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Steps for Pressure Canning

Steps for Pressure Canning

Hello Everyone,

Here are the steps I have learned, to store your jars of food for your pantry by pressure canning.

The first item, of course, is a pressure canner with one rack and a weight.

The pressure canner is chosen because it can also be used as a water bath or steam canner. I have also learned about this All-N-One appliance for the kitchen.

What is pressure canning? Pressure canning uses pressure to create temperatures well above boiling to effectively heat and process low-acid foods like meats, vegetables, beans, soups, and stews.

As I said before, I love the simplicity of the Presto Canner because it keeps it simple to pressure can in your home. But you can buy any type you have available just follow the instruction guide for the best results.

You will need:

  • Canning Jars

  • Lids and Rims

  • Funnel

  • Jar lifter

  • A 'debubbling' tool (or the handle of a spatula or a knife will work.

  • A container for your white vinegar or water to clean the jar rims.

  • Gloves or pot holders to work with hot items.

Now that you have all the items to start canning. Explore all the foods your family enjoys eating. Prepare it and put it up in jars for later.

So all the many dishes you prepare, think about how to prepare a double or triple recipe and put the rest in jars for the canner.

The ideas are endless and totally up to you. You can do vegetables for the side dish or add in’s for soups and stews.

You can pressure can all types of meat by raw packing them (no water added or broth added) or par-cooking; the canning process will finish the rest once you have your food item ready for the jars. Then you are ready for the steps needed.

Prep and prepare the foods you want to put into your jars. Whether cutting frozen veggies for the jars or adding leftovers from the meal you prepared that day or night before, it’s your kitchen whether it's chili, stews, ham and beans, soups, spaghetti sauce, curry dishes, hotdogs, brats, even bacon, the canning list is limitless.

Get your canner ready:

Start with a cold canner and water if you canning cold foods. Check your pressure manual for the amount of water your canner needs. Add your jars and start your burner on a low setting for 10 minutes, then gradually increase the temperature till you are at medium to high heat. And hear the water boiling inside.

If you add hot foods to the jars, start heating your jars in the oven at 230 degrees; also, turn your canner on medium heat to get the water hot.

This avoids thermal shock that can damage your jars and waste all you have done.

Begin by chopping, cutting up, or preparing what will go into your jars.

You can process frozen vegetables, this makes it easy!

Get a jar, look it over, and run your finger around the rim for any chip in the glass. Place the funnel on

top. Then start filling your jar to 1 inch below the rim of the jar.

Then take your 'debubbling' tool, the handle of a spatula, or even a butter knife. Run it down the side inside the jar to remove any hidden bubbles.

The bubbles can affect the canning process. So always debubble.

You can add a little salt and seasoning to your jars to add more flavor to your veggies or meats. Or you can add them when you reopen your jars. You can add water or stock; fill to one-inch head space. You can also dry pack many vegetables, like potatoes, and all meats can be dry packed. For meats with more fat content, leave 1-½ inch head space to stop any siphoning (fluid seeping from under the lid, which can cause a failed seal.) of the oils in the jar.

Then it’s time to place the lid on your jar. Have your lids sitting in warm water to soften the rubber seal.

Take a paper towel or clean kitchen towel, and dip it in a small amount of white vinegar, or hot water if you're not adding ingredients with fat/grease. Wipe the rim off, ensuring your jar's rim is completely clean. So you get a good seal during processing in the canner. Now place your rim over the lid and turn it down until it is finger-tight. That allows the air to escape as you bring your canner up to pressure. Just finger tight!

Then with the rack in the bottom of your canner. Add the water til it comes to the first line on the canner wall. Now place your 7-quart jars in the canner. With pint jars, you can have a double stack; you can buy another rack, or use a cake cooling rack to make a second layer.

Now place the lid onto the canner, and align the lid with the arrows. And turn till the handles overlap once the lid is secure. Begin bringing your pressure canner up to pressure by turning the burner to medium-high heat.

You need to vent your canner of all the air until the vent releases only a steady flow of hot steam.

Set your timer for 10 whole minutes to allow all air to vent.

This is your pressure gauge and the vent on top of the canner lid, the lock, and the emergency release button. Both will pop up once the canner gets hot and releases steam. When the lock pops up, set your timer for 10 minutes to vent all the air.

Now you are ready to place your weight on top of the vent of the canner. Use gloves or tongs since it is hot steam. Now the pressure will start building in your canner. The heating temperature (240 degrees) is needed to kill any botulism in your foods and kept at that temperature for 90 minutes for quart jars, and 75 minutes for pints. Follow your canning guide instructions.

Always watch your canner at this point.

Watching the pressure gauge, let it rise to the 6-pound. Turn your burner back a little to slow down the pressure a little, but allow it to gradually build. Find out what the pounds of pressure for your area are.

My area is 10 pounds, so I don’t overshoot my goal. I begin lowering my burner to slow the gauge, yet it is still climbing.

(For my area, I start at 8-½ till I reach 6 pounds, then drop the burner to medium 5; when it reaches 9 pounds, I drop the burner back again to the med-low 4 setting. Then when I reach the 10 pounds, I set it at 3, then as the food cooks, it ends up being 2.2 low for 90 minutes for my quarts. This is what works for me.

When I reach 10 pounds, I set my burner to low between 2-3.

Watch and adjust the burner to keep it steady at 10-11 pounds of pressure for 90 or 75 minutes to process your foods properly.

Processing below the proper temperature will not make your food safe for long-term storage. If the temperature falls below the proper pressure, just store the food in the fridge and enjoy it that week.

Once you have used your pressure canner a few times, you will find what works best with your stovetop burner.

Another reason to maintain the steady pressure when processing your jars is. You don’t want the liquid in the jars to siphon out from under your lids. This can cause the sealing to fail. This can happen when processing too low and too high above your temperature or pounds of pressure.

You did it! Your timer for the 90 minutes for quart jars or the 75 minutes for the pint jars, just went off.

Now just turn off your burner and do nothing; let the canner sit just as it was set up and completely cool down to 0 degrees on the gauge.

The lock on top has fallen. It is now safe to remove the weight, gradually turn the lid and let it sit on the canner for a minute. Then just sit your lid ajar on the canner for 15 minutes so that no cold air rushes in on the jars. This can cause siphoning since the liquid is still boiling inside the canner.

Now you can remove your jars with your jar lifter and set them on a towel. The cold countertop can damage a jar from thermal shock.

Now let your jar cool.

Remove the rims on the jars.

Check that all your seals have popped in. Don’t cause a false seal by pushing the seal down. Suppose you get a failed seal. It does happen. Keep it in the fridge to heat up that week for a meal.

You did it!

You processed your jars for your pantry.

Once you start, you will enjoy pressure canning and filling your pantry.

Happy Canning!

Deb C.

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