I hear a lot of questions about why to use pressure canning and the difference between hot water bath and pressure canning. Below is a simple explanation of pressure canning and some of the advantages to pressure canning as well as why it became a lost art.
Don’t know what a pressure canner is? Check them out on the pressure canner page of the main site.
Pressure canning is a safe and economical method of preserving low acid foods which has been used for decades, especially by home gardeners and others interested in providing food storage for their families where quality control of the food is in one’s own hands. Providing a safe food supply at home is simple when guidelines for operating a pressure canner are followed exactly, scientifically tested/approved recipes are utilized, and high quality equipment, supplies and produce are used.
Foods such as red meats, sea food, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables, with the exception of most tomatoes, fit into the low acid group since they have an acidity, or pH level, of 4.6 or higher.
No doubt, the popularity of home canning meats declined with the increased use of freezers. Although more time, effort and equipment is required to can meat, there are some advantages to preserving this way. There is no need to plan ahead for thawing and much preparation i.e.. marinating and seasoning, can be done prior to canning. There is no freezer to maintain year round at 0°F and no damage done to the food if there should be a power failure of freezer breakdown.
Properly canned and stored meat has a shelf life of several years whereas meat frozen as long would suffer freezer burn. When it comes to canning some foods, a higher temperature than that of boiling water is required to destroy any potentially harmful microorganisms.
Only a pressure canner or pressure cooker can be used practically and safely in the home to reach the required 240°F, and maintain it for the necessary amount of time. Anyone wishing to can low acid vegetables, meats or foods containing meat such as stew, soup or gravies, will want to invest in a good pressure canner for years of dependable processing. By following the manufactures recommendations for care and safety, the pressure canner performs flawlessly for decades.
Also, many county extension offices offer free gauge testing as well as classes and seminars on using your home pressure canner. Don’t be afraid to try pressure canning. We offer pressure canners on our site, and would be more than willing to answer any questions you might have about pressure canning.
My family and our quest for resource efficiency was greatly aided by our using pressure canners, I hope that you find the same joy in opening a jar of home preserved fish, or veggies as we did during the cold Winter months.