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Can I Pressure Can in the Instant Pot?

by | Apr 3, 2021 | Canning, Preserve, Pressure Canning

Many people wonder if you can pressure can food in the Instant Pot. Knowing the common pressure canning mistakes to avoid will ensure you’re practicing healthy canning methods so you and your family stay safe.

A woman pulling a jar of canned food out of an Instant Pot.

We all love our electric pressure cookers. They’re convenient, fast, and we’re pretty comfortable using them. But are they safe for pressure-canning foods?

Are Pressure Cookers Safe for Canning Foods?

In my course, The Abundant Pantry: Canning, where I teach you how to make healthy and SAFE home-canned foods, one of the questions I get asked most frequently is whether or not it’s safe to pressure can foods in the Instant Pot (or another pressure cooker).

Pressure canner on the stove.

How Pressure Canning Works

Pressure canning is a type of canning that you use for low-acid foods. When you have a food that’s higher on the pH scale (meaning less-acidic) than a 4.6, it is possible that bacteria can survive in it. This is why we have to sterilize the food inside the jar, known as processing, in order to make it safe and shelf-stable.

I want you to always remember that I firmly believe that home-canned food is safe, as long as it’s safely canned.

In order to reliably kill off any bacteria (including botulism) that could be in your jar, you have to bring the contents of the jar all the way up to 240-250 degrees F.

The only way to do this in a home setting is to do it under pressure. This is where the pressure canner comes in. Adding pressure and pressurizing the chamber of the pressure canner allows the temperature to come all the way up to that safe canning range.

This is something you just can’t do with a pot of boiling water.

A woman pulling a jar out of the Instant Pot.

Why Electric Pressure Cookers Are NOT Safe For Canning

The problem with electric pressure cookers is that you have no way of knowing what pressure you’re actually cooking at. That means you don’t actually know what temperature your jars are actually coming to.

Even if it has a digital readout that tells you what the pressure is, there’s no real way to test it for accuracy.

The dial gauge of a pressure canner pointing to zero.

How to Pressure Can Safely

When you’re working with a pressure canner, you have two different ways to test your pressure. You’ll either have a dial gauge or a weighted jiggler.

If you have a dial gauge, you’ll want to be sure to take it into the county extension office every single year, and before the first time you use it to be sure it’s reading the pressure correctly.

If you have a weighted gauge, they work with simple physics principles, so these are always correct.

The problem with the pressure cooker is there is no way to test the accuracy of the pressure your food is cooking at.

Please don’t take your family’s safety or health lightly when it comes to the safety of preserving your food.

Bottom line, don’t can in an electric pressure cooker!

Three jars of home canned food.

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