Pressure canners have many parts that must be checked on a regular basis to ensure accurate processing of low acid foods, such as; vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood or combination recipes.
→To check the vent pipe or petcock hold lid to the light to see if the tube is clear. To clean the vent, draw a string or pipe cleaner through the opening. Your one piece safety counter weight should be clean and uncracked when placed on the vent pipe.
→The safety rubber plugs should be checked for brittleness, cracking or disfiguration. If your safety plug has ever been released – you must replace it with a new one.
→Check your canner base and rack for flatness.
→The gasket is a rubber or rubber like compound that helps seal the edges of the canner and lid to prevent steam from escaping. Check the gasket, it should be flexible and soft, not brittle, sticky or cracked. Replace the gasket as needed.
→Weighted pressure regulators have no moving parts so there is no need to have them tested for accuracy. Be sure they are clean, with no debris or food residue. Be sure there are no nicks or damage to the weight.
→The dial gauge is attached to the cover and has a needle to point to the amount of pressure inside. Be sure the gauge is screwed firmly into the lid. Dial gauges must be checked for accuracy prior to each canning season.
→Dial gauges may be checked at many county extension offices or by contacting the pressure canner manufacturer for other options.
→If your dial gauge reads high or low by more than 2 pounds when tested, it should be replaced.
→Replacement gauges or other parts for canner are often available at stores offering canning equipment, appliance repair stores, on line or from canner manufacturers.
→To ensure that you are processing your low acid foods at an adequate temperature – maintaining your pressure canner is the first step. The next step is to follow the most current processing times by laboratory research. Check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation website for the most up-to-date processing methods.