As I lifted my brand new pressure canner out of the box, it reminded me of an alien spaceship with all the gadgets on top… Not to mention the big, thick instruction book…
Up until that moment, I had never even seen a pressure canner in person– let alone watch someone use one.
Thankfully, after some careful reading, I realized that the whole process wasn’t as near as intimidating as I had originally thought.
So, let’s dive right in!
Parts of Pressure Canner
Of course, all manufacturers will be slightly different, so it’s very important to read the instruction manual for your particular canner. Fortunately, the majority of the parts will usually be the same.
As I explained in Part One, there are 2 gauges on my canner: a dial gauge and a weighted gauge.
The weighted gauge sits on top of the vent pipe. Here is what the vent pipe looks like:
Many pressure canners have a rubber gasket that fits between the lid and bottom, but All-American canners like mine do not.
Instead, my canner has a metal-to-metal seal. I prefer this since rubber gaskets are subject to cracking and breaking and have to be replaced. The only maintenance that the metal-to-metal seal requires is a light oiling (use olive oil) every 2-3 uses.
When you place the lid on the base, be sure that it is properly lined up. My model has a small arrow on the lid, and a groove on the rim of the base to show you the proper alignment. (I think some models have 2 arrows, but it doesn’t really matter.)
Another feature I like about my All-American is the added security of the six wing nuts that fasten the lid onto the base.
It’s very important that you tighten two opposite wing nuts at the same time when you go to attach the lid to the base. If you only tighten one at a time, the lid can become unevenly attached to the base. This can result in loss of pressure and an unsuccessful canning adventure.
I drew some diagonal lines on this photo to help illustrate the whole “diagonal tightening” concept.
Oh, and that little black rubber dot you see to the left of the handle? That’s the overpressure plug. There’s not much you need to know about that, other than it’s an added safety feature *just in case* the pressure in the canner ever becomes too high. (If that happens, it will pop out).
Just make sure it’s not worn or cracked, and clean it if it ever gets a build up of food or grease.
The inside of the canner is pretty boring– it’s just a big ol’ aluminum pot.
Mine discolored like this the very first time I used it, and that’s normal. (The photo makes it look crusty, but it’s not. The surface is still smooth, just “seasoned”…)
Now, the pot can become “pitted” if not probably cared for, so you do want to make sure that you thoroughly wash and dry it after every use.
My canner came with 2 racks. One always goes on the bottom (never place jars directly on the bottom of the canner itself) and one goes in the middle if you are stacking pint jars.
Simply place the rack with the rim facing down before adding any jars to your canner.
To Sum it All Up:
- Make sure lid is properly aligned with base and always tighten two opposing wing nuts at the same time.
- It’s o.k. for the inside of the canner to become discolored with use.
- Always use a rack in the bottom of the canner, and place rim-side down.
- Always wash and thoroughly dry your canner when you are done using it.
- Occasionally check the overpressure plug to make sure it’s not cracked or gunked-up.
- If you have a canner with a metal-to-metal seal, lightly oil it every 2-3 uses. If you have a rubber gasket seal, frequently check the gasket for cracks and wear.
Click HERE to go back to Part 1 of this series.
Click HERE to read Part 3.
Questions? Confused? Have something to add? Leave me a note in the comments!
I am not affiliated with All-American Pressure Canners in any way.
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