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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, or by approved plan. Effective July 6, 2021, Snohomish County WSU Extension will have a limited administration presence at Willis Tucker Park (Snohomish). The McCollum Park campus (Everett) continues to 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.

Switch to a Weighted Gauge?

Presto can help with switching your canner to a 3-piece weighted gauge.

If you switch to a weighted gauge you don’t need to get your gauge checked. The weight becomes all that you need to rely on. You leave the dial gauge on — but it becomes instead just an indicator to let you know when the pressure is returning close to 0 so you will be able to take the lid off.

Do call Presto so they can help you determine if this is the best approach for you. All cases are different and they need to verify which canner you have before they can respond.

Contact Presto Customer Service via:
Tel: 1-800-877-0441

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).

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
  • Paramount Supply Co. – 2230 Midway Lane, Bellingham  WA 98226 (360) 647-8328

All-American Canners

If you have All American with both weighted and dial gauge the company recommends only the weighted gauge be used when canning and not the dial gauge.

Presto Free Testing

Presto will test their own gauges for free.  You will need to check with them about testing National, Magic Seal, Maid of Honor, Kook-Kwick

Send Presto gauges to:

National Presto Industries Inc
Attn: Gauge Testing
3925 N Hastings Way
Eau Claire, WI 54703

Please allow 2-3 weeks to get the gauge back. Be sure to include complete information in the box: your name, address (no PO box!!) and phone number. You’re welcome to ship any way you prefer, but they do recommend a tracking number of some sort for your and their protection against damage or lost packages.