Don’t Blow Your Top!

— Written By Renay Knapp and last updated by
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A pressure canner is a very important piece of equipment when it comes to home food preservation. Making sure it is working properly is a precaution that should be taken seriously. If the dial gauge on your pressure canner does not register correctly, you could be jeopardizing the safety of the food you just canned. So, to avoid any issues with the proper function of your pressure canner, you need to have it checked.

There are two types of pressure canners, a weighted gauge and a dial gauge. The difference is that the weighted gauge rocks or jiggles under pressure, where as the dial gauge has a dial that registers the amount of pressure in the canner.

Weighted gauges are noisy because the pressure is released and rocks or jiggles the weight  but they are always arcuate when used correctly. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions to know what the correct procedure is when using a weighted gauge pressure canner.

A dial gauge canner needs to register the correct pressure to ensure that the foods being processed are properly canned. There is a potential for unsafe processing if the gauge reads 2 pounds pressure high or low, jeopardizing the safety of the food in the jar. If the gauge registers more than 2 pounds high or low than you need to replace the gauge. It is recommended that you have your dial gauge tested yearly for accuracy.

To get your dial gauge tested you can send it in to Presto or contact a local N.C. Cooperative Extension Center. It is also a good practice to make sure the lid fits tightly, the pressure plug is in place and that the rubber gasket (if your canner has one) is free from cracks. A well-maintained canner is essential for safe home-canned foods.

If you have a dial gauge on your pressure canner it is recommended that it be tested annually to make sure it is calibrated correctly. Call the office, 828-697-4891, to make an appointment with Renay to have it checked out.