Friday, October 17, 2014

Water Bath or Pressure Can

How do I know which one to do? 

I see lots of questions like this.  People want to can something, but then are unsure of which method to use.  I am hoping this post will clarify this for any of you that are in doubt.

The first thing I want to point out is why you need to know this information.  When home canning your own food you always run a risk of botulism forming in your jars.  Boiling water only reaches 212 degrees.  No matter how long you leave it boiling it will never get hotter that 212 degrees.  This is not hot enough to kill the microorganisms that cause botulism.  The temperature needed to kill all these organisms is 240 degrees.  A pressure canner reaches 240 degrees.  The food in the jars must not be to dense.  The heat needs to reach all the way to the center of the food in the jars at this temperature in order to be safe.

Foods that can be done in a Water Bath Canner: 

Only high acid foods can be done in a water bath canner. 

Fruit Butters
Pickled Foods
Fermented Foods
Tomatoes (You must add acid in the form of lemon juice or citric acid)

These are the only foods that can be processed in a water bath.  You should never process a low acid food in a water bath canner.  You may see recipes online saying it is safe to do so, but it is not. 

Foods that must be done is a Pressure Canner: 
Two popular models are the All American and the Presto, both pictured below.
All American Canner

Presto Canner
All low acid foods must be processed in a Pressure Canner. These include all foods except those listed above that can be water bathed.

Vegetables (Unless pickled or fermented)
Soup and Stews
Any other food that is not on the list that can be water bathed.

No comments: