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Washington State University

Pressure Canning

Food Preservation – Pressure Canning

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.

Types of Pressure Canners

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

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 Dial Gauge Cannerof 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 Canned Food

Pressure Dial Gauge Testing

WSU Thurston County Extension offers testing of your pressure canner dial gauges.

Dial gauges for pressure canners should be checked annually for safety and accuracy. New gauges should also be checked before use. Gauges that are off by more than two pounds should be replaced.

It is not always possible to test your gauge while it is attached to the lid. Please remove the gauge prior to testing. You do not need to bring your entire canner.

To make an appointment to have your gauge tested, email or call the office at (360) 867-2189.

Other locations for gauge testing

  • Mason County – By appointment, call Lisa DeWall (360) 427-9670 ext. 680. Cost: $3 fee per gauge
  • Pierce County – WSU Pierce County has partnered with McLendon’s Hardware for pressure canner gauge testing. McLendon’s has two locations; 11307 Canyon Rd E, Puyallup, 98373, (253) 536-6560 or 1111 Fryar Ave, Sumner, 98390, (253) 863-2264. Please call the store closet to you for hours and cost.
  • Grays Harbor County –  By appointment, call Sue Sparkman (360) 482-2934). Cost: $2 per gauge.
  • Pacific County – By appointment, call Toni Gwin (360) 875-9331. No fee for testing.