trustworthy.

Please do not get discouraged. This isn't that difficult once you know the basic steps. But if ever there is a situation where patience and doing things one-at-a-time is a virtue, this is it.

Good luck. Once you learn what you need to know, it will seem easy. Then you can show other family members what to do and achieve your goals of thrift while serving nutritous food.


RE: New to canning.

It is very difficult to sort the info out of your posts - just using some spacing and paragraphs would help - but from what I can understand, like Carol, I think you are

1) rushing the process and leaving out pressure canning steps and
2) you are using unsafe recipe sources and
3) some of what you have processed - the peas with onions and garlic specifically - should be tossed or should be handled with great care and NOT be eaten until after it has been hard boiled for at least 10 mins.

You really do need to slow way down, back up and learn the basics first. Follow Carol's instructions please, one step at a time. Your jams and jellies and your pickled foods are probably ok if you used an approved recipe. The risk is with pressure canned vegetables.

Don't get discouraged just slow WAY down and do the homework first.


RE: New to canning.

Carol, I found this link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mormonchef canning beans

RE: New to canning.

Ok Let me slow down. Carol, Yes to all your questions.On the Mormonchef she only boiled the peas for 5 minutes I boiled for 30 minutes.Before putting into the jars. On all the other vegetables. I did as required by recipe , I usually use the 'Ball Blue Book" or "Better Homes and Gardens- New Cookbook Canning"or Home "Preserving By Ball"
I did use the internet for the Black eyed peas and red potatoes. and Carrots. All others recipes are from my 3 books listed or "Canning USA"or "Food in Jars".
Thank you. Jamie

RE:answers to questions

Carol and Dave . One more thing I do not eat any of my vegetables untill Ive cooked for 30 minutes after opening. I appreate your help. Thank you so much. jamie

RE: New to canning.

Are you willing to give up some of those sources you listed? CanningUSA is a very unreliable source of safe information. Same with the YouTube sources. They are just people making up their own rules as they go along.

Just because something calls itself a canning cookbook doesn't mean it is safe to use. It needs to have the USDA/NCHFP seal of approval.

NCHFP is the best ultimate source, especially for new canners, since their research is what all the other approved books are based on.


Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP

RE: New to canning.

Your Presto canner has a slight raise bump that is the mark you fill the water level to. If you did not get a manual with yours, then you should be able to find one online.

Also the Presto comes with a BIG warning page that says DO NOT USE WITH PROPANE BURNERS. It also says that in the manual - big warning.

Sounds like you have way, way too much heat under that canner. On the radiant electric stove, I turned the heat to 1.5. With the coil cooktop, I turn it down to about 3.5. It takes very little heat to keep it up to pressure once it get there.

I have two propane burners, but found it too hard to control the heat with them. I had to turn them down so far that the flame would go out. BTW - I tried them with both BWB and my AA canner. One of the reasons I bought the Presto was because I was having so much trouble with the AA using propane burners.

RE: New to canning.

I think we've already covered a lot of what you've asked.

I went to Mormon Chef and looked at Parts I, II, and III. As you know she precooks the beans for only 5 minutes rather than 30 and adds some onion and garlic for flavoring. I don't know the processing time or procedures she uses because I couldn't find a Part IV.

I did find on, the related site, a video on canning pinto beans from a different gentleman. He raw-packed the beans (no cooking) which is a method that hasn't been approved in years. He didn't vent his canner at all and he didn't wait 10 minutes at the end, so on all counts what he processed does not meet current safe-test standards.

In other words, that site is not reliable. There may be other reliable videos but the none of the ones I saw (and I looked at 4) follow current standards 100%.

You can cook your vegetables at a hard boil for 10-20 minutes and theoretically that will kill any toxins, but personally I feel very uncomfortable with what I'm hearing so far.

You still haven't told us exactly how you ran that canner or if you followed the steps I listed. Nor have you told us which foods were canned according to which sources, so we really can't separate out which might be OK and which present risk.

Right now I'm not really worried about the propane burner. It is useable with some precautions. The Presto manual does caution not to get the heat too high.

But the sources you're using, the manner of operation of the canner and the overall safety of the foods already prepared are of more immediate concern to me.


RE: Carol

Carol. I never went to canningmoms. As I stated before I did let the canner steam for 10 minutes before I put the weight on and then started timming the processing time. and then at the end of times up I turned off the heat and let the presure excape on its own and cool down and then took off the lid and waited 10 to 15 minutes before I took out of canner. The other foods I canned Blackeyed peas,potatoes, and carrots I used others sites I throu away for safety . All the other foods I canned Iam keeping I used Ball Blue Book . And I feel safe with what Ive done .The national Food Preservation site , Ive read and reread it and I feel safe with what Ive done with all the other canning but the 3 I ve mentioned. So I'll go from there .No more web sites Ill stick to Ball books I have..I would never do anything to make anyone of my family members sick. But after reading what I have , I feel safe with the rest of my canning. Thank you , Everyone for all your help. carrots. potatoes and peas are going out ..Jamie

RE: New to canning.

Jammie, is the site pkramer linked to which includes the video you watched. It appears to be one of the hosts for that series. It is the video you mentioned, so regardless, we did end up looking at the same thing.

I'm glad you're studying the NCHFP site. The one thing it sounds like you didn't do is follow the current wait time recommendation - 10 minutes with the lid closed but the weight off after the processing is done and the canner returns to zero. Removing the lid and waiting 10 minutes is not quite the same thing temperature-wise.

Good luck and happy preserving,


RE: New to canning.

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 30, 11 at 20:35

Jamie, I've been following this and sitting on my fingers, not typing, since you've been getting some very good advice - You can trust what Carol and Dave are telling you - Macybaby too as it appears you have the same canner she's familiar with.

I hate to have questions coming at you from too many directions, but I'm wondering -

It would appear (if I'm understanding correctly) you have the Presto canner that will hold 7 qt jars - That would make it the 23 qt Presto 1781. Is the canner new, or new to you?

I'm asking because I'm still wondering how it boiled dry.... if I'm not mistaken, it comes with a dial gauge and a 15# one piece weight, people buying that canner have been purchasing an optional 3 piece weight (allows canning at 5, 10, 15# of pressure) when wishing to can by weighted gauge instead of the dial gauge included with the canner.

I don't mean to confuse you any further. Or discourage you either, everyone here wants you to be successful with your canning, to enjoy both the process and the products :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Is this your canner, are you using the dial gauge to read or do you have the 3-piece weight


Hi, no I dont have a guage just the 3 piece weight. I have only had 1 recipe ask for 15 weight. all the rest is 10 weights. Most of my recipes Ive done have been from my Ball book. and I feel safe with them . I have since throu out the foods I canned with the internet sites. I had the canner run out of water once but it has bothered me since . My manual said to put just a 4 inches of water in it . And it ran dry . since then Ive been adding more water . seems to be working and Iam following all the pre presuring times and after so I know thats right as Carol and Dave said , I did that right.I always let it cool off. and before . I always let the steam build up before putting the weight on . I guess I didnt make my self clear on some of the procedures. Ive seem to have everyone thinking Iam a complete idiot.Safety Is the most important issue here. I really appreate everyone helping me figure this out . I am sorry for my typing . Iam not the best when it comes to expressing what I want to say. Ive always been the type to look at a picture and completly duplicate it , But give me a pattern and Iam lost.We all know the steps inbetween are the important ones.LOL Thank you ,again. Jamie

RE: New to canning.

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 30, 11 at 21:23

I can relate to that, I can learn something much more quickly watching someone that reading the instructions (sometimes over and over). Cooking no exception.

Thanks for taking the time to ease my concern, I'm glad to know you have the three piece weight. All my canners are weighted, not dial gauge, but the Presto isn't one I own.

RE: New to canning.

As long as you're clear and we're clear, that's what matters. I hope you continue to can and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes with preserving your own food.

I don't think anyone thought you were an idiot. Sometimes communication is tricky, especially when there are a lot of issues.

We want you to feel you can come here and get the help you need.


RE: New to canning.

If you live in Florida, where I don't think any place is 1000 feet elevation or more, all canning recipes are pressure canned at 10 pounds.
There is no advantage to cooking at 15 pounds, as you say one recipe required, except to even more overcook your food and possibly make it mushy.
You can quickly find the elevation of your city (and even your house) by doing an internet check.
Jim in So Calif

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