For anyone who has never pressure canned before I am providing a photo documentation of the process. It is a very simple process, and can be successfully accomplished by anyone with the right equipment. Hopefully this will let beginners see how easy it really is, before they make the investment. There are detailed directions and pressure-time charts that come with a pressure canner.
You need some basic equipment for canning. I would recommend to invest in a canning funnel, Jar Lifter, plastic bubble probe, and a large dipper. I purchased a Presto 23-Qt Pressure Canner for $77. It can pressure can 20 pint jars in one load. Smaller canners are available for less. Remember, a pressure canner is also a pressure cooker, and it can double as a hot-water bath canner too. I use the pressure canner to cook meals when I’m rushed for time. It can reduce cooking time by up to 75% in many cases.
The first step is to wash and trim the ends from the beans, and cut them into the desired lengths. I prefer lengths of about 1-1/2". Since I am pressure canning, there is no reason to pre-cook the beans.
Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water, then pack the jars with the cut beans. Next, fill the jars containing the beans with boiling water up to about 1/2" to 1" from the top rim. Once the beans and hot water are in the jar, use a plastic probe to release any air bubbles that are trapped inside. Finally place the lid on the jar and screw on the ring, tightening by hand.
Now use the jar lifter to lower the cans into the pressure canner. With pressure canning, the water does not have to cover the jars completely. I try to fill the cooker up to about 2" from the top with boiling water.
Finally lock the cover on the pressure cooker, and turn the burner on high. When the pressure reaches 11 pounds, turn down the heat and maintain 11 pounds for 20 minutes (for beans). After 20 minutes turn off the heat and let the pressure slowly reduce to zero before opening.
TIME & PRESSURE FOR PINTS
Beans = 20 min @ 11psi
Carrots = 25 min. @ 11psi
Beets = 30 min. @ 11psi
Corn = 55 min. @ 11psi
IMPORTANT: Wait for the pressure to Lower on it’s own!! Absolutely do not remove the cover, or bleed off the pressure with the release valve. All the liquid will be drawn out of your jars and you could be seriously burned from steam. The water and steam inside are at 240 degrees F.
The other thing I would emphasize is NOT to preserve beans or non-acidic vegetables with a water bath canner. Bacteria produces a spore that makes a poisonous toxin which causes botulism. The bacteria will survive in Low-Acid foods, and this spore is not destroyed at 212° F (boiling point). Low-acid foods need to be processed at 240° F. This temperature can only be achieved with a pressure canner.
Happy Pressure Canning
“With pressure canning, the water does not have to cover the jars completely. I try to fill the cooker up to about 2” from the top with boiling water."
My canner has a line on it – you fill it up to that point (I believe it’s 3 quarts) before the jars are in, and that’s it. You don’t have to add any additional water.
The back end of a rubber spatula handle works well for the bubble probe (aka you don’t need a specific tool for this).
I hot-pack my beans. So everything’s hot already, and I just use the cooking water in the jars. Lids sit in a slightly simmering pan of water.
I may try cold-packing this year, just out of curiosity. Mom always hot-packed hers, so of course that’s how I did it last year. Cold-packing would certainly use fewer pots and leave less juggling around the stove.
I should have said “so that the water is 2” from the top after the jars are all in". The canner fills with 240F steam, so there’s no reason to cover the cans like you would in a hot water bath canner. I never saw much value in hot-packing (precooking the vegetables). I pour boiling water over the raw beans (cold pack). They cook enough during the canning process at 11psi for 20 minutes. I think hot-packing tends to overcook the vegetables. Both methods work fine.
I invested in a canning kit (pictured). The blue plastic probe also has a magnet on one end for retrieving metal lids from the boiling water. I think I paid about $16. for the kit, and if you do a lot of canning like me, it’s a great investment. I can about 600-700 jars per year of fruits, jams, and vegetables.
I also use the back end of a spatula to release bubbles from my jars. I use tongs to get my lids out of the water. I am a cold pack person as well. I don’t like my veggies over-cooked.
This year, every time I process a run of veggies in my canner, all jars seal except for one! LOL Go figure. Oh well. Makes a good dinner for that night.
The only things I bought were my pressure canner which is like yours, but I wish I had the money to get one with the automatic pressure gauge rather than the dial, the jar lifter, a wide mouth funnel, and the jars. I did buy a dipper, but any old ladle will do.
You also forgot that if you want to add salt to your jars, it is 1/2 teaspoon per pint or 1 teaspoon per quart.
I never add salt. It’s for taste rather than preservation. I do canning specifically to eliminate the sodium. My wife adds it to her vegetables. I add all kinds of seasonings other than salt to my vegetables.
I am with you. I add the salt strictly because of my hubby. I can sort of control his salt intake this way. I normally rinse the veggies before I heat them up after opening a jar to get any extra salt off. I prefer all kinds of herbs to salt. :)
I answered a couple questions on canning recently. I’m not an expert on canning, but I get a lot of practice pressure canning every fall. That comes with having a large garden. I updated the post a bit, so if anyone is scared off when it comes to pressure canning, this post should show you just how easy it really is.
You made it sound easy and I’d really like to try. I have a pressure cooker with the “jiggler” on the top instead of the dial. How do I know what PSI it is and do i need to put anything on the bottom of the pot before putting the jars in?
The “jiggler” keeps the pot from exploding when the pressure gets too high. Pressure cookers and canners use weights (jigglers) that are preset to 15psi. As long as you get the internal temp up to 240F, it really doesn’t matter. Canning at 15psi is fine, however, at that temp, you need to make sure you put a dish towel in the bottom of the pot to keep the glass jars up off the bottom. I would simply turn down the heat to medium once its starts to jiggle, and follow the canning times above.
My “jiggler” can be split; the base is 5psi, one metal ring is 11psi and both metal rings are 15psi. Most recipes I find ask for 11psi, so I rarely use the 2nd ring.
I put this in a downloadable pdf with photos