Admittedly, canning can seem overwhelming at first – but I promise, it becomes much easier with practice. I wanted to compile a list of commonly asked questions (which I am sure will be ever growing).
- Can I use my Pressure Canner to Water Bath?
Yes, the pressure canner has many uses such as acting as a pressure cooker, and a water bath. In order to water bath, you must leave the lid unlatched (just sitting on top) to avoid pressure building.
- Are pressure canners and pressure cookers the same?
No! In order to safely can goods, you must know the pressure at any given moment. When using a pressure cooker, you have no physical proof as to where the temperature/pressure is than the high/medium/low dials on your stove top. Additionally, most (if not all) tested recipes are done so in a regulated environment (i.e. a pressure canner). A safe tested recipe in a pressure canner can become unsafe when using the wrong processing means (i.e. using a water bath and/or a pressure cooker).
- Can I use store bought produce to safely can?
Yes, however – there are a few caveats. Most store bought produce have been preserved in wax to ensure longer shelf life. Due to this, it is very important to remove skins and/or thoroughly wash produce before canning. (Please note, that some foods require complete removal of skins for both store bought, and home grown goods).
- Can I use an Electric Pressure Cooker / Canner to safely can?
No. Many people are looking for a quicker and (what appears to be) ‘safer’ way to can without breaking out the old style pressure canner however, they are more dangerous. Dangerous because they have been through a series of tests (performed by Universities, or other organizations partnered with the USDA) only to be proven that they are not efficient enough to maintain the required temperature to kill of the Botulism toxins. This applies to all electric canners, cookers, or multi-cookers including, but not limited to, Instant Pots, Power Pressure Cooker XLs, Careys, etc. It is important to note that the Ball FreshTECH Jam and Jelly Maker as well as the Ball FreshTECH Water Bath have been tested safe for high acid canning (i.e. Water Bath or Boiling Water Bath) only.
- Why do I keep getting soggy pickles and how do I avoid it?
Soggy pickles are typically the result of three things – improper processing (i.e. you are either pressure canning them instead of water bath, or cooking too long), using old produce that wasn’t crisp to begin with, or the produce wasn’t prepared properly and the natural pectin is starting to break down. Head over to our “Pickle Problems? Don’t be Soggy” post to learn a few tips on avoiding the dreaded soggy pickle.