Monday, February 13, 2017

Steam Canning

The use of Steam Canners for SAFE home canning was approved by the National Center for Home Food Preservation in September 2015 after the University of Wisconsin, under the leadership of Dr. Barbara Ingham, conducted research on appropriate use of atmospheric steam canners for home canning in collaboration with the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP). Atmospheric steam canners are used for processing naturally acid or properly acidified foods with natural or equilibrated pH values of 4.6 or below. They are not pressurized vessels used for processing for low-acid foods. Read the complete study here

steam canner with rack and temperature gauge showing "zones" on top

Naturally I was very excited to hear this news, and very anxious to try a steam canner, so I recently purchased the Victorio Steam Canner and set about to try it out.

I chose my Pickled Heirloom Tomatoes as my first project since I had some cherry tomatoes readily available in my refrigerator.

water filled to just barely above the rack; heated and jars added to process

Several things to note right away: 
  • It only uses 2 1/2 quarts of water so no more filling a water bath to 2" above the tops of the jars. With a steam canner the water just barely covers the rack.
  • Naturally this means the water heats up more quickly.
  • The steam canner is easier to handle because you warm the water up to 140 degrees before you add the jars. This process can be happening as you finish up with your canning project, filling jars, adjusting head-space and covering with lids and rings.
  • It's FAST! The water warmed up in a matter of minutes, I added my filled jars, put the lid on and waited for the gauge (conveniently located on the top of the steam canner lid) to get to the desired "zone" - zones are pre-set based on your altitude.
  • As soon as you reach your "zone" the processing time begins. At that time you also turn down the temperature to maintain a low, but steady boil, keeping the gauge within your zone. I literally started on "high" and ended on "simmer" during the processing time.
  • The processing time is the SAME as it is for water bath canning, so if your pickles are 10 minutes in a water bath, they are 10 minutes using a steam canner. The difference is the time is takes to get your water up to heat; since the steam canner uses much less water, the processing time is much quicker.
  • The steam canner is great for small batch canning holding 7 quart jars or 8 pint jars.
Jars processed, lid removed, let sit 5 minutes

Jars cooling 

My overall assessment and experience with a steam canner is I LOVE IT! So much faster, very energy efficient, works exactly like they say it will, and definitely exceeded my expectations. 

I see me using the steam canner a lot more in the future. So easy I wish I'd bought one sooner.

Disclaimer - This is not a paid endorsement. I received no compensation for this post and all the opinions expressed herein are my own.


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