It is the time of year to start thinking about home food preservation projects for the spring and summer. If you plan to use a pressure canner for safely preserving low acid foods like vegetables or meats, consider scheduling a canner inspection soon. For dial gauge pressure canners, the gauge should be checked for accuracy annually. The gauge should also be checked if it has been dropped, soaked in water, or shows any other signs of damage. If the gauge is off more than 2 pounds at the pressure used for your altitude, replace it. Make pressure adjustments for the difference up to 2 pounds. Food Systems and Safety Agents commonly perform these tests in their office. At this time, our offices are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Until we are able to see you in person, canner dial gauges can be tested by Presto®.
To have your gauge tested for accuracy, remove it from your canner lid, wrap it in bubble wrap or newspaper and securely place it in a shipping box. Be sure to include your name, phone number, email address, and mailing address in the box with your gauge. Gauges can be sent to the Presto Customer Service Department at:
National Presto Industries, Inc.
Consumer Service Department
3925 North Hastings Way
Eau Claire, WI 54703-3703
Other safety checks to look for with pressure canners include inspection of the vent, safety valve, gasket and edges of the lid and canner. The vent should be clean and free from buildup. To clean the vent, draw a string, narrow strip of cloth, or pipe cleaner through the opening. The gasket is a rubber or rubber-like compound that helps seal the edges of the canner and lid to prevent the steam from escaping. Gaskets may be removable for cleaning or replacement. Check the gasket for signs of stretching or dry rot. Also, remember not all pressure canners have gaskets. Some have a metal-to-metal seal. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for care of the sealing edges of your canner.
For more information on home canning equipment, visit HGIC 3020, Home Canning Equipment.