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Pressure canning is used for low-acid foods, such as meats and vegetables. It can seem scary and intimidating, but it’s actually really simple once you get the hang of it!

Please also check your pressure canner manual for any variations in directions and inspect all parts before use.


  1. Gather your supplies:
    • pressure canner (NOT a pressure cooker)
    • Rack for inside of canner
    • Canning jars
    • Canning jar lids and rings
    • Jar lifter
    • Funnel
    • Towel
    • A delicious low-acid canning recipe!
  2. Heat jars and lids in hot water (not boiling) until ready to fill (If using Ball or Kerr lids, they recently announced that you do NOT have to heat the lids prior to canning)*
  3. Prepare your pot. Put rack inside of pressure canner, fill with 2-3 inches of water and heat to a slight simmer with lid on until ready to fill.* Do not bring to a boil.
  4. Make your recipe.

*If doing raw/cold pack, do NOT heat jars or the water in pressure canner. It could cause the jars to break during the canning process. Simply skip the heating up steps and place cold jars in cold water in pressure canner and slowly bring all up to heat.

Gettin’ Down to Business

  1. Remove hot jars from water and empty out water.
  2. Using funnel, carefully fill jars with your recipe, leaving the recommended headspace stated in your recipe (amount of space between top of food and jar lid).
  3. Remove air bubbles by sliding a bubble remover (or similar stick-like thing) around insides of jar.
  4. After jars are filled, wipe around top of jar with a clean, damp towel to make sure they are clean.
  5. Put lids and rings on jars ONLY finger-tight, meaning you don’t want them so tight you can’t unscrew using only your fingers.
  6. Using jar lifter, place jars into your pressure canner.

Dial Gauge Pressure Canner Instructions

  1. pressure canner dial gauge
    Dial Gauge

    Secure the lid on pressure canner (with vent/petcock open) and bring water to a boil.

  2. Once steam is steadily coming out of petcock, allow to vent for 10 minutes.
  3. Close petcock and allow the canner to reach the desired pressure recommended for your elevation. (see chart below)
  4. Start timing once pressure is reached.
  5. Reduce heat and adjust accordingly so pressure on dial gauge remains the same.
  6. Once time is up, turn off the heat.
  7. Allow the pressure canner to reach 0 pressure.
  8. Open the petcock and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  9. Carefully remove lid.

Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner Instructions

  1. pressure canner weighted gauge
    Weighted Gauge

    Secure the lid (without weighted gauge on) and bring water to a full rolling boil.

  2. One steam is steadily coming out of vent, allow to vent for 10 minutes.
  3. Place weighted gauge on the vent for the amount of pressure recommended for your elevation. (see chart below)
  4. Start timing once pressure is reached and weighted gauge starts to jiggle.
  5. Reduce heat to maintain the wanted pressure (weighted gauge should only jiggle 1-2 times per minute)
  6. Once time is up, turn off heat.
  7. Allow the pressure canner to reach 0 pressure.
  8. Carefully remove weighted gauge. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  9. Carefully remove lid.

Finishing Up

  1. Remove jars, using a jar lifter, and place on a towel on your countertop.
  2. Let the pinging begin!!! (the sounds the jars make as they seal. It’s glorious.)
  3. Let jars sit for 12-24 hours.
  4. Remove rings and check seals. Lids should not flex when pushed up and down and you should be able to lift jars by the lid 1-2″ without it budging.
  5. Give yourself a pat on the back!

Pressure Canning Tips

  • ALWAYS full inspect parts before every use and make sure vent pipe or petcock is free from any blockage.
  • If you have never pressure canned before, or you have a new pressure canner, we recommend doing a test run without any jars to get used to your equipment and the process without the risk of losing any yummy foods or precious jars.
  • If you are using a dial gauge pressure canner, you can have it tested at your local Extension Office.
  • Make sure your stove is pressure canning safe by checking your stove’s manual. (Some stoves cannot handle the heavier pressure canners or heat)
  • NEVER put cold jars in hot water or hot jars in cold water.
  • During the de-pressurizing phase (waiting for your canner tor reach 0 pressure), your lid could get stuck if it is left on too long after the canner reaches 0. You may need to pry it off. BE CAREFUL.
  • NEVER force cool a canner.
  • If pressure drops below the needed pressure for your recipe while canning, the NCHFP recommends you start the timing all over again after correct pressure is reached.


As elevation increases, water starts to boil at lower temperatures. So at a higher altitude, your water may come to a boil, but will not reach the needed temperature to stop botulism in low-acid foods (240° Fahrenheit). Therefore, your pressure must be increased. Find your elevation

Pressure for Different Elevations

Altitude (in feet)Dial GaugeWeighted Gauge
0 - 1,0001010
1,001 - 2,0001115
2,001 - 4,0001215
4,001 - 6,0001315
6,001 - 8,0001415
8,001 - 10,0001515
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