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August 5, 2015 Canning, Canning 101, News, Preserving Recipes, Pressure Canning

Can I use a Pressure Cooker for canning? Pressure Canners vs. Pressure Cookers for Canning

Rick Krajl talking Pressure Canning

Updated June 2023

Richard Kralj, Food Safety & Quality-Senior Extension Educator at Penn State Extension presented a pressure canning demo at our Preservation Station at the PA Farm Show. There were many questions regarding pressure canning at the PA Farm Show, and we continue to get questions about this topic.

As more small kitchen appliances are being mis-marketed for pressure canning, we felt the topic needed some additional attention. We asked Rick Kralj for some official feedback on the question “Can I use a Pressure Cooker for canning?”.  Rick provided us with the official statement from the National Center for Home Food Preservation that discourages the use of electric multi-cookers for canning.

The article outlines the following as major reasons that the NCHFP does NOT recommend using electric multi-cookers for pressure canning, and as you’ll read it’s all about the temperature!

  1. Thermal process canning research relates the temperatures in the jars to the temperature inside the canner throughout the processing. No USDA thermal process research has been done with jars inside an electric pressure cooker, tracking the actual temperatures inside the jars throughout the process.
  2. Producing an interior pressure is not sufficient data for canning recommendations. For example, if air is mixed in the steam, the temperature is lower than the same pressure of pure steam.   
  3. One of the big concerns is that the USDA low-acid pressure process times rely on a combination of heat from the time the canner is coming to pressure, during the actual process time, and then during the early stages of cooling the canner and jars. If anything is done to shorten the cooling period, then the food could cool down more quickly, and be under-processed. 

Pressure Cookers do not reach to recommended pressures, and therefore temperatures, which have scientifically been required to render a safely preserved product. Since pressure canners have been designed with dials and/or pressure regulating weight, one can be confident of the pressure (and the temperature) of the contents.

It’s important to remember that a sealed jar does not equal a safely preserved product. Sealing the jar is just the physics. Starting with safe ingredients/recipe and abiding by the recommended duration of temperature helps to determine the stability and safety of your end product inside a sealed jar.

We encourage you to read the full article here.

Just as it is important to use the proper appliance – a pressure canner – for pressure canning, it is also important to only use jars and lids that are designed, tested and approved for pressure canning. Find out which jars you should use here.

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