How to care for your pressure canner - Manchester simple living

Pressure canners can be scary. There's something frightening about those huge, heavy pots with screws on the top, looking for all the world like some kind of torture device. They're not scary, though, and with just a little care and feeding, they will last you for years.These little curved bits slide under the holder for the wingnuts. They help hold the lid of the pressure canner on tightly.Rev. M. Allyson SzaboRev. M. Allyson SzaboThere are three main types of pressure canners: Presto, Mirro and All American. This article deals only with the All American brand of canners.When you first take your pressure canner out of storage, whether straight from the store or out of your basement, you should clean it. To clean, add about two to four quarts of water, and one tablespoon of cream of tartar per quart of water. Tighten up all the knobs, two at a time, and then bring the water to a rolling boil. Let it boil for seven to eight minutes, then put the weight (also called a jiggler) onto the vent top. Check for steam coming from anywhere other than the weight, then take it off the heat and let it cool.Never open a pressure canner until the pressure has returned to zero on the gauge. If your gauge doesn't work, you must wait until the canner is cool to the touch, which may take several hours. The jiggler can come off when the canner can be touched without burning your fingers (this will aid it in cooling faster).Once you have your canner open again, pour out the water and wipe the inside clean with a damp cloth. Make note of any bumps or divots, although some pitting is normal. Unscrew each of the wingnuts in turn, cleaning the inside of them and the screw bases themselves. Make sure everything is very dry.Using petroleum jelly and your finger, lightly grease each screw and wingnut and replace them. Then lubricate the upper lip of the pressure canner pot, and the outside of the lid where it touches the pot. If you're not sure where the seal occurs, check your user's manual. The petroleum jelly should be very thin, barely noticeable when you are finished.The weight, which is a round knob-like thing with 5, ten and fifteen printed on it. It needs a gentle wipe with a damp cloth, and should be thoroughly dried. The weight does not need to be tested; it is always correct.To store your pressure canner, put the weight and any trays inside the pot. You may wish to wrap the weight in a paper towel to keep it free from rust. Place the lid onto the pot upside down. This will protect the handle and gauge from damage, and also ensures the pot doesn't become sealed while in storage.To keep up to date with the Keene Simple Living column, please click on the "subscribe" button. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below, or by e-mailing Allyson at href='' - -