Canning is a big investment in equipment and supplies. You don’t just grab your grandma’s jars and canner and have-to. You have to invest in lids and rings, too. You have to make sure that the jars are sound. And if you want to can meat or vegetables, you also need a pressure canner, instead of just a boiling water bath canner. All that equipment takes up a lot of space. In the old days people had huge farm kitchens, big pantries and cold storage, plus unfinished basements to store all the canning supplies that were brought out during harvest season. What if you are short of space? Then what do you do?
One option is to use your pressure canner for preserving fruits, jams, and juices instead of a boiling water bath canner. You can fill the pressure canner to 2 inches over the tops of your jars, replace the canner lid with a regular lid that fits snugly, and use it just like a boiling water bath canner. Check garage sales and thrift shops for orphaned lids that will fit your pressure canner. I found a large glass stock pot lid that is a perfect fit for mine.
Pressure can your fruits, too
Another way to use your pressure canner with fruits, juices, and jams is to pressure can. This works well when the fruit that you are canning is quite firm and won’t turn to mush, or when you are canning a sauce or chutney, where the texture is naturally soft and sauce like. I prefer peaches that have been water bathed canned to pressure canned peaches.
The advantages of pressure canning fruit are:
- You use less water
- You use less fuel for heating
- Processing times are shorter
- You can do more jars at a time — a water bath canner holds 7 jars of any size, but if you are canning pints, you can typically get 14 to 16 pints in a pressure canner.
Follow the directions on your pressure canner for fill rates. My pressure canner says to put 3.5 litres of water into the pot. Add your jars. And process at 5 lbs. pressure. I am at 2,700 feet so I use 10 pounds pressure whenever the recipe calls for 5 lbs pressure. Check your own elevation and adjust these pressure recommendations accordingly.
Here are the time for various fruits:
|Fruit||# pressure||Time for pints/quarts|
|Berries (except strawberries)||5||8|
|Citrus Juice or segments||5||5|
Today I pressure canned rhubarb. I did 5 pint jars at 10# pressure for 5 minutes, using my wood cook stove as the heat source. This used up my haul of rhubarb from the Spring garden, about 15 lbs., for the time being.
I have a Presto Pressure Canner. I’ve had mine for 30 years. It was a fantastic investment. Its had a lot of years of use and its still going strong.
If you are investing in a brand new pressure canner, I’d recommend getting the largest one you can afford. You will be canning with it for many decades and it will expand with your growing pantry, allowing you to can many different size jars and making the most efficient use of your energy and space.