Checking Food Preservation Equipment

Food preservation season is here. Now is the time to check your equipment. Pressure canners are either a dial gauge or a weighted gauge. Weighted gauges do not require testing but should be kept clean and rust-free. Dial gauges should be tested every year for accuracy.

The Becker County Extension Office has a pump dial gauge-testing unit. This unit uses air rather than steam pressure to test pressure canner gauges. Please call Linda Perrine, Extension Office Manager at 218-846-7328 to make an appointment to have your gauge tested free of charge. The Extension Office is located at 1120 8th St SE Detroit Lakes.

If the gauge reading is off by one or more pounds you are encouraged to purchase a new gauge. If it is off less than one pound remind yourself of the difference and adjust the recipe’s pressure accordingly to allow for the difference. Incorrect readings will lead to unsafe foods that are under processed or over proccessed.

Most canners have a rubber gasket to keep steam from leaking out around the cover. You can remove and replace most gaskets. Some gaskets only need to be turned to ensure a tight seal. If the gasket is worn, stretched or hardened, replace it with a new one. Leakage around the cover makes it difficult to reach the right pressure and may cause the canner to boil dry. Replacement gauges and other parts for canners are often found at stores that sell food preservation equipment or from canner manufacturers. When ordering parts, be sure to provide your canner model number and describe the parts you need.

For answers to your food preservation questions, contact experts at Answer Line (1-800-854-1678) Monday through Friday. Check the University of Minnesota Extension Food Safety web site at click on “Food Preservation” for more information!