Many people are curious if their electric pressure cooker can be used for canning, given how versatile they are these days. It is a resounding “yes.” However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
It is possible to preserve food using various techniques, such as water bath or steam canning, water pressure canning, or any combination of these. Electric pressure cookers do not allow for pressure canning, ironically. You can still use your pressure cooker for a water bath or steam canning.
However, fruits, jams, jellies, and pickles are good candidates for this technique because of their high acidity. You should not use your electric pressure cooker to can low-acid foods like meats and vegetables.
Is It Possible To Canning With An Electric Pressure Cooker?
I understand the appeal of using a pressure cooker for canning. They are so versatile in the kitchen that they can effectively replace a slow cooker, steamer, and rice cooker, among others.
And while they perform admirably as pressure cookers, you should be aware that they may not be the best option for canning foods.
Some foods may be preserved in an electric pressure cooker, but not all. Let us begin by learning a little about how a pressure cooker works.
How Pressure Cookers Differ from Canners?
Pressure cookers (also known as pressurized cooking pots) use a combination of steam and heat for cooking food. Most of the cooking power is generated by high heat, creating steam inside the pot. It is equipped with a valve that prevents the steam from escaping and developing excessive pressure. It increases the boiling point of liquid within the cooker and converts the moisture in the food to steam.
Pressure canners are like pressure cookers except that they are larger and more effective at maintaining high temperatures and pressures inside the pot. This is necessary for the safe preservation of foods in cans.
All fruits, vegetables, and meat contain water, and the cooker’s sole purpose during cooking is to transfer heat from an external source to the food. When food meets heat, molecular changes occur, resulting in cooked food. The Instant Pot’s or any other pressure cooker’s operation is dependent on the changes caused by heat and the transfer of water molecules.
Temperature of the water
To comprehend how a pressure cooker works, assume that water boils at a low temperature at a higher altitude. This occurs due to a lack of sufficient pressure to cause water to cook at a low temperature. Water boiling at a low temperature quickly dries out food, causes it to burn and makes cooking more difficult. Therefore, food takes significantly longer to cook at high altitudes.
However, the reverse procedure is used when working with pressure cookers. It tends to raise the temperature of the water and shorten the cooking time. In a pressure cooker, steam cannot escape, no water is lost, and food is cooked without heat.
The primary advantage of using a pressure cooker is that you can cook food quickly and efficiently, saving both time and energy. Not only are pressure cookers used for rapid cooking, but they are also used for canning food.
Can you use Electric Pressure Cooker for canning?
Pressure cookers have existed for an extended period and have simplified lives by reducing cooking time. Pressure cookers can be used to cook various foods, including rice, stew, meat, and vegetables.
Without a doubt, they have simplified our lives by making cooking a matter of minutes. Restaurants utilize stovetop pressure cookers, and conventional pressure cookers have been phased out in favor of electric pressure cookers such as the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, and others.
Despite its time-saving and rapid cooking benefits, the electric pressure cooker is not the answer for healthily preserving low-acid foods. While high acid foods such as fruits that can be water bathed can be pressure canned in small quantities using an electric pressure cooker, low acid foods require a larger, dedicated pressure canner.
How Does Canning Work?
There are numerous techniques for eradicating bacteria and reintroducing natural flavors when it comes to food preservation. Here are two popular methods for canning food.
Preparation for Canning
Regardless of the method you use for canning, there are a few necessary preparation steps to follow, including the following:
- Inspect your jars and lids for nicks or cracks. If they do, you will be unable to obtain a proper seal, resulting in the loss of your canned goods.
- Rinse and wash your jars thoroughly with hot, soapy water.
- Maintain the temperature of your jars until you are ready to fill them. This can be accomplished in the dishwasher by immersing the jars in boiling water in your pressure cooker or pouring boiling water over them in the sink.
- If you intend to use the water bath canning method and the recipe calls for boiling the jars for less than 10 minutes in the water bath, you must sterilize the jars beforehand. This is accomplished by immersing them in boiling water for ten minutes. If you are above 1,000 feet in elevation, add one minute for every 1,000 feet.
- Prepare and fill your jars according to the recipe.
Canning in a Water Bath
If you are canning in a water bath, proceed to the following steps:
- Turn on the heat and fill your pressure cooker halfway with water to cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches.
- Immediately after filling, place the jars on a rack or trivet.
- Reduce the rack to the bottom of the pressure cooker.
- Assure that the jars are completely submerged in 1 to 2 inches of water. If there is insufficient water, add more boiling water, pouring between the jars rather than directly on them.
- Secure the pressure cooker’s lid.
- Once the water reaches a rolling boil, begin counting the processing time. Keep an eye on the cooker to ensure the water maintains a rolling boil.
- When the timer goes off, turn off the cooker and remove the jars to a rack to cool.
Canning with Steam
Steam canning is like water bath canning, except that steam is used to heat the contents of the jar to a temperature sufficient to kill bacteria and create the vacuum seal.
- In your pressure cooker, place a rack or trivet.
- Fill the cooker halfway with water, up to the trivet’s height.
- Arrange the jars on the rack or trivet.
- Replace the pressure cooker’s lid and inspect the seal.
- Adjust the pressure valve to the venting position.
- Turn on the steam function on your pressure cooker.
- Once the float valve is raised and a steady stream of steam escapes, you begin counting the processing time.
- When the timer goes off, turn off the cooker and remove the jars to a rack to cool.
A pressure canner is used to preserve foods with low acidity (vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, and wild game). It is designed to hold canning jars upright and process higher than a water bath canner. USDA thermal process work has not been conducted with pots inside any electric pressure cooker.
The cooker works by increasing the temperature of boiling water, which accelerates the time required to cook, braise, or steam. To use a pressure cooker, you must first add some liquid to the pot—typically at least 2 cups to generate sufficient steam pressure.
Individuals have used both water bath and pressure canning methods. However, the most recommended way is water bath canning. Although instructions are included in the manual for an electric pressure cooker, pressure canners are explicitly designed for this purpose. These are large, heavy pots with a vented lid, a safety fuse, and a pressure gauge.
An electric pressure canner is an excellent tool for ensuring food safety and preventing the spoilage of canned foods. Additionally, unlike water-bath canning, an electric pressure canner is recommended as a safe method for low-acid foods that are more susceptible to dangerous bacteria when improperly canned.
Typically, pressure cookers are used to quickly cook roasts and other significant cuts of meat. On the other hand, pressure canners preserve low acid foods such as vegetables, meat, and fish in canning jars.
Because the Instant Pot product line is controlled by a pressure sensor rather than a thermometer, the actual cooking temperature may vary depending on your location’s altitude. We strongly advise against using the Instant Pot for pressure canning.
It can be used to preserve vegetables, meat, poultry, and seafood. Using this method, jars containing food are placed in water inside a pressure cooker and heated to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Only a pressure cooker can achieve the high temperature required for canning.
Raw or cooked meat can be packed. Loosely pack the meat into clean canning jars. While packing, keep precooked meat hot and cover it with boiling liquid. When ready to serve, bring canned meat and poultry to a boil for 10 minutes before tasting, even if they appear and smell fine.
Pick fresh green beans, rinse thoroughly, snap into bite-size pieces, place in jars, cover with boiling water, and pressure can for just 20 minutes!
In short, you can safely place a Mason jar inside a pressure cooker, although this may vary depending on the jar. Ascertain that the jar you use is of high quality. If your jar is authentic and high quality, it will easily withstand pressure canning.
While your electric pressure cooker is not ideal for canning large quantities of food or preserving specific foods, you can still use it to make all the jelly, jam, canned fruit, and pickles you desire. And do not forget to enjoy your delectable, canned goods at the end of the process!
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