A pressure cooker can be used to cook anything like meat, chicken, vegetables and stews. The invention of the pressure cooker makes life much easier by letting you cook your favorite meals 6 to 7 times faster than the oven. You can cook a whole meal for your entire family faster than normal. Pressure cookers are now used in most fast-food restaurants across the world.
With the change of time, electric pressure cookers are introduced, which are most likely to do anything, and most people wonder, “can you use a pressure cooker for canning”. The simple answer for that would be YES! Yes, we can use a pressure cooker for canning, but to do this process, you have to keep a few things in your mind, and all of them are explained thoroughly in this article.
When you apply heat to any food sealed in a jar or any kind of pot to destroy the microorganisms that can cause food spoilage, it’s canning. So, if you do this process properly, this technique will stop the food spoilage by applying heat for a while and eliminating bacteria. The air is driven out throughout the canning and creates a vacuum as the jar cools and seals.
Firstly, Know about food acidity
To avoid the problems with low and high heat settings, you should have some knowledge about food acidity. It will help you buy the best pressure cooker. Food items such as meat, tomatoes, and such type of vegetables are low acidic food that does not have the high acidity in them needed to prevent the growth of the bacterium. These bacteria can cause serious food poisoning by generating germs in your food.
The water bath technique can handle high acid foods, but low acid food needs vinegar, lemon juice and citric acid to increase the level of acidity in them. Preserving distilled food and pickled vegetables are high acid foods that can easily be processed through the water bath method. So, to preserve food while the natural flavors remain the same, there are only two ways to kill such bacteria.
A water bath method
It is a fundamental and very easy method. This process preserves acidic food by placing food items in boiling water and revolving such food items in an open pot until a vacuum is formed under the lid.
This method of preserving food will force the air out and form a type of vacuum that can kill bacteria and prevent them from surviving. Such a method is used for jams and jellies. This method is very safe, and when you use the right food, you must know the right way of doing it because it can be a lengthy process.
It is a very advanced method because it requires awareness about appliances, working methods and how long a food item should be processed. These appliances are very effective, so if you want to prepare low acidic food items such as beef and poultry or other low acidic foods, this method will hit up the appliance up to 240 degrees which can kill any type of bacteria like botulism.
How can you use a pressure cooker for canning?
Every recipe is different from one another in terms of processing the food. Here are some common pressure canning tips.
Gather canning supply
- Pressure cooker
- Canning jars
- Rings and lids for canning
- Canning funnel and jar lifter
- Pot holders and towels
- Bowles and pots
- Spoons, knives
- Food to be canned
Steps for canning
- Heat the jar
Add some water to about three parts in the canner, place the lid loosely and not hold it firmly and boil water just below the boiling point. When the bubbles start to appear (mostly at 180°F), let the jar float in water inside the pressure canner/cooker. After this, place the lid back on the pressure canner and let the jar get hot. After some time jar will be ready to add food.
- Put the food in the jar
A funnel would be a great idea to keep the jar clean. You should fill the hot jar, not the cooled one and one jar at a time. Remember to place food in the jar very carefully without squeezing the food.
- Remove any unnecessary air from the jar
Use a hand tool like a spatula to remove air bubbles. You can start by sliding it between the jar, and the food will release the air stuck in it. You can add more hot water if there is a space above the jar.
- Clean the rim of the jar and put the lid on
Now it’s time to remove the jar rim with the help of a clean cloth. Put the lid in place and screw a band on the fingertip tightly. It is a very important step to remove air. Then place the jar back in its position before filling the next one.
- Fill the cooker and lock the lid
Now it’s time to place the last jar in the cooker. Water must come only a few inches up, and it should not cover the gauge completely, then, set the pressure and twist handles to lock the cooker but do not put a regulator.
- Vent the pressure cooker
Turn on high heat and let the steam come out of the vent pipe for 10 minutes. If the cooker is weighted-gauge, just be careful and vent the vessel to plug it.
- Achieve the exact pressure
Make sure to achieve suitable pressure by checking for the safety valve. It is easy to handle because it pops from the down to the up position, showing that the cooker is completely pressurized. Do not open the cooker immediately. Wait for the regulator to make a rattling sound by adjusting the heat. I suggest setting the timer for the canner. If it has a digital meter, start the timer when the meter reads 11 pounds.
- Depressurize and open the cooker
Make sure to turn off the heat when the recipe is completely cooked by noting the time. But do not open it immediately. Wait until the valve drops back down to zero. It shows that there is no pressure left inside the pot. After that, carefully remove the regulator and unlock the handles, then wait for a few seconds so that any steam left is directed out.
- Let the jars cool
Keep the jars in the cooker for 10 minutes to cool. Remove them from the cooker and hold them with the help of a kitchen towel. Do not tightly secure the lids and put them aside to cool for about 12 to 24 hours. Check the seals by pressing on the lid. Refrigerate any improperly sealed food to eat soon. Store the rest in a cool, dry place and try to use it within one year. Use a permanent marker to note the date on the lid, so you don’t keep canned foods longer than one year.