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Washington State University

Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19 Advisory: WSU Extension is working to keep our communities safe. All Extension programming is being provided virtually, postponed, or canceled. Effective March 16, 2020, WSU Extension county offices and WSU Research & Extension Centers will be closed to the public. We are available via email, phone, and webconference.

Pressure Canners

Pressure canning is the only recommended method for canning meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and other low acid food products. It’s the only proven and tested method capable of destroying any disease-causing microorganisms that might be present.

pressure canner is a very important piece of equipment when it comes to home food preservation. Make sure it is working properly  to ensure the safety of any foods preserved.

Weighted gauge canner Dial gauge canner
weighted gauge canner dial gauge canner

Pressure Canner Types

There are two types of pressure canners – weighted gauge and dial gauge.

Weighted gauges do not need to be tested. Just make sure to check rubber seals and safety plugs regularly for wear and replace when necessary.

Dial gauge canners have a sensitive pressure gauge used to measure the internal pressure of the canner. As a delicate scientific instrument they can often be damaged or off to some degree.

If the dial gauge on your pressure canner does not register correctly, you could be jeopardizing the safety of the food you preserve. To avoid any issues with the proper function of your pressure canner, you should have it checked.

The USDA recommends having pressure canner dial gauges tested annually.

Can you use a pressure canner as a hot water bath canner?

If you have a Presto brand pressure canner, you may be able to use it as a hot water bath canner as well. Here are the Instructions from Presto (pdf).

Pressure Canner Dial Gauge Testing

We are unable to test gauges during the current closure of Snohomish County facilities.

WSU Snohomish County Extension offers  testing of your pressure canner dial gauges along with inspection of the seals and safety plugs. There is a $5 charge (exact cash or check only please) per gauge tested.

There is no need to bring the entire canner or remove the gauge from the lid, just bring the lid with gauge attached.

To make an appointment to have your gauge tested, email or call Kate Ryan at (425) 357-6024.

Other locations for gauge testing

  • Ajax Electric – 2911 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134 (206) 622-9948
    Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm Mon – Fri
  • Ace Hardware – 1420 Riverside Dr, Mt Vernon, WA 98273, (360) 428-6977
    Hours: 8am – 7pm Mon-Sat; 8am-6pm Sun
  • WSU Skagit County Extension – 11768 Westar Lane, Suite A  Burlington, WA 98233, (360) 428-4270 (testing suspended currently)