Have you had your canner checked this year?

by Melinda Hill, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator in Wayne County

The season of fresh fruits and vegetables is here.  How nice it is to be able to enjoy local fruits and berries that we can either freeze or preserve using a water bath canner for family meals when the snow flies.  But with our vegetables, we must use a pressure canner that’s in good working condition to make sure that we process our food safely.  Here’s a quick inspection that you can do at home:

  • Check the handles and make sure they are secure, loose handles tend to break more easily. Tighten them down to preserve their proper use on the canner.
  • Is the canner clean of any debris around the openings? Has the lid been cleaned around the gasket ? Make sure there's no sticky residue is found under the gasket or on the lid.
  • Does the gasket fit securely inside the lid? There should be little movement when you try to move it, inside the lid.  If the gasket falls from the lid or moves easily, it might be time to replace it to get a secure seal on the canner to properly build the pressure.
  • Is the overpressure plug (if it’s rubber) soft enough that you can see an indent from your fingernail? If it’s metal, is it secure in the hole?
  • Is the vent pipe clean? You can use a cotton pipe cleaner to make sure airway is open and free from any mineral build up from your water.  This is essential to do if there is ever a jar that breaks during processing to keep the vent open so air flows freely.
  • Have you done a practice run this year to make sure that everything is working properly? Just place 3-4 inches of water in your canner and do a trial run to make sure you have identified any potential issues.

Happy Canning!