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July 4, 2020

Time to test pressure canner gauges

By Toi N. Degree
N.C. Extension

As we enter into the canning season, I am here to remind you that it’s time to have your pressure canner gauge tested. Check dial gauges for accuracy before use each year. Gauges that read high cause under-processing and may result in unsafe food. Low readings cause over-processing. Pressure adjustments can be made if the gauge reads up to two pounds high or low. Replace gauges that differ by more than 2 pounds.

Today’s pressure canner may have a dial gauge or a weighted one to indicate and regulate the pressure.

Weighted gauges will either rock gently or make a frequent jiggling noise to indicate if the correct the pressure is being maintained.

Both work the same way; they are just designed differently. The three-piece gauge is divided into individual weights, each weighing five pounds. So, if you wanted 15-pounds of pressure, you would have all three pieces together. Or, you have the gauge that you can turn to the poundage you need and place onto the canner. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to know how a particular weighted gauge should rock or jiggle. Weighted gauges do not require testing.

A dial gauge has a needle that will move to show the pounds of pressure inside the canner.

Where can you get your pressure canner tested?  I am testing them 1-3 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. If you need to have your canner tested, sign up at Sign Up Genius selecting the time and date that works best for you. I am able to test the following pressure canner gauges: National, Magic Seal, Maid of Honor, Kook-Kwick, and Presto.

All American has been selling their pressure canners with both a dial and weighted gauge for each unit. Weighted gauges do not need to be tested. For testing of All-American dial pressure gauges, contact Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry at 920-682-8627.

Replacement gauges and other parts (e.g. gasket, safety plugs) for canners are often found at stores that sell food preservation equipment or from canner manufacturers. You can purchase parts at your local hardware store. When ordering parts, be sure to provide your canner model number and describe the parts you need.

For the most current information on our programs, like and follow us on Facebook at Rowan County Cooperative Extension, and you can also visit our website at https://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu/. To sign up to have your canner tested, visit:  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/508054aaca92aa3fa7-pressure

Toi N. Degree is family and consumer education agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Contact her at 704-216-8970 or toi_degree@ncsu.edu.

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